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I need some expert advice. I run a small shop in a mall, our hilarious saying t-shirts are our biggest selling item, people love them. However, we want to be able to customize t-shirts for people and print our own shirts rather than ordering them from some far off place. I’ve had some screen printing experience a long time ago, but im not up to date on the latest technologies. Screen printing is out of the question because many of the job we’ll be doing are short run, also we want to be able to do those short run jobs fast and we have a limited amount of space for equipment. So that leaves us with some type of heat transfer process, but which technology to go with is the hard part. We’ll need to be able to print on 100% cotton, also I need a technology that can print on any color of shirt, also we need to be able to print high resolution images such as picture or intricate designs. Im worried about investing in the wrong technology and not being able to produce the quality of shirt people are looking for. Someone please help me choose the right technology and set our business on track for success.
 

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Custom made plastisol transfers are perfect for your needs. Have your designs created and you can press them short run or even one at a time. You just keep the transfers in a file system and show off the samples....customers can pick the design and type blank they want......9 second press and its done. You will need a heatpress and depending on the size of your designs a 15x15 press is a good place to start. Companys the do custom transfers are Dowling Graphics, First Edition and there are several others.
 

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Custom made plastisol transfers sound great for our premade designs. but we need to be able to do custom shirts for our customers fast, if they have something in mind that we dont have on file which most the time we wont, it would take to long to submit a new design and get it back we need a technology that enables us to do a custom design quick.
 

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jstroud07 said:
Custom made plastisol transfers sound great for our premade designs. but we need to be able to do custom shirts for our customers fast, if they have something in mind that we dont have on file which most the time we wont, it would take to long to submit a new design and get it back we need a technology that enables us to do a custom design quick.
Custom design quick: Cad- Cut vinyl is great for custom quick, perfect for Text and simple 1 to 3 color graphics. You will need a vinyl cutter and software and that can be expensive. You can print transfers on using the Epson technology and transfer papers with special inks. You should PM Badalou about this one or just search the threads here. There is a ton of info on both of these techniques. Printing your own transfers will require you to trim off excess paper around the design. Cad-Cut vinyl you will have to weed away the excess vinyl. I do a bunch of Cad-cut vinyl so any questions there I can help you with. Badalou is the print your own transfer and papers guy.
 

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The perfect technology for what your looking for is an optic eye vinyl cutter, a heat press & an inkjet printer. This will allow you to do on the spot text designs out of heat transfer vinyl. Also will allow you to print full color photos for any color shirt on the inkjet printer and then trim around the design using the optic eye feature on the cutter. This process is ideal for what you are looking for. I have other customers doing the same exact thing, that have "graduated" from a kiosk to an inline store within their first year.
 

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Hey Guys using a vinyl cutter for quick custom designs sounds great, the only thing im worried about is more intricate designs. one quick question about vinyl, has anyone ever used a printer cuter combo to do custom tshirts. say someone has a design with lots of color blends and fades could you print on top of white vinyl then cut and press it? it may be a stupid question but im just curious. also ive heard about the NaturaLink™ system by sawgrass, its supposed to work on 100% cotton, however its very expencive and i dont know much about ist there anything similar to that on the market?
 

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Hey Guys using a vinyl cutter for quick custom designs sounds great, the only thing im worried about is more intricate designs. one quick question about vinyl, has anyone ever used a printer cuter combo to do custom tshirts. say someone has a design with lots of color blends and fades could you print on top of white vinyl then cut and press it?
In this case, the best thing to is to buy opaque transfer paper. Print it in your inkjet printer. Then put it in your plotter (that has an optic eye) and cut it out. Then weed away the excess. That is exactly what Josh was talking about.

it may be a stupid question but im just curious. also ive heard about the NaturaLink™ system by sawgrass, its supposed to work on 100% cotton, however its very expencive and i dont know much about ist there anything similar to that on the market?
Naturalink is a Direct to garment printer. The current technology with DTG isnt great. It will give you a washed out look on dark garments. There are about ten brands of DTG printers (at least that I know of).
 

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jstroud07 said:
Hey Guys using a vinyl cutter for quick custom designs sounds great, the only thing im worried about is more intricate designs. one quick question about vinyl, has anyone ever used a printer cuter combo to do custom tshirts. say someone has a design with lots of color blends and fades could you print on top of white vinyl then cut and press it? it may be a stupid question but im just curious. also ive heard about the NaturaLink™ system by sawgrass, its supposed to work on 100% cotton, however its very expencive and i dont know much about ist there anything similar to that on the market?
Like Jon mentioned....print your art on transfer paper and then cut them out on the plotter with an optical eye. Sign vinyl and heatpress vinyl are totally different. You can print on sign vinyl but you cant heatpress it onto t-shirts.
 

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jdr8271 said:
In this case, the best thing to is to buy opaque transfer paper. Print it in your inkjet printer. Then put it in your plotter (that has an optic eye) and cut it out. Then weed away the excess. That is exactly what Josh was talking about.


Naturalink is a Direct to garment printer. The current technology with DTG isnt great. It will give you a washed out look on dark garments. There are about ten brands of DTG printers (at least that I know of).
Not all DTG printers are created equal. But more importantly, not all DTG Printing inks are created equally. There are some on the market that perform just as good as any screen printed shirt. The issue in the DTG market is more with white ink. Now that is where the fading has a tendency to happen quickly if not done correctly (just like anything else).
 
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