Use this awesome color chart to determine your full range of RGB printing range with your respective direct to garment printer. Keep in mind, this image is profiled using the “Adobe RGB (1998)” color profile in Photoshop – if you wish to reproduce these colors in your artwork, please ensure you have converted your working color space to match the same profile.
NOTE:Within your RIP settings, you need to ensure you are actually taking the input profile into consideration. If you have set your color management to discard embedded profiles, you will not be able to achieve the full range of colors.
Kothari RIP is by far the top RIP in the Direct to Garment printing industry, revolutionizing the print quality and efficiency across a broad range of printer platforms and brands. Most people don’t realize how critical the RIP is to the overall output quality limitations you will face when printing on garments… Make no mistake about it – the RIP is the brains of the whole operation, and a great RIP can easily turn an old, outdated DTG printer into a top quality printing beast!
You don’t have to take our word for it – ask around and go see what real users are doing in the field, and find out how Kothari has changed their printing business in a big way. Visit the Kothari Users Facebook page today, to interact with real users from around the world.
Direct to Garment printing can be exciting and rewarding, but from time to time we tend to get a little ahead of ourselves when it comes to diving in, head first. While the process of DTG is nowhere near as complicated and fickle as it was only a few short years ago, it is still absolutely important to understand the critical learning curve you will experience as a new user in the field.
In order to ensure the greatest chances of overall success, and to avoid stumbling right out of the gate, we encourage you to consider these following bits of advice if you are currently expecting (or have recently received) your new DTG printing hardware.
STUFF NEW USERS SHOULD GENERALLY AVOID
Booking jobs before your equipment arrives – You must understand there will be a (sometimes) long and difficult learning curve to overcome when you first start out with Direct to Garment printing. If your machine has not even arrived yet and you are already under the gun to deliver orders to waiting clients, the stress of setup and initial training will become practically overwhelming. We fully understand the excitement of new print processes coming into your shop, but working your way through the learning curve is going to be far more palatable if you don’t have clients breathing down your neck in the process.
Refilling your own ink bags or cartridges – Refilling your own bags or cartridges can be a truly cost-saving measure, which may yield substantial savings on ink in the long run. However, the process is fickle and requires careful control of a number of variables – at this early stage in the game, your time is better spent learning the fundamentals of your hardware as it was meant to be run, and understanding the complexity of the RIP and pretreatment processes. In an effort to save a few bucks on your first few ink refills, you may inadvertently introduce air bubbles or contaminants into the lines which could potentially compromise the entire system. Additionally, the manual process can be time consuming and messy, quickly negating any short-term effects. In the beginning, stick to using the bags and cartridges filled by professionals, and work your way toward a more complex process. You’ll thank us, later.
Attempting to print complex garments – Some folks receive their DTG equipment and immediately attempt to print on long sleeves, sweatpants, blended materials and all manner of complicated garments. Without establishing a base line standard, it is nearly impossible to gauge the true performance and quality of your machine while introducing so many different variables at such an early stage of the game. In the beginning, stick with high quality ringspun cotton garments with a proven track record, and work your way out from there. In some cases, new users will spend countless hours, days and weeks trying to figure out why they can’t get a decent print, only to finally discover that the blended material they are trying to use is not properly accepting the ink or the sweatpant legs are too complicated to keep level…. Once you have a solid understanding of the basics, then you can flex your true creativity by printing on complicated garment styles and locations.
Altering default printing environments without proper understanding – Understanding how your manufacturer intended the hardware to interact with their respective RIP choice is critical – too often, users jump to the conclusion that they must be using the wrong print settings without ever exploring other variables (such as their PT process, selected garment type, etc). This can cause new users to dive into the RIP with the intention of “making it work”, but they often create a ripple-effect of consequences which prevent them from getting back to the intended quality point. The first step is always to ensure the basic fundamentals are in place for high quality DTG printing, then as you begin to understand the various levels of RIP control you can dive in a little deeper and truly go wild!
… We will add more as they come to mind.
Being an overzealous new user can seem exciting for a moment, but may cause you to stumble on some of the most basic of fundamentals – and make no mistake about it, Direct to Garment printing is all about the fundamentals!
Of course, this is merely a simplified list and there are many more things to avoid, as a new user in the field of Direct to Garment printing. Feel free to offer any suggestions and tips in the comments below, and we will be sure to add some of the best ones to our list!
NOTE: You must be logged in to DTG Print Solutions in order to leave a comment.
This video shows the basic steps to optimize most standard images for Direct to Garment printing. Prior to printing any image, you should check to ensure that the color values are rich and saturated, or that they match the expected output you are looking to achieve in the final print.
You do not need to be a Photoshop expert to get the most out of your artwork! The general guidelines set forth in this video are easy to wrap your head around, and involve minimal steps…. However, the results you can achieve are absolutely noticeable and profound.
