Hey All. So after running it a while, the machine does seem to be working 100% better.
Definitely way happier with the prints I've been having now. It still is no where near the 20 darkshirt prints per hour they promise, but it is fast enough to make money with, and the quality is definitely acceptable for resale. Maintenance is still there, but nothing compared to what I was doing, and nothing to hateful.
I print about 200 shirts a week and its pretty time intensive, so if you plan on printing any more then that i would probably go with the ri6000 if you can.
I think this machine would be great for a home based business, it takes up a fair amount of room, but nothing that wouldn't fit fine in a house. However it does not disassemble, so get some strong studs to help you maneuver though rooms, because it is awkward to hold, heavy, and you have to tilt it to get though a standard 3ft door. I'd also not recommend it in a garage just because you really need to monitor Humidity and Temperature with this machine which means needing to control the room environment, but a basement might be adequate. Demand for shirts is just so high I think you will have no problem paying off this machine, and in no time. I got mine for just shirt marketing one of my own small businesses, and started selling shirts online and offline as a side business/hobby and it turned into a pretty fast growing additional company. Originally I was just going to sell shirts until I got my money back from the machine and then switch to only using it for marketing, but after seeing how profitable it is there's no stopping it now.
As far a similar machine, I believe the Brother GTX is faster then the 3000, but slower then the 6000, but costs as much as the 6000, so if your looking for entry/upgrade into the industry, the Ri3000 does produce great prints with a cheaper initial investment. Note that they say speed is the only difference between the ri3 and ri6, but the ri3 has 3 less print heads, so it shares colors on 2 of the print heads, which i think means the ri3 does have more maintenance required simply because you cant get away with a semi dirty head because colors get mixed.
Hope this helps, sorry for the novel of a response. Let me know if you have any other questions, I know its a pretty big purchase so if there is any way I can help let me know.
Oh, I also found a more affordable option for supplies then buying through anajet which definitely helped my opinion of the machine, haha.