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Welcome Zac,
I'm new to all this too, but I'll tell you what I have learned so far from this site...
jdr8271 mentioned a lot of it..

ZacFields said:
1: I have an HP Photosmart 7260. Has anyone had any success with dye inks at all? Is there a way to make them work?
Dye based inks are not recommended so I wouldn't risk your future reputation by trying to use them. You want pigmented inks, either the DuraBright or the Magic Mix inks.

2: What kind of Epson printer do you use? What is the best value? Do I really need a $400 printer right away, or is it just a convenience for people producing large volumes of shirts?
The best value may be the Epson C86. According to Cindy at TLM Supply House, the C88 is not a good option to get. I'm not sure why, but she recommended the either the C86 or the R300. I'm sure there are recommendations for other models, but I was asking Cindy about these two choices. By the way, the R300 or R320 are both Dye based ink printers but TLM makes a bulk ink system so you can use the Magic Mix pigmented inks.

3. How about this DuraBrite ink? Does it perform well? There is a value pack on epson's website for about $37. Is that all I need? What reasons would somebody go with a bulk ink system, and how hard is it to set up?
I've read that the ink does perform well, but the color settings may need to be adjusted for the printer. The prints tend to come out too yellow I believe. It has something to do with the ink not really being made for the heat press. Apparently the Magic Mix inks were created with the heat press in mind.

4. The heat press: What size heat press is ideal? Does it honestly matter what kind of heat press I buy or is this a minute factor in producing good shirts?
I think everything always matters, no matter what the subject is. You want to get a good heat press for durability, ease of use, and even heat amonjg other things. Hix is always recommended. I chose a Heat Master press myself.

http://www.hixcorp.com/content2.html

http://www.screenprintsupply.com/catalog/heatmaster/heatmasterpage.html


5. Browsing through ebay I am seeing people selling various heat press designs that are ready to be placed onto a shirt (professionally printed onto a transfer sheet and ready to press). I am calculating anywhere from 25 cents per sheet to 65 cents per sheet and the designs are really cool. Has anyone invested in these? Seems to me like one could offer some neat designs for the general public this way without sacraficing the profit margin on the shirts.
I've never looked into pre-made bulk transfers, because I want to start coming up with my own ideas. I might be wrong, but I would think that the designs you find on eBay will be turned into shirts and sold right back on eBay, so your competing with others that have the same design. However, I admit that I don't know much about that.

6. Best places to buy shirts? http://blankshirtstore.com/ seems to be a pretty good choice. ?
I'm going to get my resale tax id, and order through S&S Activewear. They seem to be recommended a lot here. Another company I was looking at was ShirtSupplier. They do not require a tax id, but I would assume they are a little pricier than S&S. I have to get a tax id to find out what S&S is going to charge me.

http://www.shirtsupplier.com/

http://www.ssactivewear.com/
 

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ZacFields said:
Thanks Decal_Designs for your advice. My question to you, though, does the C86 use durabrite inks? On the epson website i don't believe the C86 is listed as a compatible printer.

What printer do you use personally?

Zac
I'm going to use the R300 since I had it already. That is a dye based printer, but TLM has a Magic Mix Bulk ink system for it.

The C86 does use Durabright inks, and can also use the Magic Mix Bulk ink system.
 
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