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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I'm giving consideration to purchasing a DTG injet printer and was keen to check out the quality of the Kornit as a benchmark. I contacted their Australian distributor and sent off a test image ... they had it for a week and this is the best they could do:
Kornit.jpg

For comparison I had a test product done on a Kiosk:
Kiosk.jpg

The Kiosk output looks much better than the Kornit (but still didn't impress me) - this doesn't make much sense to me given the price discrepency ... so I'm wanting to get some third party opinions on the quality of Kornit's output (perhaps the Australian distributor just didn't know how to drive the Kornit).

Cheers.
 

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From what I understand the Kornit has the ability to print on black / dark garments without pre-treatment correct?
Some other factors you might want to consider are:
How long does it take to print a shirt.
What are the steps needed to print with the Kornit. The kiosk needs seperate software (Print Pro) if you are printing on dark, and requires you to have created a white highlight channel in photoshop.

How many passes does it need to take to get good quality. For example, I posted a sample I printed with a Kiosk on black, which required 2 passes of a white underbase (720 dpi) and 2 passes of color (1440 dpi).


How much is the Kornit?
 

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The Kiosk output looks much better than the Kornit (but still didn't impress me) - this doesn't make much sense to me given the price discrepency
The kiosk version looks like they ran a couple of passes, and it also has a white background, which makes it seem like they went "heavy" on the white ink to try to make it "pop" more (makes the end design look weird in the square) whereas the kornit has the garment color (black) in between the design which is more natural. It would be better if both samples were exactly the same image.

I have shirts printed by cafepress (I think they use one of the Kornit models...they run about $200K) that look a better than your sample, but still have "muted" colors.

The black shirts I saw at the printwear show in Long Beach that were printed by the kiosk and t-jet were both "muted" (not vibrant colors), but you could tell the difference between multi pass runs and single pass runs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Adam - the pre-treatment happens immediately prior to the printing (as part of the one process). As far as I know the Kornit dual pallet printer is US$190-220k. They are bringing out a new single pallet printer and from the specs of this printer I think it's about 1/2 the price of the dual pallet printer.

The Kornit was fast - but it wasn't that much faster than the Kiosk (I was expecting more speed difference).

When looking at the Kornit the issue I didn't really get a sense of is the quality and ease of use of their RIP.

I didn't really get to 'good qualty' on either printer ... so hard to answer this question.

Hi Rodney - the Kiosk print was done in two passes - one for white and one for colour. I agree with you about the white background ... I've asked the Kiosk folks to send me a new sample (which I'm going to inspect at SGIA).

I've just had a look at a sample from CP and Zazzle - CP did look a bit more muted than Zazzle - but I wonder if they were just using the Kornit in economy mode.

Cheers,

Peter
 

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I haven't purchased a Zazzle DTG print yet, but I'm not sure which machine they are using. They say that they "developed" their own machine.
 

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Yep - it's over a year since we first looked at the Kornit. One of the key things we learnt in our research it that the Kornit is a capable machine - but it needs to be driven well. If you've got a bad operator the results will be sub-standard. The first samples we received (attached to the first post in this thread) certainly didn't do justice to the Kornit.
 

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What skills are required to be a good operator?
Well, you have to have a good eye and know when the machine needs another purge & wipe. You have to be able to look at the prints both when they are still wet and when they are coming out of the dryer and know if the machine is streaking (both the colors and the white ink). If you go to long without a purge & wipe your shirts will look crappy. You have to get a feel for when its time to do a purge & wipe. Also, a good operator has to be able to pick the correct print settings. Obviously, you cant print black shirts on a white shirt setting and visa versa. And you should have an eye for making sure the prints are centered on a shirt. You don't want to print 25-50 shirts and have them all be crooked. Lastly, the operator has to feel responsible for the product he is making. Some operators may have a low quality control threshold, while others have a high quality control threshold and will do what it takes to make the prints look their best. And it always helps if you are computer literate and tech savvy.
 

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Yep - it's over a year since we first looked at the Kornit. One of the key things we learnt in our research it that the Kornit is a capable machine - but it needs to be driven well. If you've got a bad operator the results will be sub-standard. The first samples we received (attached to the first post in this thread) certainly didn't do justice to the Kornit.
I think this is true about all DTG machines.
 

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Well, you have to have a good eye and know when the machine needs another purge & wipe.... If you go to long without a purge & wipe your shirts will look crappy. You have to get a feel for when its time to do a purge & wipe.
You might want to go over all of your params with a Kornit tech. We used to have to do alot of P&W routines to get the banding to quit, but after months of torture we tweaked some settings, and now we don't do more than about 1 P&W every 20 minutes or so. As it turns out, the P&W is what alot of people rely on because they have improper micropurge settings (ours was at 0 for some stupid reason). It took the guys directly in Israel to finally get it straightened out.

There is also a stepper setting that can eliminate banding for the most part, which also reduces the need for P&W routines (and saves ink and time).