The process of fine tuning artwork is not an exact science, but you can certainly get the best possible print quality out of any image by following these basic guidelines. Keep in mind this process is relevant regardless of which printer hardware you are using, what RIP you are running or which ink set you prefer! ALL DTG setups can benefit from this basic knowledge.
Kothari RIP for DTG printing has long been one of the most well respected and awarded RIP software on the market – thousands of end users have made the switch after seeing what a huge difference the proper RIP software has on the final output quality. Kothari RIP has been at the top of every major print competition, across a broad range of DTG printers – the results speak for themselves, and we invite anyone to try comparing Kothari with any other RIP to see the difference, first hand.
After much anticipation, DTG Print Solutions is now officially able to offer the powerful Kothari RIP for the Epson f2000 DTG printer! However, that isn’t the only platform we support – check out this partial list of printer models which can all benefit from the Kothari RIP:
Epson PRO 4800/4880
Epson PRO 7800/7880
Epson f2000 !!!
… and MANY MORE!
Contact us today to find out how we can help step up your DTG game with this powerful piece of software!
Want to learn more about the powerful Kothari Print PRO RIP for DTG? Look no further than this comprehensive documentation package, covering all aspects of use from the basic Quick Start guide, to the advanced User Manual, to layer alignment and Passive Queues. Find out how to get the most out of your software by downloading this incredible documentation package!
Kothari Quick Start Guide: [download id=”1111″]
The quintessential Quick Start Guide for Kothari Print PRO – jumpstart your DTG experience with this informative and in-disposable starting point reference. Learn the insides of your RIP with relative ease and begin producing high quality DTG prints, TODAY!
Kothari User Manual: [download id=”1098″]
The comprehensive source for answers regarding the Kothari Print PRO RIP for DTG – learn about benefits, features, specific use and lots more!
Layer Alignment in Kothari: [download id=”1103″]
Basic guidelines for registering the CMYK layer with the white layer when printing with Kothari Print PRO.
How to utilize the power of Passive Queues in the Kothari RIP for DTG printers…. This feature is useful for streamlining DTG production while maintaining the highest quality standards during the image processing phase. Learn the basics, and advanced techniques in this useful manual.
We are working hard to improve DTG Print Solutions, with the intentions of providing the best tips, tricks and resources for the DTG printing industry. With this in mind, we have created an area on our website called the Community Marketplace, which we hope to build into the premier marketplace for used (and possibly new) DTG printers, pretreat machines, supplies and lots more!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Anyone with a used DTG printer, accessory or assorted supplies can post ads in the Community Marketplace. The system works similar to the popular Craigslist platform in terms of self-moderation and management; you create your own ads, upload photos and a detailed description of what you are selling, then post the ad – buyers contact you directly (you can mask your e-mail address when posting) and all transactions are handled privately.
SELL YOUR DTG PRINTER!
Guidelines for Posting Ads:
Be Honest and Transparent – Don’t Skimp on the Descriptions: Make sure you describe what your are selling honestly and accurately. Describe the condition of the equipment, and don’t leave out any flaws or broken parts. Buyers of used DTG printers often understand what they are looking for, and any information they can get about what might need replacing will not only allow them to make an informed buying decision that is compatible with their specific business model, but also help ensure a more successful and enjoyable experience for both parties. Any ads with false or misleading information will be removed.
Be Tidy: Please be sure you delete your ad once your equipment is sold. This will prevent a bunch of follow up leads trying to contact you after your printer has been sold, and it will allow potential buyers to focus on the most current and relevant listings.
Use High Quality Photos: Small, grainy photos don’t show anything and do little to help enable a more informed decision for the buyer. Make sure all photos are of decent size and quality, and try to highlight the important aspects of whatever you are selling. Photos sell products, so please take this step seriously.
Offer Your Buyers a Great Deal: We all know the used DTG printer market is tough – these products tend to lose value quickly in this industry and it breaks our heart to take a major loss after (often) such a short period of time. However, make sure you are pricing your equipment realistically, understanding that the main reason most people buy used is to save money. Offer your potential buyers a great bargain and your listing won’t last long – the better the bargain, the faster your stuff will sell! Also don’t forget to describe any additional supplies, equipment or replacement parts you are including in your listing (if any).
BUY A DTG PRINTER!
For buyers, this will create a concentrated supply of options to make the buying process easier, while hopefully providing for the best possible deals and the fastest way to compare printers and accessories! Keep the following points in mind, when considering used equipment:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!DTG printing is not easy, whether you buy new or used. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and find out everything you can about your potential purchase. Ask about any parts that might need replacing and ask why the user is selling their equipment (don’t necessarily take it at face value when they say “they machine is great, I just don’t have the clients to support it”). Go online and research any brand or model prior to making a decision, and whenever possible, try to see the machine printing in person, before you make any commitments! This is a major decision, so take your time and be smart about the process. Caveat Emptor (“buyer beware”).
