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I'm very new myself so please double check all this, but from all my research i have summarized the following for producing in-house heat transfers:

- Epson inkjets are used with various commercial grade heat transfer sheets (JetPro SS, Paropy/Joto). Some paper for printing on light garments is self-weeding (ideal), but i see no self-weeding paper for inkjet printing onto dark garments.

While there may be a few brands of weedfree for light on the market outside the US there really are not any self weeding papers for regular inkjet, light or dark found here in US. Those I have tested from outside the US I didn't find viable.

There was a good paper made by Neenah that was weed-free it was called Image Clip Light for Inkjet. It is no longer made.

A new weed-free inkjet paper of sublimation is on the market that will act as a sublimation prep onto a 100% cotton T-shirt. It is weed-free.

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/dye-sublimation/t654618.html#post3535042



Re: Pigment ink is preferred over dye for durability, which Epson supports. Many people are using a 3rd party CIS - Continuous Ink Supply - system which helps reduce ink costs.

Buying ink in bulk is what reduces the ink costs. At that point you can use either CIS or refillable carts. CIS has an additional advantage in that you can print longer uninterrupted before you are out of ink.

The key heat pressing technique i see mentioned is after pressing, gently hand stretch the shirt and do 2nd pressing on the shirt with a silicone sheet for a few seconds to help durability. To be clear, inkjets work on both light and dark shirts, but there is no self-weeding paper for the dark.

The other reason for a 2nd pressing with silicone sheet (I use parchment paper) is that the transfer finish might be a bit rough after the initial peel, repressing really smooths that out. In addition if your transfer shape after the initial press resulted in a skewed shape you get another chance to straighten it out by reshaping it back in the normal shape.


No light or dark weedfree on inkjet for pigment inks as I point out above.

Printing on dark requires you to cut out the design by hand or using a cutter/plotter. Also printing for dark shirts seem to require 2-3 steps.

If the shape is a simple rectangle or square, a simple paper cutter is all that is needed.

Light color transfers may require this as well. Unless you are doing white t-shirts and using good paper like JPSS then the background will still show if you don't trim.

There are different types of papers for regular inkjet Opaque transfers. Some are considered 1 step, other are 2 step. I would argue that "1 step" opaque inkjet papers are easier to apply then light inkjet papers like JPSS.

1 step paper ...

3G Jet Opaque Inkjet Heat Transfer Paper

2 step paper ...

2-Step Opaque Material 11" x 17" (50 sheets)

But the usage of the term "steps" in this context is the number of papers required. There are more than 1 "step" to apply technically



- Laser printers seem to offer the benefit of self-weeding on light and dark.

As I mentioned before "weed-free" inkjet sublimation paper now exists for 100% cotton t-shirts. I'm haven't tried it yet. It is new. Sublimation on 100% poly is not need to be weeded. It inherently is weed free.


The go to laser printer seems to be Okidata with the white ink option. The key heat pressing technique for laser prints is very heavy pressure.

I disagree I have 2 OKIs. If you mean "go to" as being what is normally used by people making transfers it would be a regular CMYK laser printer, typically an OKI. This is simply based on the cost of white toner printers (even 3rd party solutions). But you will see a lot of discussion here for white toner, because more support and hence the added chatter for this.

Laser prints are not monolithic, many transfer paper have different pressing instructions.


Best Option: outsourcing your designs to a larger shop that can produce Plastisol heat transfer sheets will produce the best results using a heat press.

Not necessarily, sublimation is a hands down the best imprinting on a t-shirt. It has limitations but where it can be used the results can be breathtaking. Inkjet pigment type transfer and sublimation transfers can print 16.7 Million colors and at a much higher photo quality resolution than screen printing. And for small volume orders screen printing in many cases is not economically viable.

I think like many starting out you see all these different methods as competing, while there can be some overlap, best option is to have many tools in your toolbox and use the one that makes the most sense for your customers order.


After a lot of research, I narrowed down my list to F&M and Versatrans and have currently several orders in with F&M. Next step for me is to buy an inkjet/laser printer (or both) for producing small runs in-house. The challenge is, dark shirts and self-weeding. I have settled on the fact that i will need 1 or 2 printers:
inkjet for whites self-weeding, darks manual weeding, inexpensive
laser for light and dark self-weeding both, expensive

As for printer brands, here are the ones that keep popping up in this forum. Pricing is between $100 to 3,000. Remember, inkjet pigment ink is preferred by veterans on this forum.

Inkjet Printers
Epson Sure Color P800, P600 (not the P400) newer, wide format inkjet
Epson Stylus Pro 2800/2880, 3800/3880, 4800/4880 seem older but good.


I have a 4880. It is out of production. Look for newer in production models if you want to go this big. Unless you are sublimating or have other uses for such a large printer a tabloid size inkjet is all you need for regular inkjet transfers.

I would not suggest buying any printer that is out of production, especially a larger format one!!!!

Epson 1500W ?
Foreign version of 1430
Epson WF 1100 ?
Out of production

Epson Artison 1430 ?
In production

Epson C80/C88/C88+ (cheap with great reviews, many use this) 8.5x11 borderless printing
C88+ is the only one still in production
But this size is too small for the larger size tshirts.


Laser Printers
OKI C711, c831, pro920

That's after 3 weeks of reading lots of posts on this forum.

Hope that helps.
Anthony
I made some markups in your text above.
 
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