February '23

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which is great to see! But what's next? You guessed it: direct to film (DTF). I will be the first to admit that, when I heard about the process last year, I dis- counted it without doing any research. To me it sounded like another direct-to-gar- ment knock-off, and I had studied that process for several years hoping it would advance. However, several months ago I was going through my emails and a manufacturer was promoting their DTF printer. It caught my eye right away. I spent the next couple of hours doing some research on the process and the films, inks, and adhesive powders gener- ally used. With any new process everyone always tells you what you want to hear, so I always try to dig deeper since we are the ones making the investment. After some research, I found a company that sold DTF prints, so we had some made to test them. On top of that I reached out to ColDesi to order sample prints from their DTF machine to compare the print quality and see how well they would hold up. Both sets of prints were tested and both held up well in the wash, but the ColDesi prints had better-quality ink sat- uration and level of detail, with no lines or fuzziness on the print. From there I did a Zoom call with Michael Angel, business development, from ColDesi to learn more details about their DTF equipment. I have worked with ColDesi for years — ever since we first searched for quality rhinestones — and they have always been about quality and customer service, which is another reason I trust them right out of the gate. Angel explained to me the mechanics of how the machine operated, what I needed to set the equipment up, and more. After running the tests and having a great Zoom meet- ing, my wife and I made plans to fly down to the ColDesi facility right away for an in-person demo. Once we saw the DTF printer working in real life and talked to Angel and his team some more, it took us only 20 minutes to decide that this was the machine for us. We had already met with our bank for pre-approval for a loan, so we were able to get everything rolling to order the machine that day. I know what you are thinking… Great, you invested in a new process, but why? What does this new process bring to the table? Before I explain that, let's go over a few different printing options we offer to our customers for comparison: Sublimation is a great process for full- color printing of small or large runs, but when it comes to apparel, it only works well on 100% polyester. e sublimation process is very clean, though, and takes up very little space. We offered this process in our online stores. Apparel vinyl is a process we offered to be able to put full-color images on any fabric for our online stores, but it was not a perfect solution since it can be time con- suming to print, die-cut, weed, transfer, G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 7 5 The ColDesi DTF 24H4 printer we recently added to the shop.

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