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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greeting from South Africa,

I have been in the Screenprinting industry for over 15 years doing repro and positives. I am in the process of purchasing an HM-1 machine. Please can someone be so kind as to answer a few questions for me.

1) I believe that images print great, but what about small text / vector? Is vector as crisp as regular screen printing?
2) Is clogging an issue?
3) I will be using the machine in the corporate industry. What quantity of shirts would you say is the cut off between using this system and the conventional screen printing system, cost wise?
4) What would you say is the biggest problem or concern about this machine?

Thank you. I look forward to your replies, and will probably have a bunch of more questions...
 

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1) I believe that images print great, but what about small text / vector? Is vector as crisp as regular screen printing?
Most of us print at 720DPI, so images are very crisp and probably even more detailed then screenprinting in most cases.

2) Is clogging an issue?
Yes, its an issue and especially so if you plan on using white ink. Maintenance helps but the underlying fact is that the white ink is prone to clogging or losing prime. The newer versions of HM-1 have addressed some issues but you must always be on the lookout. Use this machine everyday and it shouldn't give you as many problems if you used it every 2nd day or so.

3) I will be using the machine in the corporate industry. What quantity of shirts would you say is the cut off between using this system and the conventional screen printing system, cost wise?
I have no cut-off when it comes to full color process images. DTG almost always works out better.
But when its 1-4 color spot designs, my cut-off is usually around 50ps for white t-shirts, and 20-40 for dark/colored t-shirts. Not that its more cost effective sometimes, just that I can't be bothered printing the same t-shirt design over and over again :)

4) What would you say is the biggest problem or concern about this machine?
White ink is the biggest concern, followed closely by problems which will creep up on you on day to day or weekly basis. No warning what so ever. But after using it for so long, and having these forums and some good support you can fix most of them easily.
 

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Don't forget that my post was a bit negative because of the theme of the questions you asked. The DTG machines are good. Great in fact..IF your business will use them on a day to day basis. Its not good to buy one just for the odd single job here and there. You need constant use of this machine rather then let it sit in the corner while your screening business gets all the work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, my questions were a little negative, but I need to know those most importantly for now as I don't think the salesperson will be focussing on them when I see the demo tomorrow... I am hoping to put that machine to work 24 hours a day if possible.

Is this Bulk Ink System the best still, and recommended: New Bulk Ink System ?


Thanks again!
 

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That's a good bulk ink system, better then the ones that come with the machines. However, thats for TJet1 and Tjet2 machines, which means only suitable (with modifications) for the DTG Kiosk (original), not the HM-1 which uses a different printhead.
 

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Ok, so there is no improved system for the HM-1 as yet?
The HM-1 C has a far superior bulk system to the "improved" one you reference. The HM-1 C has a white ink circulation system (part of the WIMS - White Ink Management System) as well as pressurized bottles to prevent ink starvation issues.

The "improved" system has been tried by a number of our customers with widely varying results. Some claim it is the best thing they ever did, others have had nothing but problems since implementing the system. If we felt that the product was a major improvement - we would be offering one ourselves, there is a lot of margin in the system based on its retail price.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Don,

Does this seem like the HM-1 C to you from my quotation?

DTG HM!
(With White Ink Upgrade)

The DTG Package includes the following:
DTG HM1 with Upgraded White ink System
Print Pro Software
200ml Cleaning solution
200ml CMYK Ink set (Ink Chip Set)
500ml White Ink (Ink Chip Set)
1Litre Pretreatment
DTG Attachment Set (Standard, Youth, Pocket, Long Sleeve)
Heat Press (375mm x 375mm)
Wagner Spray Gun
Miscellaneous Cleaning tools
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry, also what do you think works better, heat press or curing tunnel?

Finally, Don, can the HM-1 print on golf balls, and can i request the attachment for that with my order?
 

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Hi Colin,

Your quote doesn't seem to indicate C or not. If the machine has been received by the distributor within the past month or so, it should be a C - ask them if it has the ink recirculation system (C stands for Circulation).

Not sure if they sell the golf ball jig in South Africa, we had it developed here in the States and I haven't seen any orders from our overseas partners. With a bit of work you can use and egg carton, that was my original prototype to practice with.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Don. I am so looking forward to this now! :)

My business also does laser engraving so I will cut out my own jig for the golf balls.

Do you use the same ink for other media such as golf balls and canvas?
 

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I myself us a heat press with my Hm1. I know there are a few here who use a conveyor dryer but not many. I think it was also an issue as to whether the bottom white ink layer would cure correctly with a conveyor dryer. I myself have not tried it so I dont know, but I do think there were one or two that were having success with that method. I have had great results just using a heat press :)
 

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Including pre-treatment's, curing, print time, etc, how many black shirts would you say you can print in an hour, Full A4 size. On average?
Hi, Colin-

I was playing around on an HM1 last week (someone else's shirts & ink, it was fun:p) and printed a few dark shirts with a design that is 7.5" x 9.5" (a little smaller than A4, I believe) with what I would estimate to be about 30% of that area covered in ink (actually, I'm not sure if this affects your print time or not).

We printed two white passes and one color pass with the following times:
1 minute, 40 seconds per white pass, so 3 minutes 20 seconds total
23 seconds for the color pass
1 minute prep-time while the printer did whatever it does before it actually starts to print (so the print times I'm giving you are when the printer was actually laying down ink).

So, 4 minutes, 43 seconds to actually print a shirt. And that's assuming you're there to press the load button for each pass, so the printer isn't waiting on you.

You should have two platens so that there's no downtime while you load and cure shirts.

So, I would imagine that without any problems I could print one of my shirts every 5 minutes, or 12 an hour, which is amazingly close to the low-end number shown in the HM1 manual.

As for our print settings, I believe the white was set to medium and the color to 1440.

I don't know how this compares to others' experience and this was definitely a limited amount of experience for me, but maybe it will give you some idea.

Printing white appears to be costly in terms of time (and ink, of course). Printing colors on white shirts was much faster for us.

As for the pretreatment, from what I've read and been told, it's a good idea to pretreat your shirts in a room where your printer is not located (I'd love to hear how others are doing this), so I would think it would be most cost-effective to pretreat your shirts in 'batch mode' (Actually this sounds like it would be quickest done in batch mode, whether you're in the same room with the printer or not.) I would think that with practice you could pretreat 40 shirts an hour @ 90 seconds per shirt?

Chris
 
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