DTF printer, short as Direct to Film printer, is an advanced machine the can print patterns to specially designed PET film and then transfer to fabrics. It is cost-effective and able to print on various fabrics. Many manufacturers and designers have chosen DTF printer to upgrade their business. Why is DTF printer so popular in garment printing market now? This article will give you a better understanding of this trend in the following aspects:
What is DTF printer?
A DTF printer is a machine used to directly print designed patterns onto the film. Afterwards, the patterns will be transferred to the fabrics by the help of heat press machine. The whole printing process is very easy and quick as it does not need pre-treatment. In addition, printed patterns are of high accuracy and long durability.
There are various types and brands of DTF printers in the market. So to choose a most suitable DTF printer for your business, you need to take the following most important factors into consideration:
- The printing requirements and market demand
- DTF printer important parts and applications
- DTF printing supplies
- Printing quality
- DTF printer price
- Printing costs(other than printer price)
- Training, Service and Support
This article Ultimate Guide to Choose Best T-Shirt Printer [Updated] gives a detailed explanation on these 7 important factors. Hope this will help you know more about DTF printer.
How does DTF printer work?
Operating a DTF printer is not difficult and does not require any pre-treatment steps. In that case, if you are new to this industry, you do not need to worry about complicated operating process. Generally speaking, DTF printer works in the following steps.
Step 1: Use software to refine the images. Software like CADLink, photoprint and maintop are all commonly used software to handle images.
Step 2: Use DTF printer to print the images. The DTF printer can be set ahead of time and then it can print the images automatically.
Step 3: Cure the pattern by shaker powder machine. In the past time, people need to spread the powder to film manually. But as technology develops, the inventing of all-in-one shaker powder machine enables spreading powder to film automatically and curing the powder and ink in the oven in one stop.
Step 4: Transfer the film to fabrics. Use the heat press machine to press on it for 10-15 seconds. Temperature of the machine should be at 135~165℃.
What do you need for DTF printing?
Except DTF printer, other consumables are important to finish a whole printing too.
- Hot melt powder. The hot melt powder is specially produced and professionally used for DTF printer. It has an adhesive effect in the printing process.
- DTF film. DTF film is usually 90μ thick, making it feature high ink absorption capacity, easy to tear off and anti-static ability. DTF film of different visual effects like reflective colorful film, laser film, luminous film, temperature change film and shining film are invented so as to meet diverse needs of the market.
- DTF ink. DTF ink plays a crucial role in producing high-quality prints. It is resistant to fading, cracking, and peeling, ensuring long-lasting prints.
- Heat press machine. After printing the images, it will need a heat press machine to transfer the patterns to fabrics.
- RIP software. In order to print patterns successfully, images need to be handled to special format firstly in the computer. That will need RIP software. Most used RIP software are CADLink, photoprint and maintop.
- Powder shaker. Powder shaker plays a crucial role in DTF printing process because a quality powder shaker can spray the powder evenly and remove the rest powder. If there is extra powder in the edges of the pattern, that will make your clothes dirty.
- Curing oven. Curing oven works as a machine that melt and cure the powder that is applied to the surface of the DTF film.
What are the differences between DTF printer, DTG printer and sublimation printer?
In the market, some manufacturers may choose DTG printer or sublimation printer to print on clothes. Hence, it is better for you to know their differences before you decide which type pf printer is ideal for your business.
- Fabric applications.
For DTG printer, it can only print fabrics containing more than 60% cotton. Similar to DTG printer, sublimation printer is also limited on fabrics, better for printing on polyester fabrics. DTF printer breaks the limitation of fabrics, able to print on all type of fabrics. Due to this big advantage, DTF printer is without doubt an economic machine. Even if you want to change your industry direction in the future, you can also make an use of DTF printer.
- Color ranges.
Both DTF printer and DTG printer can print on light-or-dark color fabrics while sublimation printer works best on light color or white fabrics.
- Printing process.
As mentioned above, DTF printer mainly works on five steps: design, print, cure, heat press and finally tear off the film. Different from DTF printer, DTG printer needs pre-treatment firstly- spray pretreatment liquid. After spraying the liquid, start to design, print and heat press. While for sublimation printer, it requires three steps:design the image, print the pattern on transfer paper and transfer the pattern to fabrics.
- Hand feel.
When it comes to hand feeling, patterns printed by DTF printer feels smoother than that by DTG printer. Although DTG printing shows a more rough feeling, the feeling will become smooth after several washings. Print by sublimation printer just feels like as a part of the clothes as the ink totally blends into the clothes.
All types of fabrics
Best on cotton fabric
Best on polyester fabric
Both light and dark colors
Both light and dark colors
Light color or white
Tear off backing
Tear off backing
Feel more rough
Feel as a part of the clothes
Advantages of DTF printer
- Do not need pre-treatment. Unlike DTG printing, DTF printing does not need pre-treatment, which saves time and cost.
- Print on all kinds of fabrics. DTF printing breaks the fabric limitations of DTG or sublimation printing, able to print on whatever type of fabrics. This is the biggest advantage of DTF printing. If you want to expand your business to various industries, investing in an DTF printer will be a good choice.
- Long-lasting. Patterns printed by DTF printer is of great durability. It can be long-lasting and will fade after several washings.
- Suitable for customize design. As DTF printer owns the ability that prints on light-or-dark colored fabrics and is not limited by fabric types, it is ideal to be utilized in customized design.
- Faster and more efficient printing. Unlike DTG printing needs to spray pretreatment liquid before printing, what DTF printing needs is only to refine the images firstly. After that you can start printing.
Applications of DTF printer
Thanks to the feature of unlimited by color and fabrics, DTF printer can be utilized for multiple purposes. Owning a DTF printer, you can produce the following products:
- T-Shirts & Sweatshirts
- Hoodies & Pullovers
- Pants & Leggings
- Canvas & Denim
- And more
In summary, DTF printing is a new and advanced printing technology, more cost-effective and sustainable than other technologies. Whether you want to start garment printing business or upgrade your business, choosing a DTF printer will help a lot. If you have any problems about choosing right DTF printer, please refer to Sublistar for professional help.
Which DTF printer is best for beginner?
How long can DTF printing last?
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.
Can I use iron on DTF film?
Yes, you can. An iron also works perfectly on DTF film if you do not have a heat press machine.
Is DTF printing profitable?
DTF printing is a cost-effective and efficient printing technique. It costs less and creates more profit.
Can I use DTF printer to print on leather?
Yes. DTF printer can print on various materials including leather.