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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody. I have never done anything with T-shirts, I have a loose Idea of the different methods and am interested in starting a business, and the DTG viper has peeked my interest. I just have a few questions, I will probably have plenty more later.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

does any one know how much(in canadian) the training to operate a DTG machine costs roughly?

Is the viper too advanced for a beginner?

Are you able to print on baseball caps?

I have more questions, just can not think of them at the moment.

any info anyone could supply me with would be awesome. thanks for your time.
 

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Hi Bob :)

Welcome to the forums :)

I think with any DTG as long as you do your research well, you can be successful with any of the machines that are out there. I own the HM1 and if I were to buy another machine now, the viper would probably be the only other one I would consider besides the one I already own :) Mesa has been a great company to work with and their support for me has been top notch. I am not sure how Canadian money works so I cant help you there haha.

As far as my operating costs it really depends on what my print load is at any given time. There is regular maintenance involved, so things like cleaning solution, foam swabs, syringes, and other small things like that are extras that you always want to have on hand to take care of the machine.

The ink Runs around anywhere from $250 to $300 per liter in us dollars. Your machine does do auto head cleans so that is added on top of your printing costs, as far as running your machine. it takes four colors cmyk plus white if you are printing on dark shirts. You will also have the cost of pretreatment when printing on darks.

As far as printing on hats, you can print on hats as well as many other things. My new passion is printing on stretched artists canvases that are already mounted on wood frames. Because the print bed is around 5" deep, there are many things you can print on. I am not sure of the viper, but I would think the print bed depth is probably similar.

I cannot say enough though to really really do your research, learn everything you can about the machines and how they work. If you do this well and know what to expect, and what its limitations are as far as what will make a profit, then you can do well. I bought my machine two years ago and have never regretted it, but I was really prepared for it.

I was only doing heat pressed transfers when I bought my machine so yes it is possible to learn with it. If you do your research and find it is what is right for you, I would start off with printing CMYK first. Learn the machine well and then introduce white ink. That way you would not have to learn all of it all at once. If I were to do it again, I might have started that way, but I just went ahead and did it all at once haha.

Are there any printwear shows in your area? If so I would go to one and see all the machines at once, so that you can compare the differences and see what you really like. I can tell you a few things that made me choose my particular machine. The viper should have all the same and more :) I liked that it had the laser alignment tool to protect the head from crashing into the garment. I liked that it had a white ink agitator to keep my ink mixed and so that it would not settle. Settling ink can be detrimental to the lines in your machine and your printhead, so this was really important to me. I liked that it had a bulk ink system, as the machines with the cartridges have a much higher ink cost. I loved that it had the auto height adjustment and I did not have to adjust anything manually. Those are some of the things that I really liked. Oh and the depth of the printbed. It was deeper then most machines, so I could fit more items in it. It is amazing the things you can print if you put your mind to it :)

Another thing is to make sure it fits your business model. It is perfect for short runs, I myself do anywhere from 1 to 50 darks garments, and with lights as long as you are getting a fair price for your garments there is really no cut off for lights, as the ink cost is not bad on them. The machine is great for designs with alot of colors and alot of detail. They are great for fast turnover of short runs since you can pretty quickly take a image and print it to the shirt with very little prep work.

Making sure it fits your business is probably one of the most important things. If it does not fit, it does not matter how much you know, it can make your business fail. It can make your business soar if it fits your customer base with the right kind of client :)

I hope I did not scare you haha, I am trying to give you a realisitic idea of what it takes to be successful with the machine. Alot of times when you see someone not happy, it is because it did not fit properly into what they were doing. On the other hand you will find people like me that love their machines, because they evaluated if it was the right fit, and then put it to work right for them :)

I would start reading the dtg section of the forum and gather as much info as you can on printing, maintenance, pretreatment and so on. Then if you can go to a printwear show and see them in action. Call distributors in your area and see if you can come in for a demo. If you do this take your own files each time you go to see a machine so you can make a fair comparison. Good luck, and if you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

Sorry so long haha :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much for all the info.

I live in a small town that doesn't have any clothing stores, so the only place to shop for clothes is out of town. I am an artist as well and have a lot of designs that would be perfect for t-shirts.

I would also to sell my apparel online as well. I've been considering it for awhile just wasn't sure what kind of equipment to look into, I came across the DTG method and was blown away, I don't really like the results of heat transfers, and the silkscreening looks difficult and limited for colors which I am looking for so the DTG seemed like the logical choice.

I have been reading the forums and doing some basic research, I will be doing more in the near future.

Thanks again for the info
 

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I remembered a couple more questions I was thinking about.

what is the best quality t-shirt blank for the best possible price?

what is the best place to buy t-shirt blanks from?

will have more later, thanks guys
 

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may i ask what the average cost to print your own t-shirt is? let's say on a heavy weight cotton t-shirt? interesting to hear so many people make their own t-shirts. i currently use spreadshirt but would def entertain making my own if the return on investment is there.
 

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SideShow-

Really doing research on the forum you are gonna find everyone has their own opinion of where to get and what type of shirts to get basically because we all have different needs.. I need one and two shirt whearas the other guy may need need 72-100 shirts at a time.. with the DTG you need at least 90% cotton tees.. some have good luck with less cotton percentage.

We basically bought one of each popular brand Anvil, Jerzee, Gilden and Port & Company and tried them out.. we still don't have a favorite. We just shop around according to the design we are going to do. We know which ones work better than the others.
Everything is of preference.. you can start at jiffyshirts.com you don't need a account and they are pretty reasonable for shirts.

Also, you are going to need a heat press so you do have the option of doing heat transfers if feel that its would be more cost effective for big orders..

Go to the ISS Shows they are wonderful and have tons of information. You will get all your questions answered.

I hope this helps.. this forum has great information and everyone has the same questions when they start out..

Good luck

Then basically do the research on what companies are closer to you (delivery cost, shipping time, availabilty)
 

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I remembered a couple more questions I was thinking about.

what is the best quality t-shirt blank for the best possible price?

what is the best place to buy t-shirt blanks from?

will have more later, thanks guys
In my opinion, for mens, the Hanes Beefy T is a real nice quality shirt at a pretty good price. For women's I might just get the anvil 6.1 oz. but I am sure there is better out for a good price there I just can't confidently say i have found it yet.

Some good wholesalers i like to use are BroderBros and SanMar but if I can get what I need at my local wholesaler I will always do it because I can pick it up the day of and save a lot on shipping. Since you seem to not live in a city area, you might have to go with the bigger wholesale companies if there are no local ones within driving distance.

hope that helps
 
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