The pretreat saga on the DTG is a hassel. I'm still trying to figure it out. Would I buy it again...probably not.
I am sorry to hear that. Maybe you didn't have the right equipment. I'll admit using a "fence sprayer" is a pretty tough way to go. A roller is damn near an impossible task. There are a hand full of very good automatic pretreatment machines out there that make pretreating a t-shirt for DTG printing a breeze. I have one (That feeds 3 DTGs) and it works great for me.
Leaving the Epson F2100 powered off for two weeks is a really bad idea. I would not leave it powered off for more than 2 days...at least not with the low cost (not genuine epson) inks.
I would like to remind folks that using anything other than Epson brand ink while under warranty will void your warranty. After that you are on your own as with any other DTG. I don't use "econo" inks so I don't know much about them really.
[MENTION=500441]The users manual recommends that if not printing at least one per week, the printer has to be put on the storage mode.
Fair enough but I have been told by more than one Epson tech that that a two week idle period is a "safe" estimate for letting your F2100 sit untouched. They also tell me that this is becuase of the way that Epson built the F2100 to have the head parked in the capping system when not in use. Since I am also a screen printer and sometimes don't print on my F2100 for a week or two at a time I can say this is a safe procedure. Most of the time after about a week I will fire up my machines, print a good nozzle check, do my "5 minute" cap clean (that's right, 5 minutes), rinse the spit filter and wipe out the spit tray. Now having said that, this works great for me but if you don't think it's a good idea in your shop then that's your call.
[MENTION=500441]This basically means replacing all ink cartridges with with cleaning fluid ones (6 of them). A lot more maintenance is required.
I am sure that we all agree this isn't a good idea if you need to let your machine sit for a week or two. That is just silly to even suggest it. Much easier to just do a nozzle check and the shut down procedure in the middle of the week like I outlined above. That would be if your machine sat up for even four weeks I would say. That is how I would do it in my shop.
[MENTION=500441]Obviously it not just a "5 minute head cap clean" as you are saying.
Might not be obvious to you but I have had an Epson DTG for over three years now and I can attest that in my shop that is a pretty obvious fact.
[MENTION=500441]and in reality there is a lot more work required, when something goes wrong, or when parts need replacing.
You make it sound like a DTG is going to need repair after every cleaning. Anyone who has any brand of DTG will tell you that there are a few replaceable parts on all of them, no matter what kind that you have, a a routine replacement schedule of filters and wipers is always a part of owning a DTG. The cool thing about the F2100 it will let you know (in advance) when one of these replaceable items is reaching the end of it's life to give you time to get on the stick and get what ever it needs ordered and shipped to you.
Let's just do the math. 100 shirts per week, 52 week per year, $5 profit per shirt, which is the average when printing for others. 100x52x5=$26,000. Considering the price of the printer, I find this unacceptable.
Your math works just fine for you I'll agree but not every DTG printer makes only $5.00 profit on every shirt that they sell. Also, not every DTG printer just prints a 100 piece job a week. I just printed two 72 piece jobs (left front and back) yesterday with three DTGs (about 2 hours per job or so from start to finish) and my profits were much more than your price model, I can assure you.
Also people buy DTGs for other reasons too. I use mine to print orders, yes, but I do a lot more with my DTG. I use it to print tons of caps where the profit margins are very very good, I print addons to screen print orders after the job is finished when ever these situations arise. That has been a Godsend in my shop. Not to mention I use my F2100 to print customer samples on.
I also use my DTGs to print Gator Grafix customer "give away" tees too.
I drop one in every box of any printed ordered tees that go out the door. I see them all over town. Really neat.
I guess that it's a matter of choice when owning a DTG. I couldn't be happier with mine but if you (or anyone else) don't think that it's the right call for you then I would say move on to something else. What ever makes YOU happy or is easiest and best-est for you.