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What some dont understand and I have seen this over and over through the years, is that DTG and Screen printing fill two completely different markets. Screen printing is great for large orders, minimal colors, lesser detail in designs.

Dtg fills the market for high detail, many colors, being able to change and customize each garment, small quantities.

They both fill markets that are needed but you need to know what market you fall into. With my business I printed small quantities, usually under a hundred garments, sometimes more, but more often smaller. I did images that had very detailed designs, a lot of color, and were customized such as being able to put different names and numbers on each garment. With screen printing you are not able to do this.

So what is your market? First figure that out and if you fit into the dtg market with your customers, then go to the shows both ISS and SGIA, look at all the different machines as they are all built different. Don't go by prints you get at a show as to what the quality of the print is, as most shirts I have gotten printed at shows have been over pretreated, so the ink colors pop more, but when you wash them, there is a lot of wash out because of too much pretreat. My advice on really understanding each machine is to go to each manufacturers local distributor, have them take you through the whole process, from showing you how they pretreat, all the way through printing and curing, as well as showing you what features their rip programs have. Bring your own file for them to print, then take the samples home from them and test wash them. This is what I did when I bought my HM1.

Going directly to the distributor, they have more time to spend with you answering your questions and showing you how each individual machine works, as well as the rip software it comes with. You will get much more information by visiting them directly then talking to them at shows. This will also give you a great idea of how their customer service is, which is a very important part of buying a machine since it is a big investment. You want to know they will be there for you if you need them, in case any issues may come up with your machine, or you need help with anything.

Like when I bought my HM1, I went to their facility and they provided me with a full day of training, and I was welcome to come to them anytime after that if I had any issues for any type of additional training I might need, although I never needed it, it was available to me.

These are just a few things to think about. Also read and talk to end users as Carla suggested. Talk to people that own each different machine. If they are like me, most would be more then happy to talk to you and tell you of their individual experience with their machine.

In this section of the forum there is a wealth of information that can also get you going in the right direction :) This is where I first started, and went from there :D
 

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Oh and on the question of doing one color images, since no one really addressed that queston. If you are doing one color prints on white shirts, it will only cost you cents to print, very cheap. If you are printing white ink for one color however, there is a lot more work involved to do a one color print. You have to pretreat first and that takes a bit more time. I found that it was easier for me on one color images to use a vinyl cutter and use a very thin vinyl that felt like ink. When I was doing multiple one color shirts I could cut all the vinyl all at one time, such as white vinyl on black, and then just weed the vinyl, press them one at a time and they were done. So for me that is what I would do to save money on one color on dark garments. If it was one color on whites, I would print them with my dtg. Hope this answers that question for you :D
 
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