A Digital Printing Network
I have been working with some different print/cut materials for garments over the last few days, trying to become a bit more familiar with their characteristics. After working with our 3 main products for dark colors, I found my favorite for basic t-shirts to be Colorprint II. The reason that I like this particular material is because I found it to be the softest on the garment for the price and pretty much the easiest to work with.
When working with a printer/cutter combo like the Versacamm, you need to be aware of a few things. First, it' a printer/cutter so when you are printing then cutting on the same machine more than likely the ink is going to be wet when the cutting portion happens. For this reason, it is important to use the print profile that was created for each particular material. These print profiles were set up to have the built in dryers that the Versacamm uses dry the ink prior to cutting.
If I didn't use the profile with the proper dryer settings for drying the ink, it would have been like trying to cut a wet tissue with scissors - not very likely. Meaning, the cut lines wouldn't have been clean and accurate, making it difficult to impossible to weed.
Anyways, these print profiles are set up for each material that I used, so it didn't really come into the equation that much, so let me tell you what did.
Feel = While the Solutions was the softest, Colorprint II was pretty darn close. Standard Colorprint was a bit thicker.
Look = Colorprint II gave a matte finish whereas Solutions and Standard Colorprint had more of a gloss.
Price = Colrprint II ended up costing me .0116 cents per square inch. Solutions was .0184 cents per square inch. When I size up my design, which was 4 x 12, here are the final material only costs. Colorprint II = 56 cents Solutions = 88 cents
Application = Now it is important to remember that I am comparing this for t-shirts. Colorprint II was my best choice because it applies to cottong & polyester only, which happens to work in this case. If I were looking for something to go on a nylon jacket or even a bag, I would have chosen the Solutions due to its ability to do these things.
Ease of Masking = My particular design had some free floating text so it had to be masked after it was printed to take it to the shirt. The mask picked up both the Colorprint II and Solutions with no problem. I had a couple issues picking up the Colorprint, like the mask might not have been aggressive enough (I'll have to look into this as it could have been user error).
Cutting, Weeding and Application = While there are differences to each, all of them seemed to be equally as easy in these aspects.
Printable area = The Colorprint II comes in a 30" wide roll so I was able to utilize the full width of the VP300 that I was working with, so this made unattended printing and cutting very efficient.
Thats it for now, as I experiment more and work with this unit at our show booth in Indianapolis, I will have more to report.