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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have seen alot of good and bad about Dtg machines recently on here and I thought it would be nice to learn a little about each members experience with their machine and how they made the choice they did on the machine they own. If you can, cut and paste the questions below and fill in the answers for your machine. That way when others are researching, they can get real info from real users :) I will go first and answer in the next post as to leave the questions empty to make it easier to cut and paste :) Please lets keep this post friendly so it can be good research for others out there :)



What machine do you own?


What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?

What is your business model?

Are you happy with your decision?

What are the pros you have learned of your machine?

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine?

What type of maintenance do you do?

How long have you owned your machine?

How long did it take you to learn to use?

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know?

Would you recommend this machine to others?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Re: What machine do you own and how did you make your decision on it :)

What machine do you own? DTG HM1

What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision? I researched alot on this forums and screenprintuniversity , I also went to the my local distributor after I learned about the kiosk as that was the first machine I was looking at, and then while I was there learned of the HM1 coming out. I then went to the Long beach SGIA show and seen all of the different machines print. I decided while I was there to purchase the HM1 and I did it there at the show as I got a much better price, I would recommend anyone buying a machine to purchase at a show if possible to get the extra savings. Best advice is make sure it is right for your business before buying

What is your business model? I started with an online store for baby clothing and also selling to gift shops in hospitals for their NICU's, since I bought my machine I have also started taking on small contract printing jobs under 150 pieces per job. I dont recommend doing large orders.

Are you happy with your decision? I am absolutely happy with my decision, even after going to the last Long beach ISS and seeing all of the machines again, it really reinforced my decision.

What are the pros you have learned of your machine? I have learned that it is fairly fast printing with great quality, it is fairly easy to maintain now that I have a system in place. I am able to print on alot of differrent surfaces and alot of different locations such as over zippers, on hoods and just about anywhere I set my mind to hehe. I love the details I can get with this machine :)

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine? The one thing I can say is that photos dont come out so great on black shirts but I think it is user error at this point :) I have been printing so many orders that I just have not really sat down and practiced enough to find what settings really make a photo on black look great. They look good but I am a perfectionist but I am still working on it. Also if you plan on not being able to run your machine for more than a few days it is best to fill your ink lines with distilled water which is a pain but worth it. Another negative I think with any of the machines is the amount of ink wasted on head cleanings.

What type of maintenance do you do? Every day I wipe clean my printhead with a soft cloth and cleaning solution, clean my capping station and wiper assembly, dont have to shake my white ink as I have the aggitator, but I do shake the bottles of white in my cabinet. Every 6 weeks I do a flush of my system with distilled water to remove any buildup in my dampers or printhead, and this keeps my head flowing great.

How long have you owned your machine? I started printing with my machine the beginning of sept. 2007

How long did it take you to learn to use? It took a good couple of weeks to get decent and I didnt take any orders until after about 3 weeks. By far the biggest learning was which settings to use in my graphics program and which settings to use in my Rip pro to get the best results. It is amazing what results you get with the different settings:) Also luckily I paid really close attention to pretreatment before I got my machine so I got that pretty good right away.

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now? You know I really cant say there is anything as I researched for a good 6 months before I purchased and made sure I was well prepared before I dove in. It is exactly what I expected.

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know? I would like others thinking of getting a dtg to really do your research and dont expect it will be a push button printer as so many say. Its not that simple, its a machine that has to be run and taken care of. It takes a learning period to get good at it and there is great help and many different forums to get help if you get stuck, so you should take advantage of all that information that is out there :) and be very dilligent about taking care of the machine and doing maintenance consistantly. Remember if you are nice to your machine it will be nice to you back.

Would you recommend this machine to others? I would definately recommend this machine to others as long as they really learn what they are getting into. I think any of the machines can be great as long as you take the time to learn them.
 

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Re: What machine do you own and how did you make your decision on it :)

What machines do you own? T-Jet1 & T-Jet2´s

What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?
I googled and found info on some forums.


What is your business model?
I started with a design-online-shop ant today we have 3 different webshops: design-online, readymade design and a cafepress-clone (or like spreadshirt and zazzle).

