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What is wrong with DTG machines?

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Old April 1st, 2009, 04:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
Earl Smith Earl Smith is offline
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Default What is wrong with DTG machines?

Looking at the last dozen or so threads on here, all anybody wants to do is sell off their machine. Whats wrong with them or the business??
Interested to know why.
Earl
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Old April 1st, 2009, 06:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
Eric Eric is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

Well ... to be honest. The technology is VERY new, and DTG machines are coming so far so fast that some models are obsolete before they are even plugged in.

Secondly, they are not perfect, I don't care what anyone says, they still don't do darks like a screen press will.

Finally, they are A LOT of maintenece, they are constantly needing cleaning, changing heads, ink is outrageously expensive. Plus you need to have the volume to run them, the print heads get clogged if they aren't taken care of properly or used to periods of time.

They are still a lot of work. I have a Mimaki, and its a lot of work. I like it, I can justify it, but I probably wouldn't have bought it if I knew the attention it required.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 10:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
Supertprinting.com Supertprinting.com is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

We own a Flexi-jet. They work really well in a daily use environment. Maintenance is about ten minutes per day, but it really has to be done to avoid problems. Perfect for a home business or small shop- no mess like screen printing. Very green in comaprison as well. The inks are waterbased, and very little water or chemicals are used. Almost no cleanup compared to screen printing. Prints can be very durable and for one offs or small orders in a production environment they are also great!

They are not totally trouble free ( what is? ) but I would recommend direct to garment printers if they are to be used daily and maintained daily.

A lot of people bought them thinking they could use them once or twice a month and ignore them- can't be done without clogging. Without daily maintenance people get frustrated. Many of the machines available reflect that.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 04:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
Earl Smith Earl Smith is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

Interesting comments. Thanks.
I think, as you both say, people do no realise that the inks will seperate and the machine needs looking after. I worked with screen printing for many years and had to give it up because the cleaning chemicals started to give me health problems. Every day we had to clean and tidy up the machines and screens. The screens in screen printing are the "Printing heads" just like the print heads in DTG.
A DTG printer is not a printer like one that is used for Sublimation or "normal" inks in the office. I think that is what misleads people into thinking it is so easy to keep.
I asked the question because so many post on here are for selling machines. Are the machines rubbish or is it that people have had so easy credit and bought something without giving it much thought.
There is a new machine just on the market from Austrailia. Called the Viper http://www.dtgdigital.com/ Maybe with their new ink circulating system for the white ink it will solve some of the problems.
Thanks for the comments
Earl
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
Supertprinting.com Supertprinting.com is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

I have talked to so many direct to garment printer owners who bought the printer with a dream to start a clothing line. The printer was easy to purchase. They found it harder to get it advertised and get orders than they anticipated. Because of that the printer sat long weeks unattended. Those are the ones for sale with only 100 prints, etc.

The other class of printers for sale are those which were placed in production shops. The economy has affected some. but others have upgraded to the $120,000 Kornit. Those are much fewer on the market. That is not to say they have had no frustrations, but they also find the printers to generate decent profit.

The Viper may have something there, but the CMYK inks do not need to circulate. They still need the maintenance. The white ink- even with circulation needs to be printed with every day. There is a low tech solution. Daily shaking of the white ink- in the cartridges, bottles, and wiggling of the ink lines in the printer is very effective with the current generation of white ink to keep it from settling.

For someone who has a good business plan, or already has business to support it, these printers are great. And they do not require the handling of harsh chemicals.
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Last edited by Supertprinting.com; April 3rd, 2009 at 09:58 AM. Reason: clarify
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 06:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
Eric Eric is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

Ok ... perhaps I mis-spoke a few things.

Let me put it another way. They are no where near as "Maintenance free" as your sales rep will lead you to believe. lol.

I own a mimaki, I like it. Another thing I have heard is if you notice all the ones for sale around here are the "cheaper" dtg's. The little ones shops have outgrown, OR the ones that people just never really used. I'm just saying, DTG's have their perks, but I'd be careful staking your business on one.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 07:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
Supertprinting.com Supertprinting.com is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

You are right Eric. You made a lot of good points.

I have heard sales people at shows make the craziest untrue promises. "Just click print, nothing else to know" "Absolutely no maintenance." "The great white ink solution- completely trouble free" "It will pay for itself in a couple months" Ugh! do the math!

Garment printers need to be approached armed with knowledge. They are a piece of equipment which needs regular attention to be profitable. But they are not "the answer" they are proclaimed to be , especially for hobby businesses which do not print daily.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 01:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
Syderoonys Syderoonys is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

I have a Brother GT541 that I've listed for sale. It requires only a little cleaning periodically and the ink is in a cartridge so it's not even messy. Mine is for sale due to family issues. I have accepted another job at a school so my daughter can attend it, and simply don't have time to commit to my business. I still have the printer payment and that's why I need to sell it.

This Brother doesn't offer white ink. But, the water based inks give an absolutely beautiful print that's soft to the touch. I've had a couple of tshirts printed by other DTG methods and the ink was so heavy it felt like the shirt was puckery. The customers I've had are happy enough to work around the lack of white ink issue. There is a new Brother that offers white...but I think it requires pretreatment of the shirt with some sort of solution. The reason I like the GT541 so much is that it seems "more green than screen" printing.

If I don't sell it, I won't be broken hearted. I love it! I'll just work the daylights out of it this summer and sell premade items in an online store and at some college fairs this fall.

If you're looking to get into printing, I'd encourage you to look at a DTG. I recently printed a photo on a shirt for a customer. They look SO much nicer than transfers. My cost for the shirt was $18. She thought it was $30ish. My prices may go up soon
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Old April 5th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
Eric Eric is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

My mimaki is very nice. My only gripe about it I wish it had a bigger platten to do larger things. It is DEFINITELY not click and print. More like click, vector, click, rip, click print. lol But anyway. They are nice machines. I actually use mine to print fabric that I use for applique in my embroidery. I hardly offer and DTG services. Mine is used for in house production.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
Earl Smith Earl Smith is offline
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Default Re: What is wrong with DTG machines?

If I buy a machine it MUST be able to print white. I recon about 95% of my tīs sales are black.
I have sent 2 emails to Mimaki in Europe and so far I havent had an answer. (2weeks and waiting). Which printer do you have Eric? I dont know if they are for sale yet over here. They also have a strange system for printing white. How do you rate that?
Earl
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