DTF T-shirt printing is a transfer technology that allows users to print graphics using water-based pigment inks onto polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film. This article provides an overview of this emerging DTF T-shirt printing technology and compares it to other printing techniques.
In comparison to direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, DTF allows for the avoidance of fabric pre-treatment, which is sometimes required when printing with DTG. While prepping the picture for print is critical, applying the hot-melt adhesive is as vital with DTF; it employs a hot-melt powder comprised of polyurethane resin pulverized into adhesive powder. DTF allows for the decoration of a wide variety of materials, does not require fabric pre-treatment, is durable with high elasticity and stretchability, and is frequently a cheaper and faster alternative.
DTF T-shirt printing, a transfer process that allows users to print graphics onto polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film using water-based pigment inks, is one of the newest and hottest trends in the decorated garment business. Because this is a transfer process, the design is produced in the opposite order of regular digital printing. The image is flipped so that its orientation is mirrored—the CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) are printed first, followed by the white ink. Wet ink is pulverized and cured with a hot-melt adhesive. After curing, the picture can be transferred to clothing with a heat press.
DTF will also work on textiles such as polyester and nylon, which are impossible for DTG to work on. Furthermore, printing DTF transfers has a considerably smaller learning curve than DTG. DTF, as opposed to dye-sublimation, allows the user to apply a broader spectrum of materials and fabric colors. DTF is also more efficient than other transfer methods such as heat-transfer vinyl since it eliminates the need for cutting and weeding, saving time.
DTF T-shirt printing, like other digital print technologies, is ideal for producing full-color, lifelike graphics. All the colors are avilable by combined the gamut of color in spectrum. DTF can handle fine lines, small text, and high-detail photos with ease. Having said that, color profiling might be difficult for folks who are new with color management and ICC profiles. Special RIP software is also required to create a white print layer and mirror the image so that the transfer prints properly.
To date, China has produced the vast majority of DTF printers. They are frequently modified Epson printers or systems that use Epson printheads (models commonly include 1–4 printheads). Additional printheads to jet extra white, CMYK, or fluorescent channels are available as options. The number of printheads determines print speed. At the same time, the various printer models are divided into three categories:
Slow (25-35 square feet per hour)
Medium (80-100 square feet per hour)
Fast (150+ square feet per hour)
Per square foot costs range between $0.50 and $0.90 (including PET film, ink, and powder adhesive). The washfast durability is said to be greater than 100 laundry cycles.
While prepping the picture for print is critical, applying the hot-melt adhesive is as vital with DTF; it employs a hot-melt powder comprised of polyurethane resin pulverized into adhesive powder. While there are no dangerous emissions, the powder adhesive is extremely small and can cause dust, thus wearing respiratory protection is essential when dealing with the powder. It’s also a good idea to keep the inkjet printer away from the powder coating process to prevent adhesive dust from getting into the printer’s delicate parts.
The powder itself is available in white and black, depending on the overall color of the fabric to be adorned. When using cut sheets of PET film, the powder is best administered using an automatic powder shaker for rolls of printed PET film, but it can also be done manually. The most important aspect of applying powder adhesive is establishing a consistent, level application. Once cured, the transfer is applied to cotton materials at 315°F (157°C) for 15 seconds at medium pressure.
The press time can be shortened for heat-sensitive textiles such as polyester.
The Sublistar DTF printer line is among the most recent offers in the business, and these machines do not require powder glue. The transfer adhesive prints concurrently with the white ink pass in this technology, eliminating the powdered adhesive process and the dust it can produce. This novel approach is an emerging trend in inkjet printing in which chemistry is blasted with CMYKW inks.
DTF has evolved as a “all-for-one” technology in just over two years. It may be used to embellish a wide variety of materials, does not require fabric pre-treatment,
is durable with high elasticity and stretchability, and is often a cheaper and faster alternative.
When it comes to DTF printer price, you need to consider your needs, application, and desired features. While most of these devices are made of similar components, the price can vary from three thousand to seven thousand US dollars. A $3000 to six thousand dollar printer can meet the needs of small businesses. However, if you need to print a large number of images, you’ll need to invest more money. A high-end model will cost several hundred thousand dollars.
DTF printers are an excellent option if you need to create graphics that will stand out in a crowd. They have the ability to print in full color using either CMYK or white ink, and they require no plates. DTF printer prices are competitive with similar printers, and you can expect to get a good value for your money if you compare prices at several shops.