The 4 advantages of DTF printer

Ultimate Guide to Choose Best T-shirt Printer [2024 Updated]

DTF Printer belongs to one kind of digital clothing printing machines, and one of its well-known applications is T-shirt Printing. The clothing printing market and demand is still growing strongly now and the main production method in this market is DTF printing, which is completed by DTF printer. Choosing the right DTF printer is the direct factor to promote the printing business success as well as the most important part of investing printing business and running a clothing printing shop. 

In 2024, DTF printer and DTF printing will be more eco-friendly and will satisfy the increasing personalized customization apparel printing market, taken the new trends of DTF printer and DTF printing into account will bring your printing business a more profitable one and get more customers.

The DTF printer’s configuration and specs vary a lot. To help you choose the DTF printer that is best suitable for your printing business, the following is presented:

The Definition: What is DTF printer?

DTF (Direct to Film) Printer is the origin of DTF. The design pattern is printed directly onto PET film and then hot melt powder is sprinkled evenly onto the pattern. After high melting and drying, PET film is cut finally and the pattern is pressed and attached onto different kinds of clothing by the heat press machine and thus the whole clothing printing process is completed. Why do we focus on this clothing printing method?

Because this printing method has continuously occupied share of clothing and T shirt printing market since 2021 and has become one of the major popular printing methods. According to the search provided by Google Trends, the search of DTF printer has always been on the rise since 2021. The main reason of DTF printers’ popularity is its unique advantages: convenient printing method, short preparation cycle, fast printing speed, high efficiency and reliable output quality. Whether it’s mass production requirement in peak season or individual customized requirement in low season, DTF printers can handle it easily.

Advantages of DTF Printer

Efficient Printing, Green & Eco-friendly, Durable & Wash-resistant, Wide Range Applications are the 4 most renowned advantages of DTF printer.

The 4 advantages of DTF printer

DTF Printer is More Efficient

Compared with DTG printing, DTF printing does not need spraying pretreatment liquid, avoiding the pretreatment process. Compared with screen printing, DTF printing does not require plate making, film making and many other complex steps. DTF printing only requires completion of design by using the drawing software in the early stage, and then operate the machine correctly according to the technical guidance video to complete the steps of printing, dusting, drying and pressing. (Tip: when choosing the brand of DTF printer, you need to consider whether the manufacturer provides rich video resources to help you understand how to use the DTF printer or solve the problems when using the DTF printer.)

DTF Printing is More Durable

DTF printing has high water and rub resistance. The color fastness can be 4-5 degrees. After printing on a summer T-shirt, it can be worn for two years if washed three times a week.

DTF Prints on Wider Range Fabric Applications

Compared with DTG printing and thermal sublimation printing, DTF printing can not only break through the limitations of the first two printing methods, but also achieve a wide range of applications, such as application in pure cotton, polyester fiber, wool, nylon, lycra, cotton and linen, denim, silk and other fabrics.   (What Fabrics Can DTF Printing Applies To?)

DTF printers are the universal printing machines of the clothing industry. In particular, some DTF printers can be used in some special scenes. For example, some large-format DTF printers can print up to size 47 on various textile materials.

DTF Printing is More Eco-Friendly

Screen printing has been one of the giants of the garment industry printing before the emergence of DTF printing. The emergence of DTF printing undoubtedly provides a multi-choice item for garment printing manufacturers. Screen printing is famous for its mass printing, providing reliable printing speed for peak season supply, but its preparation before printing is very time-consuming, and will produce a lot of waste water and pollution during the preparation process. From the perspective of environmental protection, DTF printing is more superior, because no waste gas or water is produced. All the DTF machines have smokeless purifiers and the waste gas has been consumed inside. Please avoid the overflow of the hot melt dust in the everyday printing.

DTF Printer: What's New in 2024?

The T-shirt printing and DTF printing markets have been in strong growth in the past 5 years and will continue, in 2024, to satisfy quick changing printing market and more customer needs of personalization, DTF printer will:

  • Be more eco-friendly – Development of DTF Powder Shaker
  • Print on larger width – Large Format DTF Printer
  • Save more space – Powder Saker Free DTF Printer
  • Perform more special DTF printing visual effects – DTF Film Innovation
  • Have more diversity in appearance designs of DTF printer – New Design of DTF Printer

To know more about the latest trends in 2024, DTF Printer Market Forecast & Trends in 2024 and DTF Printing in 2024: Top 4 New Trends [Experts Review] are 2 good articles to reommend.

How to Choose the Best DTF Printer?

