T-Shirt Forums banner

41 - 51 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
I can't tell if he is saying DTF is bad or selling his transfers. Maintenance is required with any industrial printer, some might require more than others.
i had issues with desktop version too, it was slow and required too much cleaning. My 24" is going strong printing atleast 2k prints/ week. It does have some minor issues now and then but that's understandable as this method is still in infancy and the machines are first gen.
He's not talking about wide format printers... He's talking about the low cost P600 and similar conversions.
The big problem with these desktop DTF printers is that they are impossible to clean without taking them apart.
Your 24" printer does not have this problem, but is also a lot more expensive.

Still , in my opinion solvent printed vinyl is a better option, especially for low to medium volume production.
I know people hate weeding... but most designs I've seen printed with DTF would actually be easy to weed.
The images attached in this thread are the perfect example. How long would it take to weed these? 10-15 seconds?
Not bad if you only do 50 or even 100 per day.
1614197229722.png 1614197287132.png
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
He's not talking about wide format printers... He's talking about the low cost P600 and similar conversions.
The big problem with these desktop DTF printers is that they are impossible to clean without taking them apart.
Your 24" printer does not have this problem, but is also a lot more expensive.

Still , in my opinion solvent printed vinyl is a better option, especially for low to medium volume production.
I know people hate weeding... but most designs I've seen printed with DTF would actually be easy to weed.
The images attached in this thread are the perfect example. How long would it take to weed these? 10-15 seconds?
Not bad if you only do 50 or even 100 per day.
View attachment 272472 View attachment 272473
Well i agree that any home/small quantity business who wants almost no maintenance should definitely go with either printed vinyl or WT printers. Coz when it comes to ink there always is maintenance. Even mine is no walk in the park.

I still do some vinyl prints especially on texts coz the sharpness is unmatched when it comes to simple shapes and text. But printing aligning then cutting takes long, understandable if that’s someone’s only option.
Besides you giving far less credit to the DTF printing capabilities. I do lot more complex designs, some with spray effects which would be a nightmare to weed or even cut.

Do they come out as intended, yes
Do they look as good as it would using DTG, no.

It’s cheap and faster than anything I have used before, so it works for me. Look what you require, experiment, research and then go with what you found.

For less than 50 prints a day it’s best to buy transfers in my opinion. Save you money and headache.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Hello @vvamic
I tried to PM you but I'm guessing being a new user I'm not able to reply until later as stated. Anyways I'll just continue here.
"Thank for the reply! That really helped!
I see, so even if the final print on the film looks good, it could still be the fabric, bad ink, or white base issues? I attached the image of the final print on the TPU film before heat pressing.

I was using Fruit of The Loom 3931 100% HD cotton shirt."

272665
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Hello @vvamic
I tried to PM you but I'm guessing being a new user I'm not able to reply until later as stated. Anyways I'll just continue here.
"Thank for the reply! That really helped!
I see, so even if the final print on the film looks good, it could still be the fabric, bad ink, or white base issues? I attached the image of the final print on the TPU film before heat pressing.

I was using Fruit of The Loom 3931 100% HD cotton shirt."

View attachment 272665
Yes, those are the most common factors in DTF print quality. On a T-shirt you will mostly get good results, but on sweatshirts it will vary coz variety of fabrics are used and usually have heavy patterns. In short the smoother the surface the better the result.

And always keep your designs in at least 300DPI to avoid dull edges and pixelization.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I am using this type of setup for more than 2 months now and I can give a brief review for the same.


The name comes from china and yes it is neither correct nor a good name for it. The correct name would be PET film Printer/Transfer, as it prints on a special PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) film which is later transferred to the product.



The machines used in setup:

A printer that can use these special DTF inks . Currently there are 3 types of printers that are available in market.
A basic L1800 conversion
24” DIY printers using Epson heads. Cheaper ones use XP600 heads and the other uses two 4720/3200 heads (one for white, one fore CMYK).

I used the L1800 first, cost me around 1200 USD for the whole setup with consumables.
Head died within 2 weeks. L1800 isn’t meant for these inks especially the white. You need to clean after every couple prints and it takes around 10-15 minutes to print a decent quality A4 size image. So in my opinion not worth unless u want to give it a try and have money to throw away.

I went for the double 4720 24” head printer, this head is a replacement to the older Epson DX5 heads which many DIY DTG machines use. The machine has ink circulation, wet capping and prints quite fast. Last week I printed 10000 5x5 inch designs within 3-4 hours, with colour and white top layer(which later becomes the base).
Inks used are water solvable just as DTG but tend to be a different formula, Also somewhat cheaper than most DTG inks. I am using Korean inks currently which are more expensive than what the Chinese are offering but still less expensive than DTG inks.

Power Coating
Once you print your design on the PET film, You need to apply TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) powder to it. The inks dry quite slowly so you have good 10-15 minutes to apply the powder to it.
This can be done manually or using a powder apply/heat machine.