Are you happy with your decision?
I think the T2 is the best DTG-printer in the world. It suits our production perfect.


What are the pros you have learned of your machine?
Great quality, e
asy to learn, maintain and change spareparts.

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine?
If you don´t take care of the maintanence (daily and weekly) the tubes and head will clog.


What type of maintenance do you do?
Every morning we clean capping station and wiper assembly.
After that we pull some white ink thru the white cartidges with a syringe and put it back in the bottle. Then we do a nozzle check to make sure that everything is ok. Every friday I wipe clean my printhead with a soft paper towel and cleaning solution

We shake the white bottle once a day and the trick with pulling white ink thru the tubes every morning makes every print look great.


How long have you owned your machine?
The T2´s is from March 2006 when we started our first website.


How long did it take you to learn to use?
Because we started when white was new to the industry it was some issues with thin tubes in bulksystem and no good tips in pretreating methods. We did a couple of hundred shirts before we was satisfied with the result. Today it would have been much easier thanks to all information on tshirtforums.com and usscreen supportforum.


Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?
No, I was prepared that it not was an ordinary epson printer.


Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know?
If you treat the printer good and let it take time to learn you will have a moneymaker. Search info with google and in different forums to see if it´s the right investment for your business. If you think you can let it stand for a week and print 5-10-50-100 shirts in the weekend then I would think about let someone else do the printing for you. They work best when printing daily.

And keep in mind that washability has nothing to do with the printer. It´s all in the ink and well done curing.

Would you recommend this machine to others?
I would definately recommend this machine and the new models called Blazer Express and Blazer PRO. I would also suggest to invest in an Autotreater or Autotreater PRO to pretreat shirts with if you print more than 40-50 black shirts/day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: What machine do you own and how did you make your decision on it :)

Anyone else want to add their machine, we still need brother, kornit, flexi, and views of other owners. It would be really great to have people with the same machines listed too to see how opinions are with same machines and different owners. :)
 

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Re: What machine do you own and how did you make your decision on it :)

What machine do you own?
T-Jet 3

What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?

Internet

What is your business model?
Local Custom/Contract Direct-to-Garment and Dye Sublimation Printing, and local and online retail sales of our own designed t-shirts

Are you happy with your decision?
Yes, but I think we got into the industry at an odd time (April 2007). I wished we had either started much earlier (before printing with underbases), or much later (compensating for economy changes, and new technologies)

What are the pros you have learned of your machine?
Always developing new improvements, great support system between other same machine users

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine?
LOL, over coming the quirks of a now defunct machine, and limited profit margins

What type of maintenance do you do?
Very little ... a few minutes each day of one or two head cleanings, agitating inks and wiping cap stations, printer head, and encoder strip. Once a week or month, of wiping or oiling down rails ... print something every day to keep problems away

How long have you owned your machine?
11 months

How long did it take you to learn to use?
Two weeks, but there are always new updates, improvements and general techniques by like users that come up and change the process to improve production

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?
The statistics for the number of shirts produced per hour, and the cost of ink used is typically inflated, and the technology tends to come out faster than tech support can respond to issues, basically leaving users to rely on each other to overcome problems

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know?
Not really, this model is no longer being produced ... do your research, take every thing you hear or read with a HUGE grain of salt, and understand your business model

Would you recommend this machine to others?
Hard to recommend an obsolete machine. If it was still being made ... yes, but I have overcome all the curve balls sent my way with it ... and no, there are better models out there now to consider

 

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Re: What machine do you own and how did you make your decision on it :)

What machine do you own? Flexi-jet L

What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?Online chatting with distributor, phone contact with the manufacturer, extensive demos of a similar machine.

What is your business model? Making money :) Part time printing, mostly web orders and non fabric printing.

Are you happy with your decision?Most of the time.

What are the pros you have learned of your machine? Flexibility of print surface and the long print length (54") Easy use, easy maintenance.

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine? It is more a problem of the industry than the machine and the instability of the industry.

What type of maintenance do you do? Daily nozzle checks and quick clean cycles as need. Weekly cleaning of capping station and wiper blade and shaking ink in cartridges and bottles and cleaning cartridges as needed. Monthly removal of covers and deep cleaning.