Try to See the Equipment in Action, Prior to Purchasing: Although this was mentioned above, it merits repeating. Nothing will tell you more than actually watching a machine print, while evaluating the actual print speeds, ink costs, output quality, etc (preferably with artwork of your own choosing). If there are any major issues, or if it takes a long time to finally get a decent print, you can understand these before you actually take the printer home. Many people tend to remove the ink from their machines, once they decide they don’t want to do DTG printing anymore – it isn’t always feasible to ask them to re-ink their machine, but someone who wants to make the sale and who is supremely confident with the condition of the printer should be able to accommodate such a request… After all, this is usually not a small purchase.
Any Deals Made are Strictly Between the Buyer and the Seller: DTG Print Solutions is not involved in any way with any specific transaction, and we do not warrant or guarantee anything that is bought or sold through the Community Marketplace! Just like Craigslist, we provide an open marketplace for users to buy and sell, and it is up to you to do so responsibly. Unlike Craigslist, we provide a highly targeted stream of traffic and a very refined type of products and equipment, tailored specifically to this industry!
CAN I POST AN AD FOR FREE?
Absolutely! The basic ad model is always free, which includes one photo and a short (200 characters) description of what you are selling. However, we also offer additional ad models which allow for more photos and considerably longer descriptions, which would effectively improve your response ratio to any given ad. Photos sell products! Take a look at our various listing options, below:
NOTE:In lieu of paying directly for your ad listings (for premium style ads), you can also purchase Credit Packs which can then be used to pay for your ads. Credits remain on your account until you decide to use them, and packs are available for bulk sellers for as low as .50 per credit! This means your cost for each listing would be half of what you see in the image above! Click here to learn view Credit Pack options.
DOES IT HAVE TO BE USED EQUIPMENT?
No! You can post ads for new equipment and supplies as well.
CAN MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS POST ADS?
Sure! In fact, we encourage it. However, unless you provide some sort of special offer, package deal or discount to incentive potential buyers to purchase new (rather than used), you might find it difficult to compete against the great deals on used equipment.
HOW DO PEOPLE FIND THE COMMUNITY MARKETPLACE ADS?
We have dedicated an entire portion of the website to the Community Marketplace, which visitors to our website can access by clicking the new link at the top of any page:
Additionally, we have integrated widgets into various portions of the website, which will constantly showing random and Featured ads while users are browsing the DTG Print Solutions website – viewers can even search listings with our powerful search interface, from any page on the site!
Our website is a niche specialty site, focusing on a very specific portion of the market – our readers are exactly the people you are looking for to sell your used DTG printer to! With over 20,000 page views in the last 30 days, we continue to grow our traffic to give you the greatest possibly exposure. Remember, our viewers are highly targeted to this niche, so with your participation we can build the Community Marketplace to a thriving equipment listing in a short period of time.
For a limited time only, we are offering a FREE 30-Day “Enhanced” Listing credit to anyone with a new or used DTG printer to sell! To receive your free credit, simply send an e-mail to email@example.com with your website account name and we will apply your credit within 24 hours!
Please make sure you have created an account on DTG Print Solutions (see link, below) and include your account name in the e-mail so we know where to apply your free credits! Remember this offer is only for a limited time, so take advantage today and let us help you sell your printer!
The days of simplifying your artwork to meet your budget are over! No longer do the general masses have to settle for “dumbed down” versions of their incredibly crafted designs, and no longer do they need to order a hundred shirts (or more) to be taken seriously! DTG printing arrived on the scene in its infant stages over 6 years ago, and has spent the last several years being tweaked, prodded and modified until it was finally manifested in a form that offered top level competitive quality, excellent durability and reliable manufacturing practices.
If you thought you knew all about DTG printing, check again! There have been plenty of advances and improvements that have made the process not only viable, but also highly sought after by major clothing brands and online retailers all across the globe. Our team is proud to have been actively involved as pioneers in this industry for the last 6+ years, pushing for ever increasing quality and reliability, while lobbying for lower consumables costs and delivering the highest quality products to our clients. Now, after all those years of being actively engaged in printing for clients, we are proud to bring the tools and information you need to make this a viable option for your business.
DTG printing stands for “Direct To Garment” printing, which refers to the process of jetting water based ink directly onto the surface of a printable substrate, rather than printing a transfer which would then be heat pressed onto the substrate. DTG printing equipment is similar in many ways to the type of desktop ink jet printers which can be found in most homes and offices; utilizing a small selection on ink colors (typically Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and White), the printer is able to dynamically mix the process inks “on the fly” as it prints, recreating a myriad of colors and effects as it goes!