The best DTF printer is one most suitable DTF printer for customer needs and for your printing business such as T-shirt printing.

DTF Printers have different configurations and different prices. The more the functions, the more advanced the configuration and the higher the price. But is it necessary to choose the one with the best configuration and full functions? The answer is: choose the right one for printing requirement. Besides traditional manufacturers, emerging DTF Printer manufacturers are more innovative in some aspects and more comprehensive in the design of new products to achieve the advantages of DTF printing and conform to the local market. For example, Sublistar exports DTF printers to all the countries over the worldand will also improve some functions based on the local climate environment in certain areas.

For 2024, consider the new changes of DTF printer mentioned above will be great help as well.

To be specific, there are 7 important factors that need to be carefully considered when choosing a DTF printer that is truly suitable for your apparel printing business:

  • Market Positioning & Printing Requirements
  • DTF Printer Configurations & Applications
  • DTF Printing Supplies
  • Printing Speed & Quality
  • DTF Printer Price
  • Cost of DTF Printing
  • Training, Service and Support

Choose DTF Printer According to Market and Business Needs (Updated 2024)

There are many types of DTF printers, such as: high precision, high quality, A3 width DTF printers, they can complete super high quality T-shirt printing for general production volume; Large-format, high-performance DTF printers can complete mass production, large-format and special finish printing; Industrial-grade, multi-nozzle DTF printers such as 47 inch and 71 inch machines with 4 print heads can achieve continuous and stable high-speed output to meet the mass production needs of garment factories. In 2024, the upcoming Powder Shaker Free DTF printer will not only bring a more health working environment, but also save the cost and work space of DTF printer.

As printing business owner, you should have a clear understanding of the printing market, demand, and characteristics in your area, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • How big is the market demand?
  • How many orders could be there?
  • What is the quantity of printing?
  • Are the printing demands same during the usual and seasonal peak periods?
  • Are there any special printing needs? (e.g. super large format, all dark T-shirt, require for special water-resistant wear?)
  • Are there any unexpected, urgent orders?
  • Do you need to consider the work space or want a smaller size DTF printer for larger size DTF printing?

When you have the answers to these questions, clarify the needs of your market and business, and then narrow down the selection range according to the characteristics and types of different printers listed above, you can find a DTF printer or DTF solution suitable for your clothing printing business.

In 2024, the super large format (1.8m) DTF printing can be satisfied by more DTF printer models in the market, if your printing workspace is limited, keep an eye on the development of Powder Shaker Free DTF printer is a good choice.

In case you still cannot find an ideal DTF printer configuration that matches your printing business needs, some manufacturers offer flexible DTF Printer configurations, you can try to consult with DTF printing experts to get the most suitable DTF printer (and Offer) for you.

In the meantime, we have summarized some  best practices for selecting a DTF printer upon business scenarios.

Must Know: DTF Printer Parts and Application

Understanding the configuration and important components of a DTF printer is CRUCIAL to you to choose the right DTF printer! Otherwise, when you may get confused when see printer parameters, names, and more importantly, you will probably not understand why printers and configurations seemingly identical, but prices are very different. Some printers may not be worth buying even though they are bigger brands, some printers with high performance hiding behind the parameters and configuration may not be chosen just because they are new brands- as a successful investor, try to avoid this.

Next, we’ll highlight some of the key components and applications.

Important Parts - Printheads

Print head is one of the most important parts of DTF printer, which determines the performance and quality of printing, and is the core of Direct to Film printer. Once blocked or burned, printhead will have a great impact on the whole running state of the machine. Now most manufacturers in the market use Epson nozzle. If the machine width is small, such as 12 inch and 18 inch, generally XP600 would be the first choice, or EPSON’s newly released I1600-A1 nozzle, which can Support VSDT variable ink drop printing technology, achieve 600 dpi ink jet accuracy and also stability and service life is much better than that of original XP600 nozzle. If the width of the machine is about 24 inch or 47 inch, I3200-A1 nozzle can be selected. Generally the performance and service life of I3200 is relatively high.

Important Parts - Main board

The mainboard is responsible for coordinating all the components of the printer, including the print head, ink delivery system and other componentsin order to produce high quality images on the print medium. The industry’s famous mainboard cards are Hoson board card, Beijing board card and Senyang board card. Some manufacturers with certain research and development ability have their board cards which are made by their own R & D teams. Hoson board card or Beijing board card is highly recommended due to its perfect function in data transmission, image processing and compatibility, etc.