I think the biggest thing that the operator can do to affect the final results is to tweak the RIP settings (ink limit curves are the most important, followed by correct source profiles) and use proper art processing techniques. For instance, we use a set of custom PS Actions to process 95% of all artwork, which were designed specifically for the way our RIP settings are programmed in.
 

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I agree on the P&W. That is accurate for us as well. Anything helps. Is this stepper setting the "double color" setting? We use PS Action Scripts also, but just to create the custom underbase & highlight files. What else do you use your Actions for? Do you use them to process your art before ripping, such as fixing the blacks & whites? Justin, who is your tech in CA? Our tech is not very helpful which is why I am here doing troubleshooting on my own!
 

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Honestly? Our tech is a guy who works for me, named Henry. He's brilliant. He's the one who made all my other employees block the pretreatment spray from hitting the printhead by holding a cardboard flyer between the pretreatment head and the printhead block, thereby eliminating the annoying streaking that is caused by buildup on the block and nozzle blockage caused by microdroplets of pretreatment making their way to the printheads. (The company has since developed an air knife that creates a sheet of air that blocks the pretreatment from reaching the block - we will be installing ours tomorrow) He is also the person who figured out that a soft buffer material on the platen (we adhere a square of t-shirt material to the platen) absorbs excess pretreatment on thinner dark garments, eliminating much of the pooling that can occur.

Our actual certified tech is a gentleman named Don over at SPR. He is a very nice guy, and he knows his stuff. The problem is, there are so many nuances to this machine, that we can't have a tech that we only see once a month or so. Basically, he comes by when we have the really big problems, and Henry takes care of everything else (INCLUDING disassembling and hotwiring the machine to run better. lol).

As for the stepper function - this is the param that tell the Kornit how far it should move the printhead per pass, on the left/right axis. By fiddling with this number, you can make the printheads cover up certain amounts of banding by going over those areas again. This is NOT the double color setting, which we would never ever use.
 

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As for the PS Actions.... Those are proprietary, and take into consideration everything we have learned about the machine and how it processes artwork up until this point. Some of the actions adjust the actual colors and such, while the rest create the underbase, adjust the curves, and create the highlight channel. Then the last action sets the channels and flattens the image, which we then RIP. However, with the new Kornit software and new white ink, I will probably have to start over from scratch because it completely changes everything.
 

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Honestly? Our tech is a guy who works for me, named Henry. He's brilliant. He's the one who made all my other employees block the pretreatment spray from hitting the printhead by holding a cardboard flyer between the pretreatment head and the printhead block, thereby eliminating the annoying streaking that is caused by buildup on the block and nozzle blockage caused by microdroplets of pretreatment making their way to the printheads. (The company has since developed an air knife that creates a sheet of air that blocks the pretreatment from reaching the block - we will be installing ours tomorrow) He is also the person who figured out that a soft buffer material on the platen (we adhere a square of t-shirt material to the platen) absorbs excess pretreatment on thinner dark garments, eliminating much of the pooling that can occur.

Our actual certified tech is a gentleman named Don over at SPR. He is a very nice guy, and he knows his stuff. The problem is, there are so many nuances to this machine, that we can't have a tech that we only see once a month or so. Basically, he comes by when we have the really big problems, and Henry takes care of everything else (INCLUDING disassembling and hotwiring the machine to run better. lol).

As for the stepper function - this is the param that tell the Kornit how far it should move the printhead per pass, on the left/right axis. By fiddling with this number, you can make the printheads cover up certain amounts of banding by going over those areas again. This is NOT the double color setting, which we would never ever use.
Thanks for your help. You sound very knowledgeable. Can I ask you techy questions in the future? We use a guy named Paul at SPR, but he is very busy and sometimes does not help us. Do you know Sean Koch at SPR? Also, last week we were sent a bad batch of white ink that bled all over the shirts. It took us a while to pin point the source as being the ink and not the pretreatment, did you guys also receive bad white ink?
 

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Ahhhhhhhh, Paul... Yes, Paul is a very good guy, but I often feel as though he is too busy to come out and help. I have had a recurring problem with my Cyan banding for a looooong time, and I have requested help a dozen or more times. All I get is an e-mail with a "test file" to print and scan the results for them. That is not how I do business - I want a TECH in my shop, troubleshooting and repairing on the spot. I don't have time to be going back and forth via e-mail to "try" and make things right. It is frustrating for the amount of money I spent, and CONTINUE to spend, but I have accepted it. This is why I try and be MORE knowledgeable than the techs themselves - we're getting close at times. Well, HENRY is, at least. :)

Sean is a great guy as well. He is more knowledgeable on the artwork side of things. I wish I could pick his brain for a little more PS knowledge, that's for sure! When he came to my shop two or three times early on, he was still learning the hardware ropes. I have only seen him once since then, and he was just passing through with Paul, but he seemed to have learned alot more. However, so did we. I need people who are WAY more advanced than we are, or else its kinda pointless to call tech support. I know most of the advanced questions I ask Paul need to be forwarded on to Israel because they do not know. Sometimes I just bypass Paul and send my queries to Israel, myself. Heck, the last time we had a major problem (when we had banding every other shirt, and no amount of P&W routines would help it) we had to call Israel on the phone directly. It cost me $500 for about 20 minutes of phone conversation, if that. However, they had us rewrite our entire PARAMS file and it did wonders. Made what "seemed" to be a crappy machine work like it was always supposed to - this was after I had techs from SPR in my shop 4 or 5 times for entire DAYS, and they couldn't fix it.
 