I do it manually when printing less area, say 1 meter of roll, anything more I let the machine do the work. This machine has another roll on the other end with a rewinder (a simple paper roll) which is then attached to the PET film roll from the printer. As the printer prints the roll is slowly pulled towards the powder coating unit and then later pushed towards the heating panel, which is basically a curved metal plate with heating rods on it. The finished roll is cut manually at the end.
So all this machine does is sprinkle powder on the printed ink, dust the extra powder from the film and then bake it. The finished product can be rolled and stored for as long as you wish.
One thing to be noted is that this machine does save a lot of time by doing all this quickly but at the same time it bakes a lot of TPU powder which when melted releases fumes. These fumes are a health hazard if inhaled for prolonged periods.
The machine has exhaust vents for these fumes which should be properly piped and led outdoor or in a smoke filtration unit.

Design Application
The final design can be applied on almost anything, for garments preferably using a heat press.

Maintenance
The Powder coating/heat machine requires no maintenance.
For the printer I believe requires same level of maintenance as any industrial ink jet printer. Need to print atleast every other day or take a nozzle check and maintain temperature. Cleaning if the nozzle check has missing lines or after printing a good amount of designs is recommended.

Pricing
Powder coating machines go for around 2-3k and printers 4-5k. The XP600 head printers are ~1k cheaper. These are China prices.
Consumables
Inks: You can find a lot of ink suppliers, all are somewhat cheaper than DTG.
Film: around $80-150 for 100 meters
TPU: $5-10 for 1kg
You use almost negligible TPU, I have printed 150+ meters and I still have more than 50% of my 20 kg bag.

Now we get to the final part, advantages/disadvantages, design quality and durability.
Before I give my verdict, let me tell you I am in garment manufacturing and I have had experience with every garment printing method there is, if not first hand but enough finished goods with every print technique.

Quality is equal to DTG if not better, it’s more vibrant than DTG as the inks aren’t soaked into the garment. Colours come out bright similar to good quality Laser transfers.

Durability is excellent. I have washed different fabrics with designs on them, 100% cotton and polyester, fleece, polyblends 50/50. All machines washed for 3 weeks every day. The designs don’t fade or crack.

It’s quite hard to peel them, if for e.g using your nails, even a tiny piece is hard to peel if it’s applied correctly. Also if ironed after every wash it sticks even better.

Feel:
Here is where I believe it loses points.
PET film designs kinda feel like a very thick screen printed design or a very thin vinyl.
It’s quite smooth but at the same time has good stretchability. Imagine having very thin stretchable plastic film on shirt, that’s how it feels.
But if your designs are small in size and or breathable then this feel is quite minimum.
Also the quality of feel gets better if heat pressed 1-2 times after the initial application.
The TPU plays a major role here. The better the powder the better the feel and durability.
I tried $5 TPU and it’s feel is thicker than $10 one. I believe it can be made even less as there are even better/costlier TPU qualities available.
For me the $10 works well but people are free to try.

Can apply on almost anything, I have applied to jute bags and even on glass with a simple iron.

The only difference or win for DTG in my opinion here is the hand feel.

I guess I have wrote a lot, been like 10 minutes since I started, so I will end here with some final thoughts.

DTF or PET film transfer uses something from both DTG and Laser transfer.

It uses a DTG type printer to print transfers that are as good as them while being durable, faster and somewhat cheaper without any fabric limitations.

Hi may I ask which printer you use please. Thank you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
i am using a chinese DIY form this manufacturer

But its best you research on your end first rather than going blindly with mine, if u plan to buy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
i am using a chinese DIY form this manufacturer

But its best you research on your end first rather than going blindly with mine, if u plan to buy.
Thank you I had been looking at there models and have got in contact with them. Have you had any problems with them or are they ok.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
It really is cheaper than what I have, the metal costs more. The machine itself doesn’t have any complex expensive parts. The new one is mostly plastic.

No I am talking about CMYK+W, I don’t do only CMYK ever. The manufacturer told me the white helps in even better adhesion as the TPU bonds more to it than the colour inks.
So all my prints are with white base.
And even after using costlier Korean based inks, the Chinese ones are ~10-20% cheaper.

But as I said not everyone can achieve this number. It depends upon your location/supplier.
Can you share your contact for Korean inks and powder. There are really many providers of dtf inks on the market.

Thanks for really a lot of useful information.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I have a question about the 'feeling'.
Some prints I tested feels very plastic, thick, not stretchable. Others feel softer and thinner.
Since the vinyl is removed it depends on the 1. print head 2. powder 3. ink?

Could somebody give me more feedback on it. I want soft feeling, as thin as possible ;-)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
I have a question about the 'feeling'.
Some prints I tested feels very plastic, thick, not stretchable. Others feel softer and thinner.
Since the vinyl is removed it depends on the 1. print head 2. powder 3. ink?
The print-head has nothing to do with it.
The hand feel and stretchability depends on the ink and powder used.
Most people use dtf-inks and TPU powder.
Printing them with a DTG, solvent, and UV inks is also possible.
 
41 - 51 of 51 Posts
Top