DTF Print Application: RIP Software

RIP is short for Raster Image Processor, which refers to the early processing of digital image output. When we want to print a picture on the material, we need to process the picture into the dot matrix data known by computers and printing machines. RIP is the professional software used for processing. In other words, it can transform the pixels in the computer into the ink dot information needed for printing, and this ink information can be recognized by the board of the printer.

For example, the light pixel of the picture, the data after RIP is 00, the board receives the data 00 and prints the small dot, the color of the picture is light; If the pixel is dark, the data after RIP is 11. After receiving the data of 11, the board prints a larger point and its picture color is dark.

RIP software plays a key role in the printing process, the correct choice of RIP software can make the DTF printer printing accurate, production quality is guaranteed. As a result, you need to check the “RIP Software” filed when selecting a DTF printer.

Check RIP Software in DTF printer spec table

Practice: Find the RIP Software filed in DTF printer specification of Superior A3+ DTF Printer.

The common RIP software on the market are Maintop, Photoprint, CADlink, RIIN, Printfactory, Onyx, Caldera, Colorgate, etc.

At present, there are certain requirements for the configuration of DTF printers, the connected computer system should meet win7 or above, and need gigabit network, now the DTF printers can generally be adapted to Maintop version 6.1 or above, Photoprint version 19 or above, Print Factory, CADLink and other RIP software, the specific installation and operation steps of these software, when you buy the corresponding DTF printer, you can ask your salesperson for the relevant operation manual.

(Following diagram provides additional details)

DTF-printer-RIP-software-process

Choose DTF printer: Don't Forget DTF Supplies' Affect

Sometimes, it is easy for print business owners or investors to only focus on the DTF printing equipment itself. However, to complete high quality T-Shirt Printing or achieve efficient and high-yield production, DTF supplies need more attention. For example, high quality DTF hot melt powder makes clothing patterns more waterproof and achieves better abrasion resistance. In addition to making printing look better, the high-purity ink also keeps the DTF printer’s print head running efficiently — in other words, it doesn’t cause print heads to be clogged, otherwise you might have to stop the printer to fix, which obviously affects the efficiency of the production line and increases costs. (Further Reading: Some of the Most Common Ways to Solve Print Head Congestion)

DTF Supplies - DTF Ink

DTF ink is a water-based pigment ink that is more resistant to light, moisture, and oxidation (including ozone), which explains why it can make prints last longer on clothes. As a result, the quality of DTF ink has a direct impact on the printing results.

Features of High-purity, high-quality DTF ink:

  1. Non-clogging nozzle: at room temperature, with the machine automatically moisturize or manually moisturize, you can achieve downtime 24 hours without drying, not easy to block the printhead, improve the efficiency of the printer.
  2. Less dosage: DTF ink compared with ordinary ink, you can play 10-20% more area, the dosage is more economical, more cost savings.
  3. High color reproduction: DTF ink can print more colors, the printing effect is full of color, true to restore the design, to achieve the real-world level printing effect.
  4. Clear edges: DTF ink can print clear pattern edges, so that the shaking powder more clean and not sticky powder, not easy to produce glue edge.
  5. Soft touch: DTF ink using imported raw materials, print out the pattern is more vivid and soft, water resistance is higher.

White ink is a special kind of ink, because there is titanium dioxide in white ink and titanium dioxide is easy to precipitate, resulting in nozzle blockage, therefore ink suppliers spent a lot of time and energy on the research and development of white ink. Surprisingly, the precipitation-free white ink is launched on the current market. SUBLISTAR launched a new product of precipitation-free white ink at the latest press conference, which requires no filtration, no stirring and no circulation device. It has high fluency and is not easy to cause blockage.

DTF Supplies - DTF Hot Melt Powder (Updated 2024)

At present, there are many types of hot melt powder on the market in order to meet customers’ different production needs such as TPU hot melt powder.

We recommend the use of high-purity TPU hot melt powder with DTF printer to achieve perfect hot stamping images. It is 100% TPU powder, because the composition is clean with no impurities added and has better tensile performance, clean powder treatment , non-stick powder, fresh hot printing images, clear small character lines with no shadow, scratch resistance, color fading resistance. The following table explains the difference between high-purity TPU hot melt powder and ordinary hot melt powder:

Compare high grade pure TPU DTF holt melt powder and regular DTF powder

As an essential part of the DTF printing process, until the end of 2023, DTF powder shaker is still required. Besides consider the DTF hot melt powder, it’s recommended to consider the improving DTF powder shaker as well.

