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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!
I'm new to all of this, but basically I have a sublimation printer and a heat press. Still trying to figure out the best t shirt stock to use.
As I am sure you are aware, I am limited to light/white t shirts.
I haven't even started selling yet, so I am wondering if its worth spending even more money and getting a vinyl cutting machine?
Thanks in advance :)
 

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As I am sure you are aware, I am limited to light/white t shirts.
When using sublimation you are also limited to shirts with a high polyester content, preferably 100%, for best results. Prints on poly/cotton shirts will be faded after one wash as the sublimation inks wash straight off the cotton fibres. Also, any white areas in your images will show as the colour of the shirt when printed due to sub inks being translucent. This will affect other colours too, for instance, blue on a yellow shirt will appear as green.

A cutter will allow you to use HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) and heat transfers. Heat transfers usually require a pigment printer for prints that won't fade or wash out easily. The best heat transfer papers for lights are Neenah JetPro SofStretch, and for darks, Neenah Jet-Opaque.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When using sublimation you are also limited to shirts with a high polyester content, preferably 100%, for best results. Prints on poly/cotton shirts will be faded after one wash as the sublimation inks wash straight off the cotton fibres. Also, any white areas in your images will show as the colour of the shirt when printed due to sub inks being translucent. This will affect other colours too, for instance, blue on a yellow shirt will appear as green.

A cutter will allow you to use HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) and heat transfers. Heat transfers usually require a pigment printer for prints that won't fade or wash out easily. The best heat transfer papers for lights are Neenah JetPro SofStretch, and for darks, Neenah Jet-Opaque.
Yeah I understand. I do wonder if I have made the wrong decision using sublimation. Maybe I should just buy the cutting machine now and have done with it all
 

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If you may be doing repetitive designs then it might pay you to have a look at plastisol transfers too.

They give a screen printed finish without screen printing equipment. All you need is your heat press. Their price does increase steeply though depending on how many colours are needed for your designs, and it pays to squeeze as many designs as you can onto a single gang sheet.

All the main suppliers of plastisol transfers will supply you with free samples to test.
 

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Yeah I understand. I do wonder if I have made the wrong decision using sublimation. Maybe I should just buy the cutting machine now and have done with it all
Sublimation may have it's downsides. But, as I'm sure you know, it opens up a lot of doors that a simple vinyl cutter doesn't. Take metal for instance... Your option with a plotter is either adhesive vinyl, or cutting a mask to spray paint it, etch it, or similar... With sublimation, you just basically print on the metal, leading to a much more attractive product.

That being said, I would definitely pick up a vinyl cutter too. It's a great tool to have around the shop and opens you up to a lot of new potential :D
 

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Be sure to get the one with the optical eye! With that, you can use products such as EasySubli with the equipment you already have and expand your designs into darks/cottons. But your cutter needs to be able to see/read the registration marks so that it will cut in the correct area(s).
 

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for htv in your neck of the woods mdp's hotflex seems to be well liked
or look for a supplier of poli-tape premium

Ziggy is right about the optical eye, you can pick up a cameo 4 for about 300 units of your local currency
(which seems excessively high to me, they are only 197 here in canuckistan)

if you are contemplating the cricut, look at their abysmal print and cut size before purchasing
 

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Sorry folks, I'll have to disagree. I'm personally not really a lover of optical eyes and they were a deciding factor in my upgrading from a Cameo 2 a few years ago.

They're fine, ... when they work, but I had a lot of trouble with mine not detecting reg marks in poor light conditions, or on certain glossy or patterned materials. I wasted a ton of material during my Cameo days.

My current cutter is a Silver Bullet and has a 'red laser dot' system for aligning to reg marks. It has proven itself to be far more accurate and reliable than the Cameo's optical system and works fine on just about any material, in any lighting conditions. The only scrap I ever get now is due to my own errors, not the machine's.
 

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Hello everyone!
I'm new to all of this, but basically I have a sublimation printer and a heat press. Still trying to figure out the best t shirt stock to use.
As I am sure you are aware, I am limited to light/white t shirts.
I haven't even started selling yet, so I am wondering if its worth spending even more money and getting a vinyl cutting machine?
Thanks in advance :)
I have a DTG shop with limitations similar to sublimation. When I finally bought my vinyl cutter I wished I had done so earlier. The problem without it is that you get a reputation for "can't do black shirts". It's not the invididual sales that hurts, but turning away customers.
 

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Start out with a basic vinyl cutter that will acknowledge registration marks (Silhouette Cameo). Also, test some of the vinyl brands out there because they can be super smooth and wash nicely for a long time. Personally, I don't vinyl designs with more than 3 colors and try to avoid layering because customers do not like that feel. I like EasySubli too, but they say you need to buy a separate sublimation machine for those inks. I did not know that and used it a few times without a problem using regular sublimation inks.
 

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Hello everyone!
I'm new to all of this, but basically I have a sublimation printer and a heat press. Still trying to figure out the best t shirt stock to use.
As I am sure you are aware, I am limited to light/white t shirts.
I haven't even started selling yet, so I am wondering if its worth spending even more money and getting a vinyl cutting machine?
Thanks in advance :)
I am a commercial embroiderer, and offer Sublimation and Vinyl Cut and Press (not Print & Cut). I outsource print and cut transfers, then press them on if I need a full colour job.

