Can someone utilizing or that has tested both of these technologies compare results on dark colored garments? Washability, Feel, etc.

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We have been doing DTG printing for a couple of years now and have just recently bought a VP540i. We have just started to experiment with different heat transfer materials. Currently we are using Roland ESM-HTM2 for cotton and poly blend shirts. We have tried only one spandex/lycra garment using Solutions Opaque.

First let me say the two systems are worlds apart. The DTG is versatile with the fact we can send almost any vector or raster image and print it much like printing on paper. Our system uses white ink which means we can print dark shirts. The "hand" or softness of the printed shirt is almost non-existent in texture. Before we converted our DTG with the new ink recirculating system, we had nothing but problems. We went thru 7 or 8 print heads in just over a year. Not cheap by any means. With the new system in place we have had much better results. Still, the time involved doing a dark shirt can add up. You have to press the shirt to take out wrinkles then treat the dark shirts first, heat set it then print it, then heat set it again. Time is money and your profit margin goes down with each step. With white or very light colored shirts you can take out the pre-treatment stage. Still the finished garment has a wonderful feel and it breathes. The major issue we have is washing fade. Even though we send instructions we have some say the image fades or cracks after just a couple of washings. Then some shirts look almost as good today as they did when they were sold. Of course you still have the initial color fade that is inherent with this technology. It is just not as vibrant after heat setting and the first wash or two.

Now on to the heat transfers. So far the Roland material seems to be doing well. We have only washed some sample shirts a few times but so far no problems and no fade. The feel is heavier but no objectionable. It does not breathe as the DTG but with the crisp vibrant colors I can't complain. With the Opaque transfers we have tried it twice. Once on a cotton shirt, not great results. The image tried to peel off even though the instructions said it could be used for cotton shirts. I'm sure with some playing around with heat times or pressure it may work. With the Lycra/Spandex garment it worked great. The feel was almost as good as the DTG with a very soft hand. And stretchable without cracking.

We are trying more of the heat transfers with real customers and can't wait for feedback. I know there are many other types of heat transfer materials out there and we will try them as we can. I hope this is the type of information you were looking for.

Ken,

I was looking for discussions regarding heat transfers as we have been using them for larger quantity orders. I am finding after just a year of wear/wash the transfers are cracking. I am wondering if you ever received feedback from customers as you were looking for in your post from last May. I am wondering if some Transfer companies are better than others, etc. Any information about that would be great. Thanks!

Heather,

 

We do our own transfers using either HTM2 from Roland or Quick Print from Imprintables Warehouse.  When we first got our 540 and the HTM2 material I did a couple of shirts for myself to see how they would hold up.  The shirts have fairly heavy ink coverage.  I have worn them every weekend for at least a year and just now I am seeing cracking in the image.  I have not tried the Quick Print for personal testing just yet.  So far the only complaints we've had are from customers that obviously washed them incorrectly or used a high heat dryer.  The Quick Print weeds much easier than the HTM2 but costs more.  I'm not sure if this helps you but if I can give you any more info please let me know.

Have you tried heat transfers from Transfer Express? I guess many of those are screen printed images put on a transfer paper and heat pressed. I have used them as well as another company but wondered if anyone has had feedback about cracking with those types of transfers.
We have not used any other companies yet since we can do our own.  Maybe someone else here can give you some help.
Heather, we've been using plastisol transfers since the early 90's, about 20 years with very few issues
While all printing houses aren't created equal, none of the transfers from any of the BIG places should be cracking on you.
Are you sure that you're pressing them properly?
Are you sure your using the correct transfer for the substrate?
Lots of variables go into the printing as well as the pressing of plastisol



Diane
Diane

Diane,

Thanks for the information. I have been using plastisol transfers for only around 3 years so any issues are starting to arise now after the shirts have been worn and washed. I put some on just 6-8 months ago and the customer is complaining about cracking. When you say BIG places I am assuming the place where I purchase is BIG since they advertise in many publications and seem very similar to Transfer Express really. I can't have this issue though because customers are not going to come back. I am going to get a shirt that is cracking and post a picture for you to see. I press as the directions suggest and tell the company what type of garment the transfer is being applied to but I'm not sure what is happening. I am glad to hear you have had very few problems so there is hope that plastisol transfers work ok.

Ken,

I am surprised you do all your own. I can't be even close in price on large applications (full chest 12 x 12) If I am doing over say 30 shirts I will bring them in because I can't compare with price. You don't have customers complaining about price? I can't seem to compete in price to screen printers right now in my area.

We can't compete with screen printers either.  Our work is mostly one offs or a few to a dozen shirts and they are all custom designed.  And most of our work is full color too and not just a single color.  We are in a rural area so we haven't tapped into the large orders just yet.  If we do get some large orders we may outsource to a screen printer of if it gets really busy we may consider bringing screen printing in house.
Ok that all makes sense.

We have been doing DTG printing on our 2 FlexiJet machines for over 10 years. We have the 3rd FlexiJet ever made in production. Have had some minor issues with it over the years and tune ups as expected. We use white ink on dark shirts. Reasonably mixed results as Ken mentions. Sinc we have received our VS-540 2 months ago we have all but stopped using our DTG for dark shirts. We are fairly rural and we run 300 to 400 tee shirts a week on average between our DTG and VS-540. All machine stay pretty busy. We are blessed in that there is very little competition in our area with typical paddle board screen printers. We push our sales by not having screen burn fees, per color fees and waste fees. So far we love our VS-540 and between banners, tees, polictical yard signs, decals we are able to keep it busy. Our profits are creeping up as we learn the nitch for pricing for the VS machine. Once people see that the quality of orint is there they are willing to pay a little more (in general) for a product as long as it looks like they invision it. We have used strickly ECO Print from imprintables warehouse so far for textiles and have had but a few problems (one customer said it peeled off) I think his issue was dryer temperatures. We politely re-produced his 6 shirts and explained the dryer rules on the shirts and he has reordered 3 times since and is a very happy customer. Redoing those shirts for him and taking time to explain the dryer process made him a very permanante customer. 6 shirts on the redo was money well spent.

Our DTG machine are staying busy in the white shirt area now that we have our Roalnd VS-540. We see a great future with this machine in our business.

 

Many thanks to Steven Jackson for giving us a world of information when we went to Clifton Park, NY for his 2 day class on hands on information. If you ever get to meet this guy he is a GEM of DIAMOND quality.

 

Best of luck to all and  a big Thanks for all with information shared on this forum

Great to hear James, continue success!

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