In 2024, more eco-friendly powder shaker will launch. The new powder shaking solution integrates smoke purifier which automatically absorbs and processes the smoke directly, which is green and pollution-free. In addition, the integrated permanent smoke purifier is equipped with built-in permanent purification filter, no need to replace. This cutting-edge feature eliminates the need for costly replacements, thus saving you both time and investment.

Watch the animation in Top 4 Trends of DTF printing 2024 explains the new technology.

DTF Consumables - PET Film or Transfer Paper (Updated 2024)

DTF printing is printed on PET film (also called DTF Transfer Film) or transfer paper by printer, and then transferred to clothes by hot pressing. PET printing film is divided into single-sided coating film and double-sided coating film, can also be classified into cold tear film, warm tear film and hot tear film. High quality DTF transfer PET material film is characterized by even double-sided coating treatment, strong ink absorption, accurate matching, not easy to slip, clean powder shaking, good release effect, glue baking uniformity, high wash resistance, soft feel, full elasticity, and no cracking. Transfer film/paper hot stamping temperature is 130-160℃, Duration is 8-15s.

Diversified facial effects transfer film is also launched to meet customers’ personalized needs. For example: luminous film, dazzling reflective film, hot flash film, gold film, temperature change film, breathable film, etc. The effects are in accordance with the names, for example, the luminous film can make the image glow in the dark environment. The dazzling reflective film can show the colorful neon dazzling effect under the flashlight. The hot gold film can show the texture of hot gold, the temperature change film can cause the image to present different color effects at different temperatures. The Breathable film can ensure the hot painting area breathable without gelatinous feeling.

In 2024, the innovation of DTF film will bring not only metallic gold film, metallic silver film, metallic interstellar silver film, but will also release more DTF film types to the market to satisfy the endless customer needs.

Extend Reading: Everything to Know to Shop Best DTF Transfer Film.

Factors in Choosing A DTF printer: Printing Quality

The matching of different consumables with different types of clothes can produce surprising effects. Tensile hot melt powder is suitable for elastic fabrics while breathable hot melt powder is suitable for pure cotton fabrics in summer. Anti-sublimation hot melt powder is suitable for light colored clothes so as to avoid cross-color. Therefore, for clothes of different materials and colors, suitable DTF consumables should be used to achieve perfect printing instead of causing any pattern problems.

The printing quality is the core of printing business, but it’s impacted by all of above factors introduced and even more, once you’ve read the content but still have further questions, try to talk to DTF printing professional, clarify your printing requirement and get more information.

Factors Affecting the Choice: DTF Printer Price (Updated 2024)

At present, the price of DTF Printers on the market does not have a fixed range, and different manufacturers have different pricing strategies. In addition, some parts on the market will fluctuate with the change of time and the support of national policies to the industry and other factors also make a difference. So if you want to obtain a high quality DTF printer, try to choose famous brands, or choose the printer company in which you have visited its production workshop on the spot or the manufacturer has rich video resources and documents online. You need to understand the complete operation process specifications, ensure that the technology and quality of the brand meets the standards and take the above factors into consideration.

The DTF powder shaker is also considered a part of DTF Printer price since the powder shaking is essential in the process. But in 2024, this can be changed, the expecting launch of “No Powder Shaker DTF Printer” will make you save the money spent on DTF powder shaker. Don’t forget to search the latest model of DTF printer and check if it’s “Powder Shaker Free”.

Consider the Cost of DTF Printing

Usually the printing costs of a piece of clothing can be estimated according to the approximate consumption of consumables (DTF Supplies). By using an A3 DTF printer to test in the lab, we can find that the cost of a T-shirt is about $2-5. Different pricing can be done according to different costs.  As a result, the price and quality of DTF supplies need to be taken into account again.

Check After-Sales Support And Training

When purchasing printers, you need to communicate with the corresponding salesperson about your needs. Whether the supplier can provide perfect after-sale service support is one of the factors to be considered when purchasing printers. For example, after the machine is purchased, how should the transportation be arranged? How long will the whole machine be guaranteed? How is the machine maintained? The replacement frequency of spare parts and other issues need to be well communicated with the supplier.

It is not difficult to use DTF printers, and training can provide some help. Many suppliers provide on-site teaching and technical guidance to help customers understand the equipment better. In addition, professional companies like: Mimaki, Brother and SUBLISTAR will provide professional freight teams (provide freight forwarding service or Door to door service, handle import issues), training support, instruction manuals and full technical videos. On the other hand, manufacturers that provide extensive training, how-to guides, troubleshooting manuals and videos are generally more trustworthy.