I literally can not keep up with the Cut and Press work (one or two colour designs), with majority (80%) being white vinyl to black cotton tee's. The sublimation I don't do as much, due to limitation of white polyester, but enough to have it on hand. Also, i do a lot of sublimated badges and mugs and bottles, so it is worth having.

My main advice, get a really good quality heat press and good quality Korean or US made vinyl (not Cheap Chinese vinyl).

Cheers,

Bushy
 

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Hello everyone!
I'm new to all of this, but basically I have a sublimation printer and a heat press. Still trying to figure out the best t shirt stock to use.
As I am sure you are aware, I am limited to light/white t shirts.
I haven't even started selling yet, so I am wondering if its worth spending even more money and getting a vinyl cutting machine?
Thanks in advance :)
For blank Tees, go to Alphabroder.com They have warehouses all over the US, and ship same day on most orders. As for purchasing a vinyl plotter, only if you are going to start lettering vehicles. Heat Transfer Vinyl is not the way to go. Since you already have a heat press, look into FMExpressions.com They even do screen printed transfers using sublimation inks if you need them. Their prices are fair, and their products are top notch. I ordered a sample pack to try them out, and went super in love in just 7 seconds in the heat press. I think you will too!
 

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As for purchasing a vinyl plotter, only if you are going to start lettering vehicles. Heat Transfer Vinyl is not the way to go.
I don't agree. I can have an image or an idea vectorised and on the cutter within 15 mins, not having to wait days for a delivery of an outsourced transfer. I can do a one-off personalised design just as easily, something that outsourcing is not particularly good for (eg. try ordering ONE plastisol transfer for instance!).

HTV still has its place and is still very popular around the world. There are fantastic ranges of metallic, glitter, flock, chrome shimmer, holographic, .... you name it! All of which cost pennies per print.

Also, a cutter opens up many other avenues as you can cut many materials with it, including sign vinyl, stencil material, magnetic sheet etc, and you can even use engraving tools or embossing (technically 'debossing') tools, or different types of pens.

Here's an engraving test I made on 2mm clear acrylic ...

272562


And here's a butterfly image I sublimated onto mylar stencil material and contour cut ...

272563


I wouldn't be without my cutter!
 

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If you may be doing repetitive designs then it might pay you to have a look at plastisol transfers too.

They give a screen printed finish without screen printing equipment. All you need is your heat press. Their price does increase steeply though depending on how many colours are needed for your designs, and it pays to squeeze as many designs as you can onto a single gang sheet.

All the main suppliers of plastisol transfers will supply you with free samples to test.
I am a commercial embroiderer, and offer Sublimation and Vinyl Cut and Press (not Print & Cut). I outsource print and cut transfers, then press them on if I need a full colour job.

I literally can not keep up with the Cut and Press work (one or two colour designs), with majority (80%) being white vinyl to black cotton tee's. The sublimation I don't do as much, due to limitation of white polyester, but enough to have it on hand. Also, i do a lot of sublimated badges and mugs and bottles, so it is worth having.

My main advice, get a really good quality heat press and good quality Korean or US made vinyl (not Cheap Chinese vinyl).

Cheers,

Bushy
Would you be willing to share the vendor for print and cut? It's something I would like to offer but haven't found a good source. TIA.
 

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I am a commercial embroiderer, and offer Sublimation and Vinyl Cut and Press (not Print & Cut). I outsource print and cut transfers, then press them on if I need a full colour job.

I literally can not keep up with the Cut and Press work (one or two colour designs), with majority (80%) being white vinyl to black cotton tee's. The sublimation I don't do as much, due to limitation of white polyester, but enough to have it on hand. Also, i do a lot of sublimated badges and mugs and bottles, so it is worth having.

My main advice, get a really good quality heat press and good quality Korean or US made vinyl (not Cheap Chinese vinyl).

Cheers,

Bushy

Hi Bushy,
Can I ask what type of vinyl you use! I went on a vinyl search last year and tested many types before I would offer vinyl shirts!
Jen
 

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Hi Bushy,
Can I ask what type of vinyl you use! I went on a vinyl search last year and tested many types before I would offer vinyl shirts!
Jen
 

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As for purchasing a vinyl plotter, only if you are going to start lettering vehicles. Heat Transfer Vinyl is not the way to go.
i agree with webtrekker above, there are some interesting choices for htv colors and textures

a vinyl cutter pays for itself in the first week or so, and opens up many creative product revenue streams

it works especially well if you do your own designs and limit custom designs to 2 color institutional/business/spirit-wear
anything else order plastisol transfers and/or farm out to another local

don't forget 'safety green' garments are certified to wear on the jobsite (check with the tee manufacturer),
plus business owners love these with black htv advertising their biz across the back shoulders and a left chest logo up front
then you casually mention you can make them a decal for their work truck windows....
then there is removable wall art vinyl, and glass frosting vinyl, and glow-in-the-dark t-shirt vinyl, etc.
 
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