New to the forums and new to the t-shirt business in general. I've been reading these forums and doing some research in the past couple of days, but I find the more I read the more difficult the decision becomes: heat transfers, or screenprinting? I've read the basics of both and understand the general ups and downs, but still cannot completely figure out which way to go.
I suppose the biggest difference for me would be achieving photo-realistic prints. That I'm not too concerned with, since I'm mainly printing graphic type shirts, involving mostly solid colors. However, gradients are a big factor. With screenprinting, I understand it can be done through halftones, but requires software to generate the halftones. Is this practical? Effective?
I understand starting either way will be costly. I will want multi-colored graphics, so a multi-color silkscreening station will be necessary. Those I've only found for $1800+. silkscreenbiz.com has their 6 color for $2100. However I also have a friend who no longer needs his 4 color and may be willing to sell it for $1000ish. I need to look more into that. Along with that I must have ink. Translucents don't seem to be expensive, I should be fine with that.
As for heat press, a decent heat press will cost me at least $400. And it seems quality does matter, so I'm guess 600. I currently have a Canon ip6000, but it seems that Epson's perform better. I still need to have this clarified. I'll probably want larger designs, but I'm not completely sure yet. So if I were to heat press, I'd be deciding between the $70 c88 or the $400 1280. And I understand the ink and paper will add up.
Have I skipped over anything? Basically, I want to be able to print on-demand. I won't be printing in large bulks. Most likely, anywhere between 3-10 shirts a week, that would be my estimate. Most of my designs are graphics, involving multiple, solid colors. I like to use gradients, but it isn't a must. I am trying to maintain budget, but I would rather make nothing than produce crap.
Sorry for the long post, but I have a lot of questions and I want to make sure I understand what I'm doing when I start.