If you plan to run a commercial garment printing business, you will need to first invest in the best garment equipment capable of producing fresh, and the highest quality printed garments in minutes.
If you are researching and looking for some of the best embroidery and garment printing techniques to set up and run one of the most successful t-shirts printing businesses, you might have across something called DTG. This is the printing device that makes it possible for companies to develop the best quality printed t-shirts in bulk, and with the greatest efficiency. But what is this printing technique or equipment all about?
What Exactly Is DTG Printing?
Developed to effortlessly print as many as 200 high-quality and durable t-shirt or apparel prints in minutes (say an hour or less), especially if you incorporate the latest, most cutting-edge technologies, DTG is, without doubt, the best kind of garment printing technology you’d like to get a piece of.
DTG printing first came to light when the Florida-based company called DIS unveiled its garment printing equipment called the Revolution. At the time of Revolution’s introduction into the market, the only printing options or techniques available for commercial use or mass production included sublimation, heat transfers, and screenprinting. This new entrant flipped things in the industry by making possible image transfers to garments without using transfer papers or silkscreens. In an instant, the garments printing industry underwent a revolution. In very few years, there was no denying the DTG printers’ ability to produce higher-quality/ resolution images compared to all the existing fabric printing methods.
DTG or Direct to Garment printing, also called DTG printing, refers to the process that allows printing of images directly onto t-shirts and all other kinds of fabrics/ garments. This printing technique is made possible by the use of special ink. The printer is much like the inkjet printer, and it prints in full color on fabric.
For the prints to be transferred to the fabric, the garment to be printed is placed directly under the printing press, and then the printer starts printing. The setup for printing is unique and set up to prevent distortions, meaning that this printing process is superior to other printing techniques used for printing fabric. Now, once the garment is printed or once the image is printed on the t-shirt directly, the ink will be absorbed into/ through the fibers before the ink is sealed in with heat. This means that DTG printing takes place directly on your printer, and there is absolutely no hand contact. The printing process is entirely digital, which means that the printing processes allow for the highest image precision level. You can look forward to a higher level of precision, higher than what you’d get from screen printing.
In other words, Direct-to-Garment printing is a full-color ink printer that offers a wide range of full-color options, all easily customized, and it allows for prints on demand. So, if you are looking for a business that offers low setup costs compared to embroidery or screen printing, both of which call for bigger budgets and more time, DTG printing might be the best option for you. This printing process allows for high-quality and the best full-color printing designs, and you can make some of the smallest prints, along with one-off prints for single items. Thanks to this printing technique’s versatility, you can easily run a profitable business, especially because you can work with single or multiple unique prints.
Note that you shouldn’t confuse DTG printing with the older iron-on style of fabric printing. DTG printing is relatively new, more efficient, and allows you to enjoy incredibly high-quality artwork prints on garments.
DTG makes use of modified inkjet technology and a giant inkjet printer, working together to create the best graphics on fabric. DTG printers boast a large capacity to print at least 16 million colors directly onto t-shirts in only one pass. You’ll be happy to know that besides the high-speed printing, the printing ink used is safe, and it dries up rather quickly – the ink soaks up into the garment, and it becomes part of the t-shirt. So, you are looking for a sophisticated option for adding artwork to garments, superior to the glorified stickers seen in some garments. The result of DTG printing is high-quality graphics works that don’t pose a risk of peeling, cracking, or washing away.
How does DTG Printing Work?
Digital printing on different fabrics works more or less like the color inkjet printer you could have in your home or office. This printer uses the CMYK inks used in printers – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The inks are sprayed on a flattened out fabric surface. The printer comes with different under bases, and the white under base, for example, allows for the printing of black t-shirts.
Printing the dark-colored t-shirts (or garments) will, however, call for a special printing process, which is more like an extra step in the fabric printing process, the pre-treat process.
What is pre-treat? Why Is It Important in T-Shirt Printing?
Pre-treat refers to a specific non-toxic primer used in the digital printing process for the dark-colored garment. The pre-treat allows for the bonding of the white under base ink, the dark garments’ fabric fibers. The pre-treat is a crucial process, and if this process is skipped, the ink will not stick to the dark-colored garment.
For the printing to work well on the dark garments, the pre-treat is sprayed on the fabric, which is then heat-pressed, creating a smoother printing surface. Once the pre-treat is applied, the pre-treat chemical traces will be visible around the printed image on the final printed garment. Often, the visible traces of the pre-treat will come out after that first wash. It’s important to work with a decorator to ensure quality prints and to reduce fading.
Note that for fabrics made of cotton or bamboo, the fibers will stick up and away from the garment, and the pressing process results in the flattening of these fibers, hence a more effective printing process.
Best DTG Artwork
If you are planning to invest in a DTG printer for commercial business use, you not only need to understand the printing process and how the printer works, you also need to figure out how to come up with and how to reproduce the best quality DTG artwork.
