Troubleshooting the Most Common DTF Printing Issues with DTF Printer Upkeep Guide

Make your own T-shirt by using DTF Printing Machine

The most typical application of DTF printing, which uses a printer to directly apply (print) ink to fabric without the use of transfer paper, is the creation of custom T-shirts using your own design. While DTF printing provides several benefits, such as better print quality and quicker production times, there are also certain common problems that might affect the final result. Knowing the most common DTF printing problems and their solutions is something MUST do to be professional and benefit the printing business.

List of the Most Common DTF Printing Problems

Whether you are a professional, an expert, or a novice, problems will inevitably arise throughout the DTF printing process. Uneven printing banding, image distortion, and other problems could be present.

According to years of research and data collection, the most typical DTF printing issues are:

Although a problem may arise at any stage of the DTF printing process, being aware of the answer and how to troubleshoot is undoubtedly important. If this information is acquired in advance the problem may be fixed promptly, having the least possible negative effects on the printing business and performance.

Troubleshooting and Solutions to the DTF Printing Problems

Even if the symptoms are listed above, it’s possible that you’re still unclear about what they indicate. To learn what the exact symptoms are, what causes them, and how to fix them, read the parts that follow. Some problems are simple to fix, while others require more details and actions.

DTF Printing Problem: Smudging of Ink

If the ink is not entirely cured or there is too much ink on the fabric, smearing can develop, this is the ink smudging issue.

To troubleshoot this issue, modify the heat and pressure settings to verify that the ink is completely cured. You can also reduce the amount of ink consumed by modifying your printer’s ink settings.

Ink Adhesion Issues in DTF Printing

Poor ink adherence can occur if the ink is unable to adequately enter the fabric.As a result, the ink may flake off the fabric or fade quickly.

To resolve this issue, consider modifying the ink settings to maximize ink penetration. To prepare the fabric for printing, you can also use a pre-treatment solution.

DTF Printing Problem: Inconsistencies in Color

Color discrepancies might occur if ink is not properly blended or the printer is not properly calibrated.

To troubleshoot this issue, carefully mix the ink and change the printer calibration settings to ensure that the colors are consistent.

Bleeding Ink Issue during DTF Printing

Symptom & Reason:
If the ink is not correctly contained within the printed area, it can bleed.This can result in prints that are hazy or distorted.

Ink Bleeding Issue
Ink Bleeding Issue during Direct to Film Printing. Click to See Large Image

This issue can be addressed by modifying the ink settings to limit the amount of ink used. You can also change the printer settings to improve print precision.

Double Printing or Ghosting Issue in DTF Printing

Symptom & Reason:
If the fabric is not properly fixed or the ink is not entirely cured before printing the following layer, ghosting or double printing might occur. As a result, the image may be blurred or duplicated.

DTF Printing Issue - Double Printing or Ghosting - Sample
Double Printing or Ghosting Issue during DTF Printing. Click to See Large Image

To resolve this issue, try using a higher tension fabric clamp or adjusting the printer settings to increase the time between printing layers.

Problems with White Ink

Symptom & Reason:
White ink problems are the most common problem that might occur if the white ink is not properly blended or if the printer is not properly calibrated. As a result, the white ink may seem gray or may not print at all.

To troubleshoot this issue, try properly mixing the white ink and modifying the printer calibration settings.

If you leave the white ink in the printer for an extended period of time, it may create uneven whiteness owing to pigment precipitation, as well as print holes, oblique spray, or even plugging. This will have an impact on the print quality. To avoid this, it is critical to maintaining white ink on a regular basis. Here are some ways to help you deal with this problem.

    • Use premium quality DTF ink.
      The quality of DTF ink is crucial. It not only provides good washing fastness, whiteness white, strong covering power, vibrant colors and high concentration but also contains as less impurity as possible. As a result, choosing the best quality DTF ink is rule number 1.
    • Before filling the DTF ink tank shake the white ink.
      Before you apply the white ink, shake the ink bottle up and down.In general, the stacked ink will mingle equally after 20 times. Because white ink is water-based, if left for more than three months, the number of shakes doubles. If left for more than half a month, the phenomena of stratification begin, therefore shake it before use for a better printing result.
    • One time a day, shake the white cartridge
      Even if you don’t need to print in direct to film (DTF), shake the DTF white cartridge every day before using the DTF printer.
    • Nozzle test everyday.
      Test the printing mesh after opening the white ink circulation device. Print a small design (several times) to confirm that the printhead is functional. If the printing mesh was ineffective, clean the printhead. So, why conduct print tests? DTF printing white ink was cured in the print head nozzle if it did not spew out ink continuously.

DTF Printhead (Nozzle) Clogging Problem

Symptom & Reason:
As the most important part of the DTF printer, the condition of the printhead directly leads to the DTF printing result. The following graphic gives a clear view of the comparison between a printhead in good condition vs. with a clogging issue.

The top 4 reasons causing the nozzle clogging problem are ink drying, ink impurities, maintenance issue, and misusing of the printhead.

DTF printheads clogging
Clogging Printhead vs. Good Printhead, the different printing result.

Printhead clogging issue is inevitable as well. But there are helpful tips to prevent the issue happen frequently and make the printhead longer lifetime and usage. As further explanation is required on this topic, you are encouraged to read the best practice to prevent DTF printhead clogging problems for more learning.

Although the aforementioned issues can arise during the DTF printing process, it is generally recognized that regular DTF printer maintenance is the best strategy to prevent DTF printing faults. The guide that follows presents some of the most beneficial advice for DTF printing novices.

Best Practice for Beginners: DTF Printer Upkeep Guide

Any issue that arises during the DTF printing process has a direct influence on performance and printing efficiency since it might stop the workflow and require maintenance on the DTF printer.

For novices, the following steps should be done to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a DTF printing problem occurring: To prevent or lower the possibility of DTF printing problems happening the following actions shall be taken for beginners:

  • When changing the ink, clean the pipe with pure water or clean with tap water and then clean with pure water again; do not clean the ink immediately with tap water. Pure water conductivity closer to the ink can help to keep the ink stable. The conductivity of tap water is too high, and because it contains a high quantity of salt, the ink easily forms crystals in the nozzle and clogs it.
  • Choose a continuous cycle for the white ink rather than an interval cycle. The Interval cycle makes it simple to reflux ink and print a black line.
  • The ink cartridge socket should be snug. It is simple to introduce air into water-based inks, especially when using straight-through nozzles. Epson 4720 and XP600, for example, are straight-through nozzles.
  • Turn on the flash before printing: other print heads are difficult to dry while printing the selected color.
  • Clean the printhead and ink tubes on a regular basis. It is advised that the ink cartridge be washed and replaced every two months.
  • It is preferable to work in a temperature-controlled setting. The general temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of 60%. Keep an eye out for dust and fog. If you work in a non-constant temperature environment, it is recommended that you moisturize the printhead after dtf printing.
  • Before finishing your dtf printing, print one more time to test the printhead.

Support & Service for DTF Printer, DTF Printing Solutions

If you are using a DTF printer or a DTF printing solution from Sublistar, once any problem occurs, submit a ticket to contact us, we are ready to provide real-time support to resolve the problems for your printing business.

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One comment

  1. wanted to know the solution to printhead congestion problem, luckily got resolved! thanks!

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