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I am a newer business and have done lots of vinyl stuff but want something more...I bought an OKI 8432 thinking it would be a good next step to having more graphic capability but after working with it and the rip software just got frustrated with the quality and the company i bought from returned it. I am now looking into what i should purchase next. I messed around with screen printing but decided not to go that route although its hard to beat the durability and feel of a plastisol ink. i have read numerous post about DTG printers.. some of you love them and some of you hate them . i do alot of small runs but don't know if this is the right move or if there is a better option out there. I'm not really looking to screen print so what other ideas do you all have on what would be the next step?
 

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I am a newer business and have done lots of vinyl stuff but want something more...I bought an OKI 8432 thinking it would be a good next step to having more graphic capability but after working with it and the rip software just got frustrated with the quality and the company i bought from returned it. I am now looking into what i should purchase next. I messed around with screen printing but decided not to go that route although its hard to beat the durability and feel of a plastisol ink. i have read numerous post about DTG printers.. some of you love them and some of you hate them . i do alot of small runs but don't know if this is the right move or if there is a better option out there. I'm not really looking to screen print so what other ideas do you all have on what would be the next step?
Short Answer:
Show me one reputable fashion brand using DTG.

Long Answer:
DTG is the best available option you can have for multi-color, high detail one offs, and maybe for low volume.

However, If you have to print more than 20 identical copies, DTG is no longer the best option. With a bit of preparation (having ready coated screens from the day before) screen printing will produce cheaper, and more durable results. Even if you need 4-5 screens (CMYK+white).

Fashion brands don't Use DTG, because a) it is expensive, and b) it is not durable enough. When you print 10,000 shirts, $1 difference per shirt means $10,000. Durability is also important, because brands want to maintain their reputation for quality.

Personally I only use DTG over a screen-printed base, and I have partly described the method I use in another post. There is a lot more to it of course... but that's my own little secret ;).
 

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What's a good starter printer for a hobbyist?
Hard to answer... because all DTG printers require maintenance. They are not toys.

For most people I'd say the Epson F2000/ F2100 because there is a big company behind it, and you will get support when you need it. However every time you screw up (not to hard to do) it'll cost you.

For people who can do a bit of DIY, there are a few cheaper options of professionally converted Epson printers. One of them is polyprint Polyprint DTG | Direct To Garment Printers

For people who are really good with machines, like myself, there are also the DIY type printers. Example OpenDTG P600 Advanced- Complete DTG Printer Don't buy these unless you are confident you can repair them yourself. There is no warranty, and no technician to come help you.
 

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would a dtg printer be a good buy if you already had a clothing line that sold but wanted to take production into your own hands with no minimums and also double the printer and market on your social media that you can do 1 of prints for people for $20 a pop?
 

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If you do small runs then DTG is probably a good option for you. Sure Some people hate it and others love it but it's probably because they were in over their head to start. I would just stay with one of the big guys like Epson or Brother. As far as a plastisol feel, you can still get that if you tunnel dry you DTG with a forced air dryer either electric or gas. We had a BBC electric because their new Aeolus is curing DTG in Half the time as everyone else. That said it may be overkill for just 1 DTG but they have other smaller units that would fit your needs I'm sure.
 

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Thanks everyone!!

1) What is the pre-treatment spray?
2) My designs I'd prefer to be on black shirts or dark shirts. Am I limited to polyester or can I pre-treat cotton?

My customers and I love the feel of Bella's and soft cotton shirts like Hanes Nano line. They do not feel like cardboard and nobody wants to wear an uncomfortable Tee. It has to be lightweight material because it is steamy hot here in FL.

This would be something I'm starting from home. I'm a designer (but mechanically handy) and want to combine DTG with other things I'm working on. So, I'm really SMALL. LOL. I only have a normal washer and dryer. I did invest in a plastisol gun and plastisol.

Again, any help would be appreciated!!
 

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Thanks everyone!!

1) What is the pre-treatment spray?
2) My designs I'd prefer to be on black shirts or dark shirts. Am I limited to polyester or can I pre-treat cotton?

My customers and I love the feel of Bella's and soft cotton shirts like Hanes Nano line. They do not feel like cardboard and nobody wants to wear an uncomfortable Tee. It has to be lightweight material because it is steamy hot here in FL.

