July '22

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4 2 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 2 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 Breaking Down DTF's Versatility HOW DIRECT-TO-FILM WORKS, POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS, SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS, AND LIMITATIONS B Y J U L I A S C H R O E D E R DTF equipment, including the printer and the shaker/curing oven unit, as well as included processing software allows existing or startup businesses to employ this technology in relatively small spaces. (Image courtesy Axiom America) D irect-to-film (DTF) printing is a marriage of several exist- ing technologies put together in a new and productive way, according to Don Copeland, ColDesi. He explains that a commercial DTF printer setup is a large-format printer that uses inks like DTG inks. e design gets printed onto PET film, like films used for screen-printed transfers. en, the film is coated with powder and cured in a belt dryer, like those used by screen printers. e coated PET film is manufactured to withstand high tem- peratures and pressures from a heat press. Curt Fischer, STS Inks, adds, "Having the correct adhesive powder can make all the dif- ference in this process." Because DTF uses an adhesive powder that creates a vapor when heated, personal protective equipment, such as a respira- tor, should be used by anyone applying the powder during the process. Moreover, the room should be properly ventilated. See the article in the June issue of GR APHICS PRO, "Risks of Improper Air Filtration When Laser Engraving," (https:// for more information about the use of a filtering fume extractor. ough the arti- cle discusses fume extraction for laser engrav- ing, the concept is the same: ridding the air of potentially hazardous particles from your workspace. Once cured, the sheet is then placed onto the garment and pressed using a heat press. Post-press, the sheet is peeled off leaving a vibrant, long-lasting print. Fischer notes that DTF works equally well on white and dark textiles and allows users to choose either a matte or glossy finish. One of the key advantages, Fischer says, is " DTF does not require cutting or weed- ing, it creates crisp and defined edges and images, it does not require advanced tech- nical printing knowledge."

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