July '21

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5 6 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 lot of experience with digital printing makes any troubleshooting much easier to resolve. That said, I am enjoying this new print application, and just mention- ing my new product capability of printing on dark shirts to a few random clients has generated immediate new revenue. PROS AND CONS Here are some of the pros and cons you should know. PROS • Low initial start-up cost – A desk- top printer that can print up to A+ size film (depending on the printer selection) can be purchased for less than half the price of the white toner transfer printing processes. • Low film cost – PET films are about a third less price than other toner sheet processes, and less time and effort to complete a "ready-to-press" transfer. • Low operating costs – Inks are sold in various bottle sizes. A liter will naturally cost much less than buying a 1/4-liter size. The ink consumption is much like any other type of ink — it goes a long way! I estimate the cost to print a full-color 75% coverage image on an A-3 film at $1.50 - $2 per sheet. • Excellent registration of white – As the white prints simultaneously on top of the four-color process colors all in one pass, the registration is perfect. • Print head quality – There has been no sign of print head failure or clogs based on my printer running at least four days a week. • The print quality and durability are fantastic – Colors print bright and accurate. I washed and dried a black shirt for over 30 washings. The result was no appreciable color fade or loss, and the solid ink areas are just start- ing to crack when you stretch the ink film. CONS • Accessibility – At the time of this article, there are very few distributors offering a turnkey package. Most suppliers offering packages are found in China. There are also various sup- pliers scattered throughout other countries in Asia. It is difficult to know who the actual manufacturer is and who is a reliable reseller. You will want to find someone that is trustworthy, accessible, speaks good English, and offers quality support. • Where to shop – Obviously, no one company produces all the compo- nents. This is where the buyer must beware. Inks and films from various suppliers will not necessarily work with other printers. I tested four dif- ferent films throughout Asia, and the only film that performed flawless in my printer was the film I bought from my supplier. The different films I tried all failed in my printer for one reason or another, mostly feed failures through the printer. Another If you are looking to add dark color Ts and sweatshirts to your product ensemble, and are brave enough to take the risk, you'll want to check out DTF print technology. The basic steps of DTF printing are fairly easy to learn if you already have experience with Epson desktop printers and software RIPs.

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