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This forum is amazing and I can't believe how much information is at my fingertips, thank you!

I am looking to start a small printing business from home. I think I would like to start outsourcing the screen printing to a local printer (to start) but have been thinking of buying a cutter and heat press. Have also been trying to research a digital printer for garment printing later on.

I would really like to be able to add numbers and names to jerseys and tshirts, large wall decor, vinyl stickers and some other designs for different apparel.

Because I would like to start this small (my kids aren't in school yet) I would really like some advice on the best portable heat press, printer and cutter. I would like to be able to take this to events! Also the best design software/program.

I can't think of a better to place to ask these questions. I have been trying to do the research on my own but am a bit lost as I am completely new to this. I appreciate the help and thank you in advance.

Catstevens
British Columbia, Canada
 

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Hi,
As far as a cutter goes, starting out the Roland gx-24 is the way to go
You can get any run of the mill heat press on eBay just make sure you
get one big enough for your needs. A graphic program is a little more
difficult to choose. Personally I use Corel draw which has been getting
More and more powerful every version they make. Also there is a button
That will be added right to coreldraw that you can click when youre done
With your artwork that will immediately throw it over to the Roland's cutting software
this way it's fool proof to cut your designs in a hurry.
 

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I bought a Roland Stika 15 cutter just for names and numbers. I love it and it is very affordable, under $800. If cost is an issue it is a good way to go and it is very compact. Good luck, I started at home and I just rented my first storefront a few weeks ago. I read your post and it reminded me of where I was in 04. Good luck to you. I love this biz even if my artistic ability limits me, My creativity compensates.
 

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I'm in a similar position as you now - I have my little DK16 Press & plan on buying a Roland GX24 when I have the money. I have my transfer papers and am ready to start my test printing/pressing soon (using a basic hp printer and ink)....

But all the info on this site is making me feel I might be a little out of my depth :-s Is there anything major I am missing out or am I good to go?

Do I need pre-treatments or DTG or any of the other jargon that I'm that I'm coming across?
 

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You will not need pretreatment for normal inkjet transfers...like using JPSS paper. Pretreatment is only for use when you are printing directly to a dark shirt using a Direct to Garment (DTG) printer...and those cost several thousand dollars..like from 7K to30K or so. If you do not own a DTG printer...forget about pretreatment...
to do what you want, a good Epson printer with pigment inks and a good transfer paper like JPSS and you are good to go...BUT only with white/light pastel garments...and you will likely need to trim the image so you don't have a white box background. The suggestion for Corel Draw for software is a good one...the other is Illustrator and will cost double the Corel cost..and I find harder to use.
You are ok for now with your press. For a cutter, the gx24 is a good cutter, but I think it is over priced, over valued and under performs in some case. lI know this will generate a few irate responses...but my reasons are...over priced...at $1800 plus...and you can get a GCC Puma III for around $1500 or less that has more down force. I said over valued...because so many think this cutter is the end all of cutters...when I said under performs in some cases...depending on what you are cutting in the future because the max down force for the gx 24 is 250 gms...the Puma III has 400. Now having said all that...IF you have the $$$ the GX 24 is the absolute easiest cutter to set up and to do contour cutting...If $$ can be an issue...you can buy a beginner cutter from GCC that is less than $600. It does not have a servo motor..but has a stepper motor....which is not a robust for commercial use as a servo..I know several who hat the GCC lx 24 and are happy with it
 

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Thanks so much Charles. Thorough answer much appreciated.

I will definitely look into everything you've said.

Much needed confidence boost :) I'm not getting it all wrong yay!

Can I ask, is there an issue with printing onto dark colours? I ordered both sets of papers for light and dark fabrics. Is this not enough?
 

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the issue with inkjet transfers on dark is once you print AND trim...the resultant image has a heavy hand...sort of like a piece of raincoat or plastic on the tee....if you want to do darks, consider ordering plastisol transfer from one of our vendors..plastisol transfer is in essence a screen print of special paper that you press for 8-10 seconds...and presto you have a transfer.....you have to have the image in mirror image...but I still use them on occasion. I like F&M as they have a larger sheet that you can gang the images on
 

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this will most likely not be a popular answer but it has been my experience... I purchased a cutter from UScutter when i first started, and it has been a wonderful investment... I purchased a brand new 50" plotter for under $400 and it has served me well... i am in fact about to purchase another higher end machine from them in the next month... good luck with you adventure, and keep us posted on how everything is going
 

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I started my 'In home business' about 9 years ago with a pack of Avery iron on transfers, an Epson printer, and regular hand iron. That was enough for me to do my first show. Proceeds from that show enabled me to by my first tent. ( Think Easy-Up) Now I could do outdoor events! Eventually, I ended up getting a 15x15 Mighty Press, and my wife was finally thrilled to get her iron back. As time goes on, you'll try different transfer papers, until you find something you'll like. But the 8.5"x11" format always left me yearning for something larger. I could have gone to a wide format printer, but opted to make the jump in to a vinyl cutter.
Wow! What a difference... I purchased a US cutter LP24 and I couldn't be happier. It comes with its own design software, and have yet to be disappointed by its preformance. I got mine off an eBay auction with stand and catch baskets for around $400.00 bucks. I do vinyls, rhinestone templates, sandblast resist, flock, contour cutting.... Yes it's a stepper motor drive, not servo, but the machine was paid for with the first 2 jobs I did.
 
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