Below is an excerpt from something I have recently written for my blog - I figured I'd post it here for reference.
When working with apparel, the answer is not definitive always as to whether you should screen print or use your versacamm (or cad-printing). A lot of the decisions come down to the number of pieces that you will need to decorate with a logo. The rule of thumb is that if each piece is unique (meaning a different name or number) than the Cad-Print process will be the way to go. However, the ‘other’ size runs will need to utilize both technologies at various thresholds.
Let’s look at a few examples:
This particular team logo consists of 5 colors and for this job I will need it in a 6 x 6” print size.
To complete this job whether 1 piece or 1000 pieces out of Cad-Print the cost is going to remain relatively close. This cost will vary slightly based upon the white printable film type that I need to use, but I can estimate the final cost to come in at 72 cents on the low end material and $1.44 on the absolute high end. So for demonstration purposes I will average the cost to $1.08 per piece. Labor will need added to this.
To screen print this same job I would need to evaluate based in # of colors and quantity produced – not necessarily size. Since we already know it is a 5 color piece of art, I know that I will need to burn 5 screens at about $20 per screen. This incorporates $100 into the cost to start. Depending on the type of ink needed based upon the fabric that I am applying it to; the ink cost will range from pennies to about a dime per design. I will use 5 cents as an average.
So let’s take a look at my cost in materials to produce this at various quantities:
1 Piece: Screen Print $100.05 Cad Print $1.08
10 Pieces: Screen Print $10.00 Cad Print $1.08
20 Pieces: Screen Print $5.00 Cad Print $1.08
50 Pieces: Screen Print $2.00 Cad Print $1.08
75 Pieces: Screen Print $1.33 Cad Print $1.08
100 Pieces: Screen Print $1.00 Cad Print $1.08
Now let’s take a look at how this same principle applies to a two color logo:
This logo is 2 colors and we will want it in the same 6 x 6” size.
Screen Printing = $20 per screen x 2 colors = $40 + $0.05 in ink = $40.05
Cad Print = $1.08 average, based on the above example
1 Piece: Screen Print $40.05 Cad Print $1.08
10 Pieces: Screen Print $4.05 Cad Print $1.08
20 Pieces: Screen Print $2.03 Cad Print $1.08
40 Pieces: Screen Printing $1.01 Cad Print $1.08
50 Pieces: Screen Print $0.80 Cad Print $1.08
Based on the two examples above you can see how design size, number of colors in the design and number of pieces will affect whether or not to use screen printing or cad printing. This is one reason why I believe both are important.