How long have you owned your machine? Since July 2006.

How long did it take you to learn to use? We printed sellable product the first day. Still learning though.

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?

Yes! I wish I had known the character of the various distributors. Also things like the current lack of availability of print heads (check for current status with Epson distrubutors compassmicro.com or vancebaldwin.com , or nationalparts.com) - I wish I had known how tenuous the industry is.

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know? Most of the time this is a fun and profitbale business- if you don't slack on maintenance.

Would you recommend this machine to others? If the current lack of availability of parts continues- and is any indication of the future- I could not recommend an Epson based printer without serious investigation into the future of that printer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: What machine do you own and how did you make your decision on it :)

That would be nice, we need brother owners also :)
 

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Re: What machine do you own and how did you make your decision on it :)

Great thread BobbieLee! I think this will be a helpful thread for those looking into which DTG machines to consider.

Let's keep the thread going (and on track) with helpful responses from your survey :)
Im with you too Rodney, this thread is the best so far that I've read, full of presice information and REAL feedback from actual users and business owners; not a sales representative!

Keep writing people! I cant contribute because Im still looking which one to buy, but thanks to everyone here Im getting very close to make a desicion and give my feedback to everyone.
 

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What machine do you own?
Brother GT-541

What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?
These forums, as well as Screenprintinguniversity's forums. We also attended three trade shows before making our decision.

What is your business model?
We have a retail outlet owned by us, it's a gift shop as well as a walk in personalization store (DTG, Sublimation, Metaza and UV curable items, can also do signage with our SP300). We also are planning a commercial side where we deal with local businesses and casinos. Nevada is literally a stone's throw away, town is divided by the stateline.

Are you happy with your decision?
Haven't owned it long, so far I'm satisfied!

What are the pros you have learned of your machine?
Very little maintenance problems with it, very little learning curve to it.

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine?
Print quality isn't the greatest in my opinion, but the garment looks good from a foot away. No black shirts, limited ability on darks.

What type of maintenance do you do?
Machine takes care of itself as long as I use it. Clean nozzles occasionally, the ability to clean a single nozzle is really great.

How long have you owned your machine?
Just learned how to use it this week!

How long did it take you to learn to use?
Soon as Bill Sween showed up and assembled it, I was good to go.

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?
Nope, I researched it the best I could before we settled on it.

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know?
Brother's training was great, we met Bill Sween at ISS in January, he installed for us on Wednesday, very knowledgeable about the product, what can go wrong, preventative maintenance, and so on. Always nice to work with people who know the product in and out, also great that they're not just some random salesmen at the show (although it's pretty easy to weed out someone who cares about what they're selling vs someone who just wants a paycheck).

Would you recommend this machine to others?
For those that can afford it, it seems like a great machine for its purposes. The T-Jet sounds like you can start getting them for quite cheap, however there is quite a learning curve I've heard to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Martinwoods that would be great, I am trying to get users of every machine, even several of each if I can so that we can have a good reference for those looking to buy a machine. It will be great to have your input :)

I also wanted to say that if there are any other questions that other owners feel would be important, if you pm them to me I will add them to the survey and figure out a way to add them with the answers of those who have already answered.
 

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I have a Brother and it is great. We do not use it daily, but it always starts up and is self cleaning whenever needed. Limitations: no dark garments, image size limited to 14x16, not high clearance, slower than what I would like for production of quantities, and not cost effective. For spot colors, we usually go traditional if we have 100 shirts. We do have color matching issues, but that could be a function of software (Corel).
Excellent resolution, reliable, support from vendor has been excellent. Has a setting that will allow for printing over zippers. I am waiting for their machine that will print on blacks.... especially without the pre-treatments. (I do not like the feel of pre-treated garments). Also, drivers are very effective at increasing and decreasing ink output.
 

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What machine do you own? Flexi L


What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision? Trades Shows, Internet, talking with dealers

What is your business model? Downtown based shop, internet sales, and more

Are you happy with your decision? No , going on third print head, have had to replace main circuit board, too tempermental, either not doing enough maintenance or too much hurts certain things also, humidity problems too humid or not enough, static problems, currently no good ink, poor washability, fading, looks like DTG Inks - Home has a good ink now , will be trying it next lots of good reveiws so far.

