Direct to film printng clothes
One of the most recent printing technologies for apparel decoration is the use of direct to film printers. DTF (direct to film) is a popular buzzword in the garment decorating industry right now. Full color transfers and printing are evolving.
So should interior designers go out and buy a direct to film printer just yet?
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the amazing potential of DTF prints while also discussing some issues of the equipment and the full DTF process that no one else will discuss before you buy a printer.
Should You Buy a Direct to Film Printer?
As previously said, direct to film printers are an excellent technique to adorn clothes with full color printing.
They work on a wide range of textiles and colors, giving you more possibilities than direct to garment (DTG) printing, which is limited to cotton, or sublimation, which is limited to polyester or poly dominant blends. These transfers have no obvious outlines and a lightweight soft-hand feel to the touch.
They may produce brilliant colors, as well as remarkable durability and opacity.
All of this, however, is dependent on the equipment utilized and your level of skill with it.
Running a direct to film printer is not as simple as plugging it in and going.
Transfer Express spent almost a year creating our Sublistar DTF transfers before making them available to our customers. And this is with a devoted and skilled crew who has worked with printers, inks, carriers, and software.
When direct to garment printers were commercially available about a decade ago, there was a massive rush to obtain the necessary equipment and supplies. Yet, it did not pay out in the long run for many small enterprises.
We wanted to convey some of the problems and lessons we’ve learned from dealing with direct to film printers now that we’ve had a lot of experience with them. We hope it helps you make an informed decision and saves you a lot of trouble down the road.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important factors to consider when considering DTF printers and printing your own transfers.
Printing Environment for DTF
The first item we’d like to discuss for DTF printers is your workspace settings.
The environment and climate of the space where your printer and curing unit will reside will make a significant difference in the quality of DTF prints.
We’re talking about both the temperature and the humidity. You will encounter print quality difficulties such as banding if you do not use a properly controlled environment. Banding resembles an old inkjet printer that you used to have at home when it ran out of ink. You have a lot of lines in your artwork, and it doesn’t look professional.
When that happens, it’s most likely due to ink drying and clogging in the unit’s print heads, which will require time spent troubleshooting and cleaning, as well as probable replacement parts.
When you’re just trying to print t-shirts, that’s no fun.
Not only will you require a climate-controlled environment, but you will also require a robust ventilation system. Using these printers, you will introduce health risks into your workspace.
Curing adhesives can emit dangerous chemicals, so if you already have a large shop with good ventilation, this may not be a big deal.
But, for tiny home-based enterprises or t-shirt manufacturers, such as those operating out of a garage, this could result in costly and noisy vent systems to keep the hazards to a minimal, not to mention exposing people to this stuff.
For your health’s sake, even modest desktop devices may necessitate sufficient ventilation or personal protective equipment. It’s something to keep in mind at all times.
Maintenance of DTF Printers
While considering the purchase of a DTF unit, it is critical to consider maintenance, operating expenses, and time.
Because direct to film is so new, the oldest and most dependable devices are only 18 months old. That’s not a lot of time to devote to real-world testing for a machine that could take years to pay off for you and your company.
With new technology comes a deluge of low-quality print heads, circuit boards, and unstable parts, particularly in this post-Covid supply chain.
Downtime is associated with maintenance. That’s something you’ll have to take into account. It means you won’t be able to make t-shirts while you work on the machine or wait for replacement parts to arrive.
You’ll then have to scramble for those last-minute orders and fulfill them, which generally entails outsourcing.
You’ll need adhesives, DTF inks, and a film carrier to print DTF transfers.
They are not all the same, so do your study to determine which ones work best for you and provide the quality you want to provide for your consumers.
It will also change your transfer application ability depending on the different materials – there is hot peel DTF and cold peel DTF. There are also high and low temperature adhesives.
All of these factors will influence what you can do with your DTF transfers. Without the lower temperature application, you may find that, while it can print on polyester, cotton, and everything in between, you are limited to only cotton outfits to avoid burning the textiles.
Aside from discovering the greatest raw materials that work for you, be wary of irregularities in the raw materials you’re acquiring. There have been bad batches of adhesives, films, and even inks. This might result in a costly loss of not just time, but also money if you are unable to return the merchandise.