July '21

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5 4 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G J ust as sublimation inkjet print- ing evolved in 1998, I predict direct-to-film (DTF) printing is the next emergent technology that will grow and develop rap- idly over the next 10-plus years. If you are looking to add dark color Ts and sweatshirts to your product ensem- ble, and you are brave enough to take the risk, you'll want to check out this new print technology. DTF is a low-volume, high-quality, full-color and simultaneous white underlay printing system that ren- ders heat transfers that heat press onto light and dark garments or fabrics. For the purpose of this article, I am only writing about the desktop printer arena. This process is ideal for one-off prints, or lower volume (up to 50-plus) transfers. BASIC BREAKDOWN Here is how it works. You buy a package system from a supplier that consists of a printer/software RIP, an Epson desktop printer converted for DTF printing (one of about 10 models to choose from), DTF ink, PET film transfer sheets, and adher- ing powder. Additional items needed in- clude a T-shirt heat press and either an oven or hot tray. Check out the diagram of the components that comprise the step- by-step process below. I bought a system that utilizes the Epson L-1800 model printer. Having a 5 4 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 1 Above: Seen here is a diagram of the compo- nents that comprise the step-by-step direct-to- film process. (All images courtesy Cary Green) Right: Like any technology, especially new ones, there are pros and cons to DTF printing. What's so Cool about DTF? DIRECT-TO-FILM PRINTING: A NEW TEXTILE TRANSFER DECORATING PROCESS JUST COMING ONTO THE MARKET B Y C A R Y G R E E N

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