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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I'm new to the forum
I've been cad cut printing for 10 years and dtg printing for 5. I'm debating if dtg printing is worth the hassle. I like the results I get but screen printing seems to be getting better and better and colour transfer printing seems pretty good. Most custom work I get is better cad cut and most of what I sell online is cad cut.
Should In give up on dtg?
 

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We did 3 yrs. of research and last year bought the Belquette Mod 1
which does all colors and does a great job.
The problem is that you have to babysit the inks, pre-treating is a hassle and time consuming, and unless you are going to do a lot of business on the machine, I can't see how it is possibly worth the investment.
If you want to take over my payments, on a practically brand new machine, let me know. imageOC at gmail
 

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I think the answer to that question is a matter of business model. We started with DTG and expanded into cad cut vinyl, rhinestones, and then screen printing. So DTG was our introduction to the custom apparel industry and in that sense it was worth it.

Having said that, I have a DTG Brand Viper for sale if anyone is interested (also a pre-treat booth). For us, there wasn't enough profit in DTG and once we started screen printing we couldn't justify time away from the press to do a few individual or short runs on the DTG so we took it offline.

The future of our business for now is in screen printing as we are actively engaged in purchasing our first automatic press. However, as the business grows I can see us getting back into DTG when and IF the technology improves and the cost goes way down. It would also require being able to have a trained operator or two dedicated to that line of the business.


Mitchell - Star Designs
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you are confirming my own feelings. Dtg is like a hobby printing process where you cant really make a sensible working business using it. I don't even trust anyone else to use my machine. They only mess up on it and leave me to sort out the problems. Think I'm going to sell my dtg, stick to cad cut and outsource any screen print work. Any good screen printers near Wolverhampton UK?
 

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Hello I am new to this forums. I am a beginner when it comes to screen printing (haven't done it before). I've done a bit of stenciling at home and have enjoyed it tremendously. I like being able to create my own shirts that mean something to me.

I started looking into both screen printing and DTG (making a DIY DTG printer at home). After reading this tread, I'm curious why screen printing is a better business model when compared to the DTG? Again, I'm a newcomer to this field so my knowledge on this topic is very limited. So please explain to me like I'm 5 years old :)
 

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Hello I am new to this forums. I am a beginner when it comes to screen printing (haven't done it before). I've done a bit of stenciling at home and have enjoyed it tremendously. I like being able to create my own shirts that mean something to me.

I started looking into both screen printing and DTG (making a DIY DTG printer at home). After reading this tread, I'm curious why screen printing is a better business model when compared to the DTG? Again, I'm a newcomer to this field so my knowledge on this topic is very limited. So please explain to me like I'm 5 years old :)
I googled my own question and now I know the answer. I guess it's onward with screen printing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't think you can wholesale t shirts with a dtg printer you just cannot be competitive.
Its great for one offs and if you can get a retail price for them, but for me there isn't enough of this work so the printer stands idle.
It is also very time consuming to print. The sales guys of these machines tell you, you can print 100 t shirts a day easily. I mainly print on dark tees which does take longer than printing on white tees, and to get 50 done in a day is a hard days work. Okay you can get 2 machines but then you have 2 machines idle if work dries up. You also have to use the machines every other day or problems occur.
Ink cost - Over the last 2 years I have religiously and obsessively recorded every penny I have spent on the machine, equated in a cost for wasted t shirts and kept a tally of the number of t shirts I have printed.
I print mostly on dark tees and my print sizes tend to be quite large. Anyway for anybody interested the average cost of the the ink per t shirt is £1.58
After what I would describe as a 2 year learning curve,after which I would say I am now reasonably proficient at dtg printing - I have decided - I don't think its worth it -I think!
Is the no weed transfer paper process any good?
 

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I have sold 10's of thousands of shirts using DTG. Cafe Press sells hundreds of thousands of shirts yearly using DTG. DTG is thefastest growing segment of the ENTIRE printing industry. That includes business cards, magazines, banners, etc. In just a few short years we have come from home made DIY printers that can only print 6-8 shirts per hour to printers that can produce 600+ shirts per hour. It's not a matter of if DTG will take over the majority of marketshare from screen printers...its a matter of when. I estimate in the next 5-7 years things will be MUCH different. I remember 10+ years ago when offset printers claimed that digital would never take over. Guess what, those same people have either moved to digital or got out of the business. Digital always wins over analog systems in time. Screen printing is a couple thousand years old...DTG isn't even in it's teens yet!
 

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I have sold 10's of thousands of shirts using DTG. Cafe Press sells hundreds of thousands of shirts yearly using DTG. DTG is thefastest growing segment of the ENTIRE printing industry. That includes business cards, magazines, banners, etc. In just a few short years we have come from home made DIY printers that can only print 6-8 shirts per hour to printers that can produce 600+ shirts per hour. It's not a matter of if DTG will take over the majority of marketshare from screen printers...its a matter of when. I estimate in the next 5-7 years things will be MUCH different. I remember 10+ years ago when offset printers claimed that digital would never take over. Guess what, those same people have either moved to digital or got out of the business. Digital always wins over analog systems in time. Screen printing is a couple thousand years old...DTG isn't even in it's teens yet!
As I alluded to earlier, for this to happen there will have to a significant leap in the technology. The process is slow. I don't know about a DTG that prints 600 shirts an hour. I printed DTG for three years and you cannot pretreat 600 shirts and load them that fast. Maybe there is? Another advance would have to be improving the process so that ink stays on permanently like plastisol or water base inks. I have some DTG tees that have survived petty good but others start deteriorating after only a few washes. I know this is a pretreat issue but it's an issue that must become consistent for DTG to "revolutionize" the industry.

