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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

I've stumbled on this forum after reading lots of different ways of printing onto t-shirts....

I'm looking to setup an arm of my business to sell t-shirts, we have looked around the internet watched youtube videos, and read hundreds of forum posts....

The question i need answered (and from other posts i've read maybe its not so simple to answer) is what is the best start-up method, i'm looking for something that can give a good quality, low cost for low volume printing onto t-shirts, polo shirts, shirts, etc...

I'd like something thats ideal to start with, test the market then buy the bigger equipment...

All your help is appreciated...thanks
 

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Hi. One thing you need to be aware of, is that many of the products mentioned on this forum, are not available in the UK. This is an important consideration when you are planning.

For low start up cost, heat transfers are probably the most cost effective solution. You need to be aware that transfers can be prone to cracking, peeling and fading though.

Vinyl is another choice to consider, but you will need a computer linked vinyl cutter, which will set you back at least £250 for a basic model. Cracking and peeling is not an issue, but you are limited to fairly simplistic designs. You need to remove the unwanted pieces of vinyl (weeding), which can be quite time consuming.

For both of those methods you will need a heat press with at least a 15"x15" platen.

There are other printing methods available, but the start up costs are considerably higher, so I wouldn't personally suggest those to a business, that is not yet established.

Hope this helps.
 

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Direct screen printing using waterbased ink was the way I started. Single colour tabletop carousels are very cheap ,waterbased colour is cheap and requires no heat to cure so no need for a flash cure /conveyor.Screens are easily available. A great easy way to get started.
Pour any profits from this into new equipment when you can if you wish to branch out into different techniques.
If you have any more questions drop me an email.

Good Luck
Ian
 

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Direct screen printing using waterbased ink was the way I started. Single colour tabletop carousels are very cheap ,waterbased colour is cheap and requires no heat to cure so no need for a flash cure /conveyor.Screens are easily available. A great easy way to get started.
Pour any profits from this into new equipment when you can if you wish to branch out into different techniques.
If you have any more questions drop me an email.

Good Luck
Ian
What equipment supplier did you use please?
 

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Hi, I used an axit one col press to start. Sundries from sunchemical.Ink from various suppliers.
Now have a six/four Riley Hopkins,tunnel dryer,natgraph self contained lightbox 2kw metalhalide,washout booth,all from humble beginnings.
If you want it you can work to get it.I mainly did local small run work first,progressing to bigger volumes subbing out jobs I couldn't do.
 

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Thanks for the reply.
What premises did you start in with all that gear?
I'm trying to locate a green earth compact screen printing machine for p[eople with restricted workspace.
I'm also hoping to make the exposure areas out of vinyl using a cutter rather than photographic exposures.
Hopefully one of the things I wish to learn will be printing onto things like tax discs and bumper stickers, although I have yet to work out how photorealism is achieved...if at all :)
 

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I have a heatpress, digital garment printer and a screen printing set-up and the screen printer is the best by far for both results and ease.

Nick
 

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Ive just read the other posts, I started with a back-yard light and expose my own screens, its really easy. if you dont want to play with chemicals, you can get screens ready coated but this is only good if you are keeping the screens for use later
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi There,

I have bought a heat press from ebay (dont physically have it yet :)), cause i felt that with most of the methods a heat press was quite important.

In terms of screen printing, i got the impression from other posts/sites that it only really works if you are printing tons of t-shirts at the same time, but becomes quite expensive / labour intense for single or small runs? Would you still recommend screen printing?
 

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I have a 6 head machine but you can get cheap single heads. Thde number of heads only makes it easier to do multi color prints.

As for ease, you coat a screen with photo emulsion, dry it in a dark cupboard, print an image on velum paper, lay it on the dry screen and exose for 3 mins under the lamp, wash it under a hose, dry it, tape it up and print. There is cleaning chems to us but it can be done in a gargae or even the kitchen if you use drain-safe chemicals
 

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I print runs of about 10 to 15 shirts or runs of 100+ using this method. And its the best quality of the other methods. Transfers are fine but look cheaper
 

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I think it really depends whay you feel comfortable doing,and your intended product range. I solely screenprint,but I have a friend who primarily uses vinyl, but compliments that with screenprinting for the most popular designs in his range.I don't think there are any hard and fast rules, it all boils down to personal and financial choices. For me screenprinting is my preferred choice because I have all the equipment. I can make a screen in less than 20 mins from start to finish, and have that straight on my press to print,and have a printed t-shirt straight away. My friend can get the same result in the same timescale with his plotter vinyl cutter, and heat press.
You just need to decide which method you prefer and head in that direction.
 

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Speaking from my own experience, what UKscreenprinter said is the best way to go. When I started a few months ago, and I was a complete novice to the scene, I only had the manufactures and suppliers for advice and they, to be honest, had little interest in selling me what I wanted, they were more interested in telling me that the other guys machine was no good.

Can you go visit a print shop and see for yourself? Come down to Cleveland for the weekend and I will show you my workshop and the three methods of printing I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey i might just have to take you up on that offer sometime, im currently watching some american youtube videos to see process etc? any good video links?
 

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I think it really depends whay you feel comfortable doing,and your intended product range. I solely screenprint,but I have a friend who primarily uses vinyl.
I meant cutting out vinyl and sticking it to the screen rather than using chemicals and an exposure, I'm led to believe this is possible.
 

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I have looked at you tube, I just searched screen printing and see what happened. One thing I did find useful was a book called How to screenprint for fun and profit by Scott and Pat Fresener. Its an infamous book but found it a lot better when getting started than anything the supplier of my screen printer provided. And just let me know, your welcome to "The Box" anytime

Nick
 

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We offer Custom cut vinyl, Heat pressed transfer & Sublimation.

Subli is great for mousemats & mugs. Crap for t-shirts, except polyester White ones.
Transfer works well for multi-colour/photos that have a simple outline (square/rectangle/circle etc).
Vinyl give great results, but can be time consuming. As an example, we've recently finished printing 20 garments that required a double front print & single back print. They took 4 hours to print & weed & another 3 hours to press & pack. 7 hours for 20 tee's. Is it worth it?
 
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