For starters, you will need the best high-resolution files, as well as the vector graphics for the best DTG printing. The good news is that this printer allows you to send your art to the printer in the same way you would with your embroidery equipment software or the screen prints.
For raster images, they should be recreated at a minimum range of 150dpi to 300dpi. And if you choose to use the linked files or embed the artwork in your respective documents, you will need to convert all your fonts into outlines.
Note that unlike the screenprinting process, color matching or Pantone is impossible for DTG printing. Essentially, you cannot make color tweaks or other minor adjustments when working with DTG.
Sizing DTG Artwork
Since most of your printing orders will include different garment sizes, including unisex, youth, and ladies’ t-shirts in the widest color range, it means that the prints that look perfect for the youth-size tees might be too small for adult-size tees. And since your volume pricing will be based on your singe setups, you want to make sure that you always know the appropriate number of setups required for you to meet a specific number of client orders.
That said, let’s look at fabrics – which apparel fabrics are ideal for DTG, and which ones wouldn’t work?
Best Fabrics for DTG Printing
Essentially, the best garment fabrics for DTG are 100% cotton. You also need to make sure that you have the smoothest fabric for the best-quality prints. You could also opt for the fabrics made of ringspun cotton because they yield better prints than regular cotton fabrics. The use of cotton is ideal because the DTG inks are all water-based. What this means is that fabrics made of polyester wouldn’t be the best option for DTG printing. Polyester is pretty much plastic, it doesn’t absorb water, and the ink will not work on polyester garments. You also need to avoid the weatherproof and stain-resistant fabrics. However, the fabrics made of ringspun cotton and airlume would be a good option because they contain only 1% polyester.
Some of the garments that you must avoid on your DTG orders include aprons and other restaurant uniforms, heather colors, cotton in light pink, light blue, neon, or green, polyester,
raincoats and weatherproof garments, as well as fleece tops or bottoms.
How to earn money by starting a DTG Printing business?
While running a garment printing business using a DTG printer offers the best way for you to run a profitable commercial printing venture, it calls for a great deal of creativity. That is on top of the desire to make a lot of money and good business sense.
The truth is that you might have endless ideas popping off your mind, and you could have the capacity to create the most beautiful, high-impact graphic tees. You could also have a ready market, with a good number of connections you can start and run your business off with, but at the end of the day, there are things that you must do to be able to start and run a successful DTG printing business. To make money off the business, you need to recognize the power of the following elemental factors.
First, you need to establish and understand the DTG printing market. Identify the niches and markets to target. In as much as this industry has potential markets in pretty much all industries, you must be able to identify one market that you can target effectively.
Retail DTG printing business
Some of the markets you could tap into including the retail DTG printing business (This niche offers a large market that you could take advantage of, but you also need to make sure that you are responding to your custom design requests, sell off the designs on the shelf, and come up with gift items).
The other niches you could focus on include music, hobby niches, fishing, charity events, etc. Note that events marketing offers great potential, as these events always involve branded t-shirts for marketing purposes. Trade shows and shows also offer the great market options you could focus on.
Wholesale DTG Printing Business
Wholesale in the DTG printing world refers to a business setup that allows for the sale of custom business t-shirts or even the custom apparel shops. Since the DTG printers are ideal for both small and large orders, you could easily approach a local screen printing company to subcontract their small jobs to you. Doing this saves you on advertising, and the local screen-printing company will be able to easily satisfy all their customer needs. There’s one catch in the wholesale DTG Printer approach – the profits are lower.
Overall, retail DTG printing promises more profits, especially with the low cost of plain t-shirts and the ink, against the selling prices of the printed t-shirt, which could be up to 4 times higher than the production cost.
Top 10 DTG printers to help you choose the best suited for your Commercial Garment Printing Businesses.
To enjoy the DTG business’s benefits, there is a lot that you could do, but the most important step you need to take is to invest in one of the best DTG printers. If you are unsure where to start, here are some of the best commercial garment printing businesses for you.
1. RICOH Ri 1000 ($8,450.00)
RICOH Ri 1000 is a high-performance DTG printer that boasts an impressive fabric print speed and the best print resolution of up to 1200x12000dpi.
It offers support for white ink, and the 7-inch touchscreen panel is designed to ensure easy use and controls. It is versatile, and it uses the variable Ricoh drop-size inkjet technology and the CMYK and the white pigment inks.
These features ensure high-quality print resolution graphics on both light and dark-colored fabrics. It works well on cotton and some polyester fabrics, and it can be used for t-shirts, tote bags, etc.
2. Brother GTX PRO ($14,293.00)
If you are looking for the best industrial-quality DTG printer for commercial printing, this Brother GTX PRO might be exactly what you need.
It boasts one of the highest-speed print modes thanks to the newly designed industrial white printhead. This print head comes with many more nozzles than the previous Brother DTG printers.
It also boasts the best-optimized maintenance level, which isn’t time-consuming, meaning that you get to enjoy the best level of productivity. It’s also eco-friendly, and the additional height sensor will control the platen’s height, avoiding ink mist. It also low wait time.