This would be something I'm starting from home. I'm a designer (but mechanically handy) and want to combine DTG with other things I'm working on. So, I'm really SMALL. LOL. I only have a normal washer and dryer. I did invest in a plastisol gun and plastisol.

Again, any help would be appreciated!!

The pretreatment is a polymer emulsion, applied to the shirt prior to printing. It keeps the ink on the surface.
You can print on any color t-shirt, and cotton is actually the most common type of shirt used in DTG.
 

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How big is your budget?

DTG machines will range from around $5000 to $10000 for cheaper Epson conversions. Then you have around $20000 or more for better/dedicated machines such as the Epson 2000 or Brother GTX. If you want a pre treat machine rather than using a hand sprayer then you can add another $3000+ for that.

Like buying a car, a DTG machine will need maintenance so you should factor in support and buy from a reputable place.
 

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I would recommend doing some math before you invest that kind of money. Take into account the cost of the machine, the cost of ink, the estimated cost of replacement parts and maintenance. Then determine how many shirts you will need to produce at $15-$20 retail (in order quantities of 1-15 or so...) in order to break even on your investment.

I think a lot of people just go ahead and buy it without thinking it all the way through and that is one of the reasons a lot of people are sour on the idea of DTG. If I had a walk in shop in a high traffic area and could keep it printing for most of the day I might consider it, but that's not the kind of work I do.
 

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I would recommend doing some math before you invest that kind of money. Take into account the cost of the machine, the cost of ink, the estimated cost of replacement parts and maintenance. Then determine how many shirts you will need to produce at $15-$20 retail (in order quantities of 1-15 or so...) in order to break even on your investment.

I think a lot of people just go ahead and buy it without thinking it all the way through and that is one of the reasons a lot of people are sour on the idea of DTG. If I had a walk in shop in a high traffic area and could keep it printing for most of the day I might consider it, but that's not the kind of work I do.

I recommend making sure you can sell at least 100 t-shirts per week. Otherwise the numbers don't add up, and you are basically working for free.
 

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I recommend making sure you can sell at least 100 t-shirts per week. Otherwise the numbers don't add up, and you are basically working for free.
Or worse yet, working to pay off an expensive piece of equipment with no end in sight. For a comparison, you can buy a decent 4-color press for less than $2,000 and you'll have more work than a single person can handle. That's why I recommend doing the math...
 

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I know it is out of the question on this forum, but I can't get any responses about Rhinestone and bling apparel elsewhere on this forum. Can anyone help out where I could possibly get a response....

----------------------------

I enjoy wearing occasional blingy shirts-meaning a rhinestone shirt. I think I'm the only one left though. I invested in a setting machine-Crystal Press II, which is for the beginner I'm sure. I'm a computer programmer and wanted to dive into the software and machine to see what it is all about. I made some with our company logos and did some for a few other small businesses just for experience. This stuff is time consuming!

If the rhinestones are not the same size, the machine will place them upside down...and that takes a huge effort to manually flip them. Can you imagine doing this for 30 shirts??? I have now learned what companies overseas (since there are no USA companies making rhinestones...why???) make consistent rhinestones. I'm thinking spangles are better because from what I see it punches the circles, which look like rhinestones...probably cheaper, but then the machine cost!!

From the business end, I have learned most women I know do not enjoy bling as I do. Restaurants are scared to use it for them falling off in food??? Good Lord. My rhinestones never ever come off in the washer or dryer. I totally mis-treat them for a Q & A in how they hold up. I've even done mixed designs with glitter vinyl and rhinestones. The quality is bar-none. The shirt started getting holes...and these are Bella's. The Rhinestones never came off. I've done 30+ washes. gee whiz.

From the technical side, the software that is available out there sucks big time and is over priced...whether plugins for Corel Draw, Design ERA, Digital Art Solutions, which I asked for a refund. My husband wrote a piece of software for me that does complex fills and borders much better than ANY software I was reviewing. There isn't any software that will allow you to give a proof to customer with vinyl and rhinestones together. My hubby is working on it, but should he...seems like this is dead.

Thoughts on this business? Is it dead, dying or what?

Thanks,
Gal
 
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