If you plan to run a commercial garment printing business at home, you must first invest in the best garment equipment to produce 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 encountered DTG. This printing device allows companies to develop the best quality printed t-shirts in bulk and 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 DIS unveiled its best garment printing equipment, the Revolution. At the time of the 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. There was no denying the garment printers’ ability to produce higher-quality/ resolution images compared to all the existing fabric printing methods in very few years.
DTG or Garment Printers, also called DTG printing, refers to the process of printing 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, which prints in full color on fabric.
For the prints to be transferred to the fabric, the garment 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.
Once the garment is printed or the image is printed on the t-shirt directly, the ink will be absorbed into/ through the fibers before the ink is sealed with heat.
This means that DTG printing takes place directly on your printer, and there is 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 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 options, all easily customized, and 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. 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, mainly because you can work with single or multiple unique prints.
It would help if you didn’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 high-quality artwork prints on garments.
DTG uses modified inkjet technology and a giant inkjet printer to create the best graphics on fabric. DTG printers can 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 becomes part of the t-shirt.
So, you are looking for a sophisticated option for adding artwork to garments, superior to the glorified stickers in some garments. DTG printing is high-quality graphics that don’t risk 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 fabric surface. The printer comes with a different under-base, and the white under-base allows for printing black t-shirts.
However, printing dark-colored t-shirts (or garments) will call for a unique 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 dark-colored garments. The pre-treat allows bonding the white under-base ink and the dark garments’ fabric fibers. The pre-treat is necessary; if this process is skipped, the ink will not stick to the dark-colored garment.
For the printing to work well on dark garments, the pre-treat is sprayed on the fabric, 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 garment. The visible pre-treat traces will often come out after that first wash. Working with a decorator is important to ensure quality prints and 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
Suppose you plan to invest in a DTG printer for commercial business use. In that case, you need to understand the printing process and how the printer works. You also need to figure out how to come up with and how develop and reproduce the best quality DTG artwork.
For starters, you will need the best high-resolution files and vector graphics for the best DTG printing. The good news is that this printer allows you to send your art to the printer as you would with your embroidery equipment software or screen prints.
Raster images 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.
Unlike the screenprinting process, color matching or Pantone is impossible for DTG printing. 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, 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 single setups, you want to ensure that you always know the appropriate setups required to meet a specific number of client orders.
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 ensure that you have the smoothest fabric for the best-quality prints. You could also opt for 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. This means 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 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 best garments 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 make good business sense.
You might have endless ideas popping into 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, 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 industry, you must 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. 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 include 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, selling off the designs on the shelf and come up with gift items).
The other niches you could focus on include music, hobbies, fishing, charity events, etc. Note that event marketing offers great potential, as these events always involve branded t-shirts for marketing purposes. Trade shows and shows also offer great market options you could focus on.
Wholesale DTG Printing Business
In the DTG printing world, Wholesale refers to a business setup that allows selling custom business t-shirts or even custom apparel shops. Since the DTG printers are ideal for small and large orders, you could easily approach a local screen printing company to subcontract their small jobs. Doing this saves you on advertising, and the local screen-printing company will be able to quickly 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 ink, against the selling prices of the printed t-shirt, which could be up to 4 times higher than the production cost.
Top 10 Best Garment Printers 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.
1. RICOH Ri 1000 ($8,450.00)
RICOH Ri 1000 is a high-performance DTG printer with an impressive fabric print speed and the best print resolution of up to 1200×12000 dpi.
It offers support for white ink, and the 7-inch touchscreen panel is designed to ensure easy use and control. It is versatile and uses the variable Ricoh drop-size inkjet technology and the CMYK and 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 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 what you need.
Thanks to the newly designed industrial white printhead, it boasts one of the highest-speed print modes. 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 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 has a low wait time.
3. EPSON F2100 ($10,797.00)
This Epson DTG printer is a SureColor DTG printer and 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, allowing 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, culminating in 10+ years of R&D in garment printing development.
The DTG M2 features bespoke firmware to create 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. This printer boasts the highest 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 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 versatility and the capacity to print up to A2 (or bigger) image sizes; it is compatible with eight plates in different sizes.
It is also more than your standard t-shirt printer, allowing you to enjoy a high level of creativity for printing different kinds of garments. It also boasts one of the most reliable performance levels thanks to the eight 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 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 allows for the best-customized designs. It is eco-friendly, and the intuitive software allows for the easiest handling.
They were 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 is ideal for printing in the mid and small digital t-shirt printing business, along with retail and online shops.
It offers a maximum resolution of up to 1200 dpi; it has six print heads and 4-color ink channels. It’s versatile, easy to use, and promises a high-reliability level.
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 is the future of DTG printing.
It is designed to offer the highest efficiency and productivity, thanks to features like the automatic garment thickness adjustment function, 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 when 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 garment (DTG) printing with its space-saving design.
With RICOH Ri 100, you can safely and efficiently create beautifully printed products. 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. Remember that the best DTG printer offers high-quality prints in the correct sizes.
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