3. EPSON F2100 ($10,797.00)
This Epson DTG printer is a SureColor DTG printer, and it is one of the most reliable high-performance DTG printers.
It promises the best quality prints and the highest production speeds. This printer has been developed with the best-performance imaging features, and it allows you to take commercial garment printing to the next level.
Epson F2100 has a quick-load platen, one of the most robust garment Creator software solutions for the best printing performance, and the least downtime.
4. DTG M2 ($14,700.0)
For an industrial-class DTG printer, you might want to invest in this DTG M2, which is a culmination of 10+ years of R&D in the garment printing development.
The DTG M2 features bespoke firmware for the creation of premium-quality prints at the highest speeds possible. It also features one of the best ink droplet control technologies and accurate garment placement.
It’s powerful and ideal for garment printing for t-shirts, mouse mats, hoodies, tea towels, cloth panels, bags, jeans, etc. Essentially, this printer boasts the highest level of flexibility, better engineering, and highest-speed production works. It has a print area measuring 604x450mm and a scalable ink drop size of 46 PCL.
5. Polyprint Texjet Plus Advanced ($6,930.00)
This PolyPrint Texjet Plus Advanced is the previous version of DTG printers offered by Polyprint, but it’s been discontinued.
However, the ones on the market will improve the best print quality, a high ROI, easy maintenance, affordable printing, and a durable printer.
It has one of the best modular software with the white mask creation tool that allows for easy editing and management. It also features a redesigned interface and one of the most powerful RIP engines, hence ultra-high-speed printing.
6. Polyprint Texjet Echo 2 ($10,335.00)
This Polyprint Texjet Echo 2 replaces the advanced Polyprint Texjet Plus. It offers the highest level of versatility, along with the capacity to print up to A2 (or bigger) image sizes; it is compatible with 8 platens in different sizes.
It is also more than your standard t-shirt printer, allowing you to enjoy a high level of creativity for printing in different kinds of garments. It also boasts one of the most reliable performance levels thanks to the 8 ink channels and the 180 nozzles per channel design, which ensures fast printing.
The inks are Dupont-powered, and they use the TexJet software for clear and super-crisp images with a high level of accuracy and very sharp details. It also features the advanced digital & screen mix innovation.
7. Aeoon Kyo DTG Printer ($90,000.00)
Aeoon Kyo DTG printer is designed specifically for industrial use, and it boasts impressive speeds and some of the best pin-sharp designs.
It is upgradeable, offers a massive output of up to 1280 t-shirts/ hour in A4, and it allows for the best-customized designs. It is eco-friendly, and the intuitive software allows for the easiest handling.
Designed for industrial use. The Aeoon Kyo Series is a durable digital DTG printer providing new technology, impressive speed, and pin-sharp designs.
8. Kornit Breeze ($10,492.50)
Regarding the best DTG printer, this Kornit Breeze DTG printer is powerful. It features a compact design, and it’s ideal for printing in mid and small digital t-shirt printing business, along with retail and online shops.
It offers a maximum resolution of up to 1200dpi; it has 6 print heads and 4-color ink channels. It’s versatile, easy to use, and it promises a high level of reliability.
The Breeze provides an ideal DTG solution to new or expanding businesses entering the digital t-shirt and garment print market.
9. Epson F3070 ($37,492.50)
If you are looking for the best-quality industrial direct-to-garment printer for your business, you might like this DTG printer because it pretty much is the future of DTG printing.
It is designed to offer the highest level of efficiency and productivity, thanks to features like the automatic garment thickness adjustment function, its easy maintenance, and the dual 2.6” –PrecisionCore printhead.
These features leave you with one of the most innovative DTG Printers that offer the best productivity level while reducing downtime significantly while ensuring the most cost-effective level of print production.
It also features the first of its kind, bulk ink system integrated into the printer, and you can look forward to full-size prints in moments.
10. RICOH Ri 100 ($3,179.40)
Last on our list is this compact and highly efficient RICOH Ri 100 commercial DTG printer. It is ideal for commercial setups, especially in situations where you have limited space.
This DTG printer is the ideal entry-level commercial garment printing equipment. It is affordable, easy to use, and ensures the best on-demand printing, allowing you only to keep minimum stock on hand. The RICOH Ri 100 invigorates the world of direct to garment (DTG) printing with its space-saving design.
With RICOH Ri 100, you can now create beautifully printed products both safely and easily. An Award-Winning Entry-Level Garment Printer
Direct-to-garment printers are the best web-to-print innovations. The best DTG printers for commercial use are designed to transform your business’ printing processes to ensure that you offer the best-quality printed garments while keeping the production costs low, as you enjoy the best efficiency level. The DTG Printers above are some of the best options for commercial use, and you will be happy to note that they are all designed to meet different needs. Keep in mind that the best DTG printer offers high-quality prints in the right sizes, all the time.