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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

Been skimming through different apparel sites to scope out some business models, noticed that cafe press is now offering direct printing. Now, being that i currenly run a screenprinting shop, i'm finding cafepress' direct printing service a bit hard to swallow.

The one particular aspect that really gets me is how they can offer direct printing for one-off garments, without substantially raising the price over a heat transfer? I went through their order process and attempted to order a fleece hoodie with a full color PHOTO on the front of it, and selected direct printing as my method of application, and the price remained at $25. Not only is the price $25, but they said it could be at my door in 2 days - these details alone make me think that this can not be traditional screen printing - no set up charge and no fees per color used means that they cannot be accomodating for much higher COST involved in this.

For example, its much cheaper to print a one color design ( one screen ), than it is to print a process color job ( at least 4 screens + films + registration?) (particularly on fleece!) , so how can they afford to charge the same amount, regardless if it is a heat transfer, a single color direct, or a process color direct? Is it likely that cafepress is such a behemoth of a company that they can afford to take the hit in production costs or is there something else going on here?

I have this sneaking suspicion that cafepress is actually just using huge direct garment printing machines like the Tjets. I also think its smarmy that they always use 'Direct Printing' as a term, but you can't find the word 'Screen Printed' anywhere on their site! If anyone has some knowledge on the subject id love to hear, its just that it seems like theyre breaking every rule in the business book for actual screenprinting if thats what theyre doing - does anyone else agree with me on this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
CoolHandLuke said:
Although seperate technologies... kind of? I think within 2 years there will be no differennce or distinction between the two. It's not screen printing becasue there is no screen? There already is screen printing without a "screen".
thnx guys! i'd say now i guess my question would be how does 'direct printing' compare to a 'screen printed' garment? It seems like direct has alot of the same qualities as screen printing, do both methods feel the same on the shirt? At least for me, a well done screenprint is the standard in quality, and all these new methods are trying to approximate that quality, so i'd like to know how direct printing holds up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Decal_Designs said:
I wouldn't necessarily get the one Cafepress uses. There are currently about seven brands of DTG printers, plus these things are not at all inexpensive. That kind of money requires some homework to see which printer would be best for you. I would go to a trade show to see all the different manufactures. I'm planning on attending one in IL coming in August.

Also, I'd like to add that so far, all the DTG printers still require you to set the print with a heat press. These are things that I have read, but still have no personal experience with, so it's all just food for thought.
great info guys. i just checked out the site for DTG Flexi-jet brand printers, looks like a great product for under $20k. One way i can assume these DTGs vary from whatever cafe-press is using, is that these flexi-jets dont seem to do more than one at a time, whereas im sure cafe-press must be using a machine that allows you to print 2/4/6 at once on a belt feed or something. anyone know of a brand of DTG printer that is more suited for bulk printing?

If anyone finds out what cafe-press has going on for printers, id like to know. actually, even just a brief list of other DTG printer manufacturers would be sweet! thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
CoolHandLuke said:
Déjà vu to this discussion.
sorry if this discussion is like beating a dead horse, its all news to me if that makes you feel better.

nice to see that the Kornit model comes in at an affordable $200,000. :rolleyes:

Any particular reason the Kornit is $200k and every other DTG model i've seen weighs in between $20-$60k? Seems like an awful lot more money for equipment designed to manufacture the same product.

I'm really surprised they didnt put this tech into a printer that can print a superior plastisol heat transfer, and then be applied to the shirt - would save them the problem of needing platens to mount shirts, or worrying about printing on dark substrates, not to mention you'd be able to gang a helluva lot more transfers on the machine at once vs. tshirts - now that would kick ***!
 
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