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rustwerx said:
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?
That's because they are still using a transfer method to print the "direct printing". Direct printing does not equal screen printing in this case :)

Direct printing means that they are using one of those big machines that prints with inkjet right onto the garment. Not a screen print with plastisol ink through a screen.

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
It's not and no where on the site does it suggest that it is traditional screen printing :) They only use heat press and direct printing via one of those big tjet-like machines. I don't think they use the tjet, but a similar type machine.

- no set up charge and no fees per color used means that they cannot be accomodating for much higher COST involved in this.

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?
Because they aren't using screen printing :)

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?
They've grown in the 7 years they've been online, but I wouldn't call them a behemoth of a company. No conspiracy though...they just don't screen print their garments. They are pretty known for using heat press.

I have this sneaking suspicion that cafepress is actually just using huge direct garment printing machines like the Tjets.
You would be correct.

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!
They don't use the word screen printed because that wouldn't be correct. If they were screen printed, you can bet they would plaster that all over their site :)

They only recently started doing one-offs on dark colored garments (only a few months ago). Before that they were strictly white/ash/light colors like most heat press printers.

They do explain their direct printing technology though if you look through the help pages 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?

Where did you get the idea that they were using screen printing? I don't think I've heard screen printing called direct printing, but that could just be my limited knowledge of terminology.
 

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rustwerx said:
thnx guys! i'd say now i guess my question would be how does 'direct printing' compare to a 'screen printed' garment?
Right now, the colors are more "muted"/not as vibrant and don't have the same color accuracy that you can get with screen printing.

The hand is similar (depending on how heavy your screen printing coverage is).

The direct print technology is just getting started though, so like CHL said, in a few years, the quality will probably be much better (and maybe the cost of the machines will come down in price as well)
 

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I'm wearing a black cafepress DTG printed shirt and the hand and quality is pretty amazing. It's just a one color (white) design, but it does have some cool detail.

It should definitely be interesting to where this technology is in 10 years.
 
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