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Regarding the white ink - we were sent what I THOUGHT was a bad batch of white ink a few months ago. It bled all over the shirt when printed, and then soaked in and became very dull. I was furious. I immediately told them that I had a bad batch of white, and they replied with some generic "we've never had a bad batch of ink, so that can't be it". Against my protests, they tried everything ELSE under the sun, wasting days of my time and MOST of my ink stock. I KNEW it was either the ink or the pretreatment, but they tried everything else, first. They even thought that ARTWORK prep might be causing it...... :confused:

Finally, it turned out that I was sent an OLDER batch of white ink, designed for a different pretreatment (some users still use one of the other types of white - solvent or early waterbased). This is why the pretreatment was not holding it in place. So technically, it was not a BAD batch of white, just the WRONG batch of white. They purged the system and gave me some free white to make up for it, but I was still down several days AND I lost a ton of CMYK ink and such during the days of testing.

Since then, I have not had a problem, and I always check for V2.0 white ink.
 

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Regarding the white ink - we were sent what I THOUGHT was a bad batch of white ink a few months ago. It bled all over the shirt when printed, and then soaked in and became very dull. I was furious. I immediately told them that I had a bad batch of white, and they replied with some generic "we've never had a bad batch of ink, so that can't be it". Against my protests, they tried everything ELSE under the sun, wasting days of my time and MOST of my ink stock. I KNEW it was either the ink or the pretreatment, but they tried everything else, first. They even thought that ARTWORK prep might be causing it...... :confused:

Finally, it turned out that I was sent an OLDER batch of white ink, designed for a different pretreatment (some users still use one of the other types of white - solvent or early waterbased). This is why the pretreatment was not holding it in place. So technically, it was not a BAD batch of white, just the WRONG batch of white. They purged the system and gave me some free white to make up for it, but I was still down several days AND I lost a ton of CMYK ink and such during the days of testing.

Since then, I have not had a problem, and I always check for V2.0 white ink.
This is great! I feel like someone out there is in the same spot as me. I'm so happy to have found you. It makes me feel good that we know the same people and have had similar experiences. I don't print the shirts but I rip them, if you need help on the PS side of things. Do you rip or just print? Maybe we could share some ripping techniques. Sean sent me new profiles, but not all of them print very well for me at least. Cool, well lets keep in touch. Thanks!!
 

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Ahhhhhhhh, Paul... Yes, Paul is a very good guy, but I often feel as though he is too busy to come out and help. I have had a recurring problem with my Cyan banding for a looooong time, and I have requested help a dozen or more times. All I get is an e-mail with a "test file" to print and scan the results for them. That is not how I do business - I want a TECH in my shop, troubleshooting and repairing on the spot. I don't have time to be going back and forth via e-mail to "try" and make things right. It is frustrating for the amount of money I spent, and CONTINUE to spend, but I have accepted it. This is why I try and be MORE knowledgeable than the techs themselves - we're getting close at times. Well, HENRY is, at least. :)

Sean is a great guy as well. He is more knowledgeable on the artwork side of things. I wish I could pick his brain for a little more PS knowledge, that's for sure! When he came to my shop two or three times early on, he was still learning the hardware ropes. I have only seen him once since then, and he was just passing through with Paul, but he seemed to have learned alot more. However, so did we. I need people who are WAY more advanced than we are, or else its kinda pointless to call tech support. I know most of the advanced questions I ask Paul need to be forwarded on to Israel because they do not know. Sometimes I just bypass Paul and send my queries to Israel, myself. Heck, the last time we had a major problem (when we had banding every other shirt, and no amount of P&W routines would help it) we had to call Israel on the phone directly. It cost me $500 for about 20 minutes of phone conversation, if that. However, they had us rewrite our entire PARAMS file and it did wonders. Made what "seemed" to be a crappy machine work like it was always supposed to - this was after I had techs from SPR in my shop 4 or 5 times for entire DAYS, and they couldn't fix it.
Justin, did you ever clear your Cyan head? or did you just mask it by re-setting your params? I really just want it fixed, but if I can mask it by stepping then that's what I'll have to do. (We have currently tried the head cleanings, p&w, long purges, blowing air back and forth through the lines) I guess I will call Paul and ask him about this. Is there are more official name for setting the params so that when I bring it up to Paul he doesn't get confused? If Paul is not helpful could it be possible to talk with Henry? I don't want to step on anyone's toes by doing so but I sure do need to get this problem resolved. Thanks Justin!! Also, is it possible to discuss pricing with you? I want to be fair & competitive for customers but I don't want to lose money either. It would be nice to hear what others are charging and how you figure your prices. Let me know if this is possible or if its a trade secret .
 
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