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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello friends,
I've been printing t shirts for about 1 year and I was unaware that there was such a helpful forum.

There are a few things I want to ask,

I receive an average of 50-100 orders per day and working with vinyl makes me incredibly tired.
I print mostly (95%) white and simple designs. (For example "BEST HUSBAND" text)

1- How much ink will it cost if I print an average of 12 inch "BEST FRIEND" text in white on a black t-shirt (3001 Bella Canvas Black) with good quality.

2- Do I need to buy $15,000 DTGs? Or can I get simpler devices? (I'm open to your advice)
 

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There are around 800 designs :(
Yeah that won't work.

If you're going to go the route of DTG, I would not skimp. $15K is an entry level price. Stick with brand names like Epson and Brother.

Know though, that the time spent DTG'ing a shirt will take about the same amount time as doing a simple weeded BEST HUSBAND tee. But at least you'll have less finger pricks.
 

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There are around 800 designs :(
Single-color transfers hit an affordable per-unit cost at a fairly modest volume, so you could take some pressure off by switching your best sellers to Plastisol transfers.

Unless you are rather handy with repair and troubleshooting, I wouldn't mess with a DIY DTG, or the like, at least if wanting to do white ink. The Epson 2100 is probably the most reasonable one to start with, and it is about $15K. That said, there is a lot to learn and a lot that can go wrong, or at least not quite as right as you'd like, with DTG. Getting the pretreatment right is critical for prints that both look good and are durable. Get it wrong in one direction and the print can look anemic. Get wrong in the other direction and the print can come off in the wash. White ink is on the expensive side.

I found this forum back in 2011 when I was researching building my own DTG. I bought an Epson R1900 for that purpose, which I ended up using to print transparency films for screen printing. Take a close look at this subsection on DTG and you may talk yourself out of it as I did :p
Then again, DTG may turn out to be exactly what you need. YMMV.

One final thought on Plastisol transfers. You can gang multiple copies of a single design, or multiple designs, on one sheet (if they fit). That might make some of your medium sellers affordable to print, or at least make the best selelrs even more affordable.

Oh, and congratulations! Sounds like you are generating a lot of business :cool:
 

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another option is forever's flex-soft (see vid below)
if you can dial in the settings then you save the weeding time (plus you just need a cheap b&w laser printer)
the price per square inch is more than htv though (buying in bulk will help)

for htv, here are some options you may or may not have used:

use 'stencil' fonts wherever possible, and/or creating your own, plus adding strategic bridges in any non-font design elements
this way, if your htv is cut right, it is a one-pull weed
i use these pretty extensively (there are some decent free for commercial ones, that cover many design themes), and people just think it is a funky font choice

you can also box-out any complex design elements so you are not pulling, stopping and picking, pulling a little more, stopping and picking, etc.
basically, you just add a cutline around the complex design element, do your initial pull, then do a pull around the boxed-out element, and any internals within it
this saves time and frustration (especially when using htv that has a sticky carrier sheet)


here is a vid by david on the flex-soft:
 

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I receive an average of 50-100 orders per day and working with vinyl makes me incredibly tired.
I print mostly (95%) white and simple designs. (For example "BEST HUSBAND" text)
DTG will be the same, if not worse.
The real problem is not the printing method, but the business model... One offs are hard work.

1- How much ink will it cost if I print an average of 12 inch "BEST FRIEND" text in white on a black t-shirt (3001 Bella Canvas Black) with good quality.
Not much for this type of designs.
I'd say $1 to $1.50

another option is forever's flex-soft (see vid below)
I wouldn't sell these shirts to people.
Vinyl is producing much better quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you very much for the replies.
I watched videos of all recommended machines.
@into the T
"forever's flex-soft" As @TABOB said, if the quality is worse than vinyl, I definitely don't want to sell it, but it is a much easier option than vinyl. (I'm sorry for the low quality)

@JohnDeco
The VersaSTUDIO BT-12 workspace is too small. It's fine for youth and lower bodies, but not at all suitable for Adult sizes. Sometimes designs can be 13 inches wide. I work an average of 11.6 inches.
however I definitely need a 13 X 14 inch print area at worst.
The very low ink cost is a great advantage, but it is very slow in large orders (average 50-100 pieces per day).

@NoXid
Thanks a lot. But I have around 800 designs and I sell for each one from onesie to sweatshirt 2XL. Therefore, it is technically impossible to do it in fixed plates, and since I work at home, my place is not very big.

still epson2100 seems to be the best alternative for now.
 

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ok, i had not heard whether the quality was there or not
they are pretty pricey in canada too, which is why i never even trialed them
They look good from a distance, and this is why I still use them for some "proof of concept".
They are also good for non-stretch fabrics, leather, etc.
Plenty of applications for them... but not t-shirts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
They look good from a distance, and this is why I still use them for some "proof of concept".
They are also good for non-stretch fabrics, leather, etc.
Plenty of applications for them... but not t-shirts.
So what would you recommend?
Which system would be right for someone who uses 90-95% white?
Which device do you think is the best combination of printing cost and speed?
 

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So what would you recommend?
Which system would be right for someone who uses 90-95% white?
Which device do you think is the best combination of printing cost and speed?
For what you are doing, I'd stick to vinyl.
White ink DTG may look easy... but it is not.

I'm guessing your designs are a bit more complex than just the words "BEST HUSBAND" and this is why weeding is difficult.
A way around it is using a laser cutter/engraver and non-pvc vinyl.
Cost wise, a cheap $500 laser machine will do the job but very slow.
A 50W fiber laser will do a 12x12 inc design in a minute or so, but they start around $10,000.
There are even faster lasers, but much more expensive.

Example using a slow laser.
 

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For what you are doing, I'd stick to vinyl.
White ink DTG may look easy... but it is not.
Tabob has a point. There is no shortage of threads in this forum with people pulling their hair out because their DTG prints look like poop or come off in the wash. If you have not read through some of those, you should before spending $20K (you need a pretreatment machine in addition to the DTG printer--given that getting the pretreatment correct is the biggest bugaboo, DIY spraying by hand is not a wise option).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tabob has a point. There is no shortage of threads in this forum with people pulling their hair out because their DTG prints look like poop or come off in the wash. If you have not read through some of those, you should before spending $20K (you need a pretreatment machine in addition to the DTG printer--given that getting the pretreatment correct is the biggest bugaboo, DIY spraying by hand is not a wise option).
Please give me some advice. I've been researching for a month and it's giving me a headache.
 
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