DTF printer videos on Youtube.

For example, SUBLISTAR offers a wealth of videos about: how to install the machine? How to adjust the machine printing time, speed, oven temperature and other issues, you can find targeted videos on the official website, for overly long videos, the official YouTube account will explain in detail the individual details.

Best Practice: Picking DTF Printers Based on Business Scenarios

DTF printing is widely used in a variety of settings in everyday life for groups and organizations, not only engage in small to medium print business but also provide solutions for mass printing. Therefore, the following best practices provide cases of choosing the right DTF printer.

Best DTF Printer for Small Business or Startup: A3 DTF printers

For small printing business or startup, A3 size DTF printer is more popular as the advantages explained.

Small Group’s use of printer usually show the following characteristics: small printing volume, requirement for high quality printing, such as: family use, tailor-made clothes for kids; parent-kid clothes; logo customization; Printing of accessories such as hats, canvas bags, socks, throw pillows, etc.

DTF printer recommendation: For this kind of business scenario, A3 small DTF printer can be a good device, such as: SUBLISTAR A3 ULTRA ALL-IN-ONE DTF printer. These product features: Automatic Moisturizing System, Optional Take-up Reel System, the above features can be very good to meet the needs of small production, very suitable for this application scenario.

Best DTF Printer for Small to Medium Business: 450mm or 600mm DTF printer

The printing needs of expanding or larger business such as small to medium-sized enterprises include a variety of fabrics printing such as nylon, cotton, linen, textile, silk, etc.; large printing capacity; requirement for quick response, requirement for quick delivery and high quality, Therefore, the preferred product size is: 450mm or 600mm DTF printer. The production speed of this DTF printer is 3-7 times faster than that of small machines. It can meet the customized needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Best DTF Printing solution for Mass Printing: 900mm or 1200mm DTF printer

Professional clothing printing factories are accepting clothing printing orders from all over the world. Therefore the requirements for DTF printers will be very high. In addition to high speed requirements, the quality of the output order should be guaranteed. Once the quality is not up to standard, it is likely for factories to lose large quantities of orders and also both new and old customers.

For the high printing requirements of the industry and enterprise, 900mm or 1200mm DTF printer will be one of the best choices. It is a large width DTF printer for high batch and high frequency printing, can contribute to efficient mass production and ensure reliable quality. It is one of the strong rivals of screen printing now.

If you are still unsure and considering using the right DTF printer to meet your requirements, we are happy to help and give you advice on selecting the best DTF printer.If you want to explore more about different prices and printing performance about DTF printers, the professional team for DTF transfer print is willing to provide more information for you.

FAQ

  • What is a DTF (Direct to Film) print?
    • DTF printing is a new method of transfer printing by printing an image on a DTF PET film or DTF transfer paper, dusting hot melt powder on the back of the image, and then drying. Finally, it can be transferred to almost any fabric through a hot press.
  • What are the advantages of DTF printing?
    • DTF printing has several advantages, including high quality color reproduction, improved durability, and application in any color and on any fabric.
  • What types of fabrics can be printed with DTF?
    • DTF printing can be used for a variety of fabrics including cotton, polyester fiber, silk, denim, non-woven fabric, chemical fiber, etc. The type of fabric will affect the final effect. Choose the appropriate DTF ink and powder to help you achieve the best results.
  • What type of inks are used in DTF printing?
    • DTF printers usually use specialized inks designed to print on fabric. These inks are formulated to produce accurate and consistent colors and stick to the fabric in a way that produces lasting prints.
  • What is the function of RIP software in DTF printing?
    • RIP software, or Raster image processor software, is responsible for converting digital image files into a format that DTF printers can print. It can also manage color information in digital images, control the printing process and manage ink supply systems.
  • What are the maintenance requirements for DTF printers?
    • Regular maintenance that includes regular cleaning of print head, monitoring and ink changing and guarantee of proper calibration is very important to keep your DTF printer working and producing high quality prints. (6 Most Helpful Tips to Prevent DTF Printhead Problems)
  • Which is better, DTF or DTG?
  • DTF printing vs Screen printing, Pros and Cons?
    • DTF printing has several advantages over traditional screen printing, including faster printing speed, more streamlined steps, the ability to print on a wider range of fabrics, and improved color accuracy. However, DTF printing may be more expensive and require more specialized equipment and supplies.
5/5 - (7 votes)

2 Comments

  1. Victor Tiongson Jr
    Victor Tiongson Jr

    Good day,
    May I have a quotation for the DTF package.

    Thanks.

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