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Dear Veterans,

I am in the process of shopping for a new Printer for my company I am starting up, I need one that is affordable ($200 or less), High Quality (able to handle photo quality when needed), and can be used for sublimation (that is the process of using specialty inks such as puff, or flurescent correct?) if applicable (Not sure if there any out there). All my shirts are created using a 12 x 9 press for the time being so larger format capabilities are a plus but not a necessity.

Brands I have been looking at are Epson & HP, but due to there being so many models to choose from I don't know Where or What is the right one for me, anyone that has advice on this I really appreciate it. Exev looked at the 1280 like most have posted about but the lowest price I saw for that was $386 and at the most I don't want to spend more then $250. If the sublimation is an issue the first two qualifications need to be made. If I have confused sublimation with something else please let me know.

Thanks,
Tim
 

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T D Homa said:
and can be used for sublimation (that is the process of using specialty inks such as puff, or flurescent correct?)
No, not correct.

Dye sublimation is a print process in which the ink is sublimated (changed from solid to gas) with the aid of a heat press, at which point the inks bond directly with the fibres of the shirt. The good news is the ink basically becomes part of the shirt (no hand at all), the bad news is the process only works with man-made fibres such as polyester (which fortunately has progressed over the years).

Puff, fluro, etc. inks are screenprinted, and cannot (yet) be applied through any kind of digital process (i.e. DTG or digital transfer). In some cases alternatives can be found by using flock or vinyl with a plotter and heat press.
 

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Do your customers usually have a preference to cotton or polyester shirts? I somewhat understand the ink idea: pigment inks go onto cotton whereas sublimation inks go onto polyester. which lasts longer?
-thanks
 

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Sawgrass developed a new ink for cotton T-shirts. CHROMABLAST. I've seen a
sample of a print done with the chromablast and it looks great. You can find more information at sawgrass ink.
 

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Dye sublimation definitely lasts longer. You actually dye the fibers of the fabric with the dye sublimation process. There is also no "hand" or feel to imaged area. I will never crack, peel or fade.

The only downside is that the banks are more expensive.
 

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What do you mean by "no hand at all"?
When you run your hand over the design printed on the t-shirt, you can't feel the ink from the design.

With a screen printed or most heat pressed designs, you can feel the ink on the t-shirt (which is important to some people, not as important to others).
 

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polomac said:
Sawgrass developed a new ink for cotton T-shirts.
Last I heard it only worked on white and was very expensive; has it progressed from there?
 

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fir3fox said:
What do you mean by "no hand at all"?
To further clarify on what Rodney said, this is a term used in the industry. How much "hand" a shirt has is simply how much you can feel the design on the shirt.

This will vary quite a bit depending on a lot of factors; Dye Sublimation (and probablt Direct-to-Garment Printing?) will have very little or no hand; Shirts made with plastisol transfers will generally have a light hand; Screen printed or heat transfer t-shirts will often have a light to medium hand (depending on ink, paper, etc.); Opaque transfers will usually have a pretty heavy hand.
 
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