What are the pros you have learned of your machine? Ok for small runs with lots of color, but not great for large runs. The biggest plus and the main reason we have had help is Dan from DTG Inks - Home he also has one and can fix and help you with anything, probably the most knowledgable dtg user and he also probably has the best ink also. Mfg guys also are trying and are good guys

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine? To hard for any employee to run, to many hours researching , trouble shooting, and repairing. My biggest complait is no cumunication other than expecting users to read the forum every day to see new updates, they could at least mail or email us official info when they learn something, but nothing ever not once from them on updates or changes we need to make, so when we read something on the forum from another owner like myself on something they are doing that works for them , should we do it or not, nothing ever official. Then after so long you learn that it cause another problem, then its our fault. But on the other hand if you don't do then they can also place blame on you. Also when you call for help they always try to blame someone else. This machine has the seller, mfg of base, epson printer, ink mfg, and rip. So that is five seperate companies to push problems off onto, instead of the one main company that takes your money taking care of you, you have to communicate with the other four involved also, except the ink mfg no way too communicate with, however we will be switching to DTGinks so then we will be able to.

What type of maintenance do you do? regular maintenace capping station, wiper blade, cleaning solution in capping station every night,

How long have you owned your machine? year and a 1/2

How long did it take you to learn to use? No manual with machine so longer than should have, all us owners of the Flexi trouble shoot on a daily basis on the flexi forum

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now? (i'm going to be nice ,I could go on forever)Worst experience of my life, poor service, don't back up warranty want you to pay $400 shipping fees when it breaks and be without for how long.
Wish I would have never bought, hard to get service when they are so far away

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know? Maybe wait a few more years , all the bugs should be worked out of them all, if you do buy a DTG printer read the forum for that machine to see how much trouble users are having, Flexi will not let you into forum until you pay and get your machine, must have a good reason, they do not want you to see what all the current owners are going through, if they will not let you have a temperary pass to forum, then go with another brand that is not hiding info from you, all the others let you in there forums.

Would you recommend this machine to others? No, looks like the Brother is the most reliable, the brother forum is rarely discussing problems, only reason I did not buy a Brother is I thought the ink was too expensive but I would rather pay more for ink then have to do all the maintennace and repairing I have had to do.
 

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What machine do you own? Brother


What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?

Trade shows, forums

What is your business model? just started a retail shop, was in basement

Are you happy with your decision? couldn't be happier

What are the pros you have learned of your machine? It never lets me down, is a work horse
I have left for a month, plugged it in and started printing without even doing a test.

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine? none (well no white ink) but that hasn't hurt

What type of maintenance do you do? none. I guess I should but I must say I have not. The guy I purchased it from came and moved it for us to our new location about 2 months ago and went over everything. cleaned the heads etc. but that was the first time in 2 years

How long have you owned your machine? 2 1/2 years

How long did it take you to learn to use? the day we plugged it in

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?
That I knew about the machine sooner

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know?
It is a great machine and if you want to get into the market, in my opinion it is the best machine out there

Would you recommend this machine to others? in a minute
 

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Re: Brother. Least learning curve of any equipment I have had in a long time. One of the reasons I purchased it was the state durability of the heads. At most, I get streaks in the output, and after an auto clean, the problem is gone. Definite recommendation.
 

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What machine do you own?
Flexi Jet L model.

What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?
Online forums, discussion boards, visiting shops, watching videos, reviewing business model.

What is your business model?
Contract printing first and foremost, selling retail at events, helping my friends get off their feet with design concepts and t-shirt/canvas lines, fulfillment printing for photographers (some of which are friends) along with other t-shirt shops, making a central ebay store/website for my friends designs/slogans, maybe starting a line of my own.

It's all about contract/fulfillment printing first, then not forgetting about my friends who need some help.