I'm all for changing with the times and I love the idea of DTG. If I could print 600 shirts an hour (heck I'd jump at 100 an hour) then I would roll right back into DTG.

Here's to the future what ever it holds! I'm boldly going wherever the industry goes.


Mitchell - Star Designs
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Many of these points have been made before here or in other threads, but I'll risk repeating them - and caveat it by saying I am a small 1 man shop, so if you are bigger, these may not apply to you:

DTG works when-

1. You have a retail outlet where you can charge retail prices and have a steady flow of orders.

2. You do exclusively CMYK printing on light shirts.

3. You have an online store that is selling product at retail prices ( an extension of point 1)

4. If you do darks, you avoid large prints. The costs are very high, usually you can't charge enough to make it worthwhile. You can do left chest prints successfully, but full backs are really expensive, not so much ink, but the labor involved. At wholesale prices, it doesn't make me any money.

At least this is what seems to work based on my 1+ year doing it.

Yes, there may come a day when DTG economics changes, but I am talking about the here and now.

I'm seriously considering getting out of the dark shirt DTG business altogether.

Just my 2 cents. ( and kudos to Charles who has said most of these things before!)
 

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As I alluded to earlier, for this to happen there will have to a significant leap in the technology. The process is slow. I don't know about a DTG that prints 600 shirts an hour. I printed DTG for three years and you cannot pretreat 600 shirts and load them that fast. Maybe there is? Another advance would have to be improving the process so that ink stays on permanently like plastisol or water base inks. I have some DTG tees that have survived petty good but others start deteriorating after only a few washes. I know this is a pretreat issue but it's an issue that must become consistent for DTG to "revolutionize" the industry.

I'm all for changing with the times and I love the idea of DTG. If I could print 600 shirts an hour (heck I'd jump at 100 an hour) then I would roll right back into DTG.

Here's to the future what ever it holds! I'm boldly going wherever the industry goes.


Mitchell - Star Designs
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The future is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yAO...YGrGLoWAsS--VhObQ&sig2=rKlHdU_v5a-iokx9KYCfgA
 

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That's the problem... it's always somewhere in the future.

I lost count of how many suppliers we had in the workshop over the last 15 years demonstrating the NEW process and saying they had finally cracked DTG.

10 minutes watching them fumbling over ONE t-shirt was usually enough to tell you that they actually hadn't cracked DTG and 20 minutes later when they proudly showed you the result.... they seemed surprised that they weren't met with a sea of smiling faces. :( :D

To have a hope of making it in this business you need to meet deadlines and have the ability to create a quality product no matter what is thrown at you. ATM that means screen printing, CAD cut printing, Versacamm printing and light transfer.
 

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That machine is now - for people who print many 1000's (maybe many 10's of thousands) of prints. For the everyday small shop, that technology is extremely far away from reality, based on it's price. So if you want to make the argument that that future is now, please qualify it at least by saying it's now for people who want to invest a couple hundred thousand dollars in equipment. It's not "now" for me.
 

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i'm with Eric on this. the key is finding your niche and running with it. we do a LOT of school and fundraising type shirts with our NeoFlex. when i have a shirt that is going on a light color, and they want sponsors on the back, they LOVE the dtg full-color prints. in fact, i have 2 jobs right now (480 shirts) that chose our dtg over screen printing just because we could keep all of the sponsors' logo "as-is". we also screen print, use heat press material, embroidery, etc. our screened shirts bring in more than the rest, but our DTG shirts are a very close 2nd. you can make money with DTG, but you need to find and work the niche in your area.
 

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A "small shop" (which is subjective) wouldn't necessarily need a 20 color automatic screen printer either. I never said it was cheap lol. I'm am simply proving the technology is there and like all things it will get better and cheaper as the industry grows.

Ignore it if you want but DTG is here and here to stay. Shops have to either get on board and embrace the technology or get left behind by their competitors who do . Comparing DTG to screen printing is like comparing McDonald's to a Ruth's Chris Filet Mignon just because they are both beef.
 

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Well, resetting back to what the OP asked which was "is it worth the hassle" - my answer remains, and I qualify this by limiting it to the under $30,000 DTG printer world:

For CMYK prints, no pre-treat, no white ink, absolutely yes. Make money hand over fist and run to the bank.

For dark shirts where pre-treating and white ink are required, usually the answer is No. A few people have figured out how to make money there, so it's not impossible, but you have to understand your market very well.

Others may have different experiences, your mileage may vary, and all other previously stated disclaimers apply. Nothing is absolute, and context matters.

Now, I must get back to losing money on a dark shirt DTG job!:D
 

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I have to agree with Dekay. Just in the last year DTG has improved in both chemistry and hardware. New pretreats have made the washability problems disappear. The new Epson F2000 can sit for weeks without issues. Speeds are increasing. RIP software has improved. Prices have dropped across the board. Ink prices are down to the lowest in history. More improvements on the way. Try to figure the time to burn 5 screens then test and align a simulated process print. Then there is the quality issue of a high detailed print. If you are printing 1 or 2 colors on dark tee or light, then screen printing still rules. Jmho
 
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