DTG printing advice

SignsbyBrandon

New Member
Good afternoon! I run a small print shop in town but I stay very very busy. I am extremely blessed. I am pretty well known and I am a marketing guru so I have steady work coming in. Right now, I have a 6/6 manual vaster screen print press, Epson sublimation printer, 64" HP latex for wide format printing and digital HTV printing.

My current customer base is strictly business owners. 9/10 people who walk through my doors own their own business and are ordering work shirts for the most part. Right now, we do a TON of sublimation printing, but we have to constantly explain to each customer what sublimation is, how it works and that it can only be applied to polyesters that are lighter colors such a whites, grey etc. Some customers will insist on using polyester but some cannot stand it. I do not carry minimums on sublimation orders and typically charge $15 and up for front/back prints.

With screen printing, we require a 20 shirt minimum. MOST of the time we don't ever have to print anything over two colors because again, we work with other business owners who need attire for their employees and they end up ruining them eventually. BUT... there are times where we still have customers who come in and are wanting a handful of shirts, 50/50 or 100% cottons, dark colored shirts with a busy busy design. That immediately rules out screen printing and sublimation. I print a lot of digital HTV with our wide format, but again, depending on the design they have sometimes it is an issue because we can't add a white contour cut around the art work or it is a design image that cannot be contoured. Ex: a distressed American flag on a black shirt.

So that brings me here and the reason why I started this thread. I am interested in adding a DTG printer to our shop, especially because there's not but maybe one or two people in our area doing so. I have a strong background running my print business, I have a large customer base and I understand every aspect of the design process. I mainly use Adobe Illustrator and work with customers on custom logos as well.

I do NOT have experience with a DTG printer, BUT I do understand that they require maintenance and care. I have owned an Epson sure color ECO solvent printer and know that they need to be printed on almost daily.

So... I have a comfortable budget up to $15,000 or so that I am willing to invest. The two models that I have done some research and found second-hand are the Epson 2100 and the Brother 422 GTX.

The Epson 2100s range from $8k-12K machine only and a couple of listings that come as a bundle with a pre treat machine, inks, chemicals etc. I have found some Brother GTX's from $9,000-$15,000 second-hand as well.

I am quite confident that I will stay pretty busy with the DTG machine, especially since I have customers who walk in and are wanting a handful of shirts. Its just a matter of choosing out of both machines and receiving some personal experience feedback from the existing printers here on the site.

I appreciate everyones time and looking forward to hearing your feedback!
 

Craig Keller

New Member
At the Pittsburgh show in the class the shirts printed and looked great. Then I sent them my logo from vector it looked nothing like ones in the sales pitch class
 

hybriddesign

owner Hybrid Design
Hi, the dtg will open up a lot of printing options but be aware that it will be the most complicated part of your print offerings. The epson and brother are both refined machines but will still have issues and pretreatment + printing + drying is really slow even compared to dye sub. There will still be shirts that are hard to print on but it will be at least slightly better then explaining dye sub. I’ve been in the same boat and the first dtg we purchased, an Omniprint, was great but it was just too slow for us. If it’s just you operating it and you’re charging at least $5-8 or more per imprint and printing close to every day you’ll be ok but I think that are least half the people who jump into dtg regret it. Far more than any of the other things you’re doing. I would suggest you find someone to send jobs to for a month or so and make sure you’re happy with how the shirts look and then buy a machine after that. We sold our dtg at a big loss and on

We recently bought a kornit system and like it but that’s in a different league.
 

Nazrat rahimi

New Member
Dtg sounds so good but yes but
U got to charge around $20 per shirt
Colored shirts needs to be pretreated
Ink cost on f2100 is $220@
Pretreated shirts are available
Colors will not be like screen printing
U need different platen for diffrent shirt sizes
 

Stacey K

I like making signs
I recommend you look into a IColor printer. I purchased one and I use it for smaller orders. I also have a spirit shop for the schools and it is SUPER helpful for smaller orders. I had been buying transfers but now I just print on the IColor. I especially like it for when sports teams need quick tshirts and hoodies for "going to state" or things like that. A few weeks ago we had 2 girls to go state for tennis. A parent came in looking to get a couple tshirts so I quick made up a full color design, popped it on FB and my website. I expected to sell maybe a couple shirts but ended up in $600 in sales. I was able to quickly pop everything out within a couple days. The IColor works well on all types of fabric. I typically do my school spirit wear on Gildan 2000/18500 or on Sport Tek poly tshirts.
 

WhiskeyDreamer

Professional Snow Ninja
i had a dtg years ago. in fact, it might still be in our back storage area somewhere. as a company that is mainly B2B as well, the dtg just didn't work for us. the quality is subpar compared to screen printing. the maintenance was ridiculous. we were wasting more ink doing the daily maintenance, for the couple of shirts here and there that people wanted. you need a area where you can spray if you're going to pretreat yourself. not sure if you can now, but the machine i had would not print on polyester. getting it to work on 50/50 was a hit or a miss depending on the coverage of ink.

printing white or ash colored shirts, worked great. anything else was a crap chute.

my suggestion, if you don't get many of those types of orders, find someone to sub the work out to and save yourself the headache.
 

Stacey K

I like making signs
The white toner printers can sit for long periods of time and there's no issue with the toner or heads drying up or getting clogged. Like WhiskeyDreamer was saying about the DTG ink. It's a very good point!
 
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