Are you happy with your decision?
All and all yes, although the Brother is a solid machine and sometimes I would like to have one. But when it comes down to it, can I print from top to bottom with a brother? Not without lining up prints. Does ink cost more on a brother? Yes, much more. Do print heads cost more on a brother? Yes much more. For retail sales, this may not be that much of an issue but, for contract/fulfillment printing, it effects my everyday profit. Labor cost is cheaper than ink cost.

What are the pros you have learned of your machine?
Large printing area 17"x54", I get many requests for top to bottom printing. Now if it were only 24" wide...

Pretty easy to use and maintain, though don't just think anybody can do it!

I can print on anything!!!!!!!!!

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine?
Crooked as can be, and I dont mean ddm, lol. The platens, the carriage, the bed. I, personally, have fixed all of these problems, and it was A PAIN!!! I don't really blame belquette either, I'm sure the engineering was there (one of the reasons I went with the flexi), something in the manufacturing/assembly went cuckoo. From one platen to the next the design must be moved a 1/4" this way or that, but I have both the software and hardware figured out much later!

What type of maintenance do you do?
Everything! Clean it all! It really saves on the ink.

How long have you owned your machine?
Sept, 07

How long did it take you to learn to use?
Tough question, 1 day, but then doing my first top 2 bottom print took almost a day in itself. Certain colors were hard to achieve, like silver, I never printed a silver until I got a request for it (none of my designs or most customers designs have any silver). It took maybe 30 prints to get a solid silver. Same with non garments, that took about the same, then a new RIP was released, better for t-shirts but through off all of my non garment experimentation.

Like I said too, a little crooked. Printing off the first platen in 5 minutes, printing off of 4 platens...another story. All is good now though!!!

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?
Not really, though I wish I would have waited and got a credit for the white ink and pretreatment until I was ready to use it!!! Now I have a $400 trash pile. I still wish ddm would hook me up with some new white (hint)...

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know?
Get ready to experiment, no matter what machine you choose. Be ready to waste some money. It almost made me cry when we got a new RIP and I had a canvas order to print, the old settings were not the same. Magenta and black needed pulled waaaaaayyy back. About 30 canvas later I was happy.

Would you recommend this machine to others?
Yep, wait, I like the money, maybe not, lol. Just know what you're doing and getting into. Can anyone load a shirt, push print, and press? Yes. Can I (or any pro) get better colors/results than a newbie, probably so!
 

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love this thread I like a lot of others reading it are still waiting to get 1 i liked the look of the Anujet at the exhibition has anyone got 1 yet it did print on black and the results where very good he gave me 2 shirts to do wash tests on !white 1 black and so far they r looking good :)but its a lot of money to pay out and not sure i have the volume of business yet to justify it:( but things are looking better each week :)
 

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What machine do you own?
Brother GT-541

What were the sources of information you researched to make your decision?
We ran a Beta test machine since Jan. of '04 and bought a production version in Aug. of '05

What is your business model?
Servicing local business, churches and schools with logo apparel and promotional items.

Are you happy with your decision?
Abso-friggin-lutely!

What are the pros you have learned of your machine?
Quick print speed, easy to use, dependable. Really a very well designed and easy to use machine.

What are the negatives you have learned of your machine?
No white ink and the blues are sometimes a little dull. Ink is expensive, but no more pricey than regular inkjet ink that I print with everyday and DON'T bill for(like work orders and ship tickets).

What type of maintenance do you do?
None, other than the capping station cleaning every 800-1000 prints.

How long have you owned your machine?
Aug. of '05 on the production model
Jan of '04 on the Beta model

How long did it take you to learn to use?
No time, by the time the tech set it up, I watched him print and the menu settings he went through. Everything is very easy to use.

Is there anything you wished you had known before you bought your machine that you know now?
Nope, I got to use one for a year and a half before buying one.

Is there anything else you would like to add or let others know?
Make sure you have good design software and somebody that knows how to use it.

Would you recommend this machine to others?
Heck yes. I can't think of a better built printer for the same price range. I also think white ink could be a little better than it is now before I jump in. I would love to see the number of people that have a white ink printer that don't use white ink.

I would also recommend a FAST computer. We upgraded this one when we bought the printer. I assembled a top of the line system and have since upgraded it a couple times and it is still great and I run all of our films, banners and art off of one system.
 
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