The printers are generally much larger than most home or office printing systems, and the drive mechanism has been modified to feed blank t-shirts rather than paper or other flat substrates. By eliminating the need for expensive and time consuming screen setup, as well as the mess and the costs that go along with the traditional screen printing process used by most print shops, we are able to use the process of DTG printing to create beautiful, full color designs with almost no setup, allowing us to offer full color custom garment printing with NO MINIMUM ORDERS and NO SETUP FEES! Essentially, if you can create it on the computer, it can be reproduced on a t-shirt.
When compared to traditional decoration techniques, such as screen printing, the quality of a DTG printed garment is unrivaled – the print details, gradients and print accuracy will beat out almost any other garment decoration technique available (sublimation is another “digitally printed” option which offers a fairly competitive option for decorating garments with beautiful full color designs, however sublimation is limited to polyester garments and there is no white ink, meaning it can only be used on white or light colored garments – it cannot really compete with DTG printing when dark garments or 100% cotton is concerned).
The process of DTG printing involves several steps, which can be loosely summed up as follows:
1. PREPARING THE GARMENT FOR PRINTING:
Before any ink can actually be printed on the garment, the fabric must be prepared with a liquid pre-treatment chemical, designed to create a bond between the ink and the garment itself. Without this pre-treatment fluid, the ink would simply absorb into the porous cotton material and appear very poorly (if at all). Pre-treatment is absolutely required for any dark garment printing (any time white ink is involved, either as an under base or a highlight layer), although it is entirely optional when printing on light colored garments. If pre-treatment fluid is applied to the light garment prior to printing, the ink will remain on top of the fabric (rather than soaking in) and will appear more vibrant, while providing superior wash-fastness over the life of the garment. If no pre-treatment is used on light colored garments, the print will still look good but you will notice that it simply doesn’t “POP” like it would have with the pre-treatment. The pre-treatment is applied either manually or via an automated pre-treatment unit, depending on the situation – after the spray is applied, the garment is then brushed with a fine Wooster brush to press the fibers down (reducing the effects of fibrillation, especially on non-ringspun garments) and then heat pressed to seal the pre-treatment to the garment – once this is completed, the garment is ready for printing!
2. PREPARING THE ARTWORK FOR PRINTING:
Although we can certainly load up any artwork file and press the print button, it is important to understand that proper artwork preparation is vital to the successful recreation of complex DTG prints – there is no magic involved in the printing process that will turn “adequate” artwork into “amazing” artwork…. The better the initial artwork file is in terms of quality, color saturation and vibrancy, the better the final printed t-shirt is going to look. You can read more about artwork prep and file format options by visiting the Artwork Information page at Fusion Logistics Group.
3. LOADING THE GARMENT ON THE DTG PRINTER:
While this may seem like one of the easiest steps, it can actually become quite tricky when trying to reproduce complex specialty prints that cross over seams or collars, as well as when trying to print odd shaped or odd sized garments (such as onesies, or printing on sleeves and whatnot). We use a series of “loading boards” called Platens to keep the garments pulled flat and smooth for the printing process, and we will often set up custom spacers to allow us to print on a variety of alternative substrates and print locations.
4. PRINT THE GARMENT:
Once everything is prepped and ready to go, we simply load up the artwork file in the specialized RIP software we use (RIP stands for Raster Image Processor, by the way) and press the print button! The printer will travel the entire length of the garment print area, spraying ink as it goes – when it is done we are left with an incredibly detailed, vibrant print that will impress even the toughest critics. For dark colored garments, the machine will first print a full pass of white ink (as an under base to the colors), then it will return for a second pass that will complete the image with the color layer.
5. CURE THE INK:
Since water based inks remain “water soluble” until they are permanently heat-set, it is important to press the garments after printing to ensure that the design does not come off in the wash! For light garments, this generally involves direct exposure to high pressure and heat for around 90 seconds, while dark garments get the same treatment for at least 180 seconds; it is important to select garments for printing that are able to withstand the arduous manufacturing conditions involved with DTG printing water based inks.
While this may seem like a lot of steps, most people would be blown away to find out everything that goes into the process of traditional screen printing – relatively speaking, DTG printing involves far fewer steps. In addition to taking less time for the overall setup / print cycle when compared to traditional decoration methods, DTG printing also involves far fewer chemicals and consumables, none of which contain the level of harsh and abrasive chemicals found in many screen printing products.
DTG printing is perfect for short run or full color printing – with a little creativity, you can recreate some incredible effects that will leave most screen printers in the dust, without breaking the bank in the process! Check out our website for more information on the DTG printing process, as well as reviews on various equipment that is actually being used at our sister company (www.fusionlogisticsgroup.com) – many of these products are being made available directly through this website, and we will be here every step of the way to ensure you have an opportunity to succeed in this difficult market.
You’re at the shop late one night, printing another rush order for yet another client who needs their order done “tomorrow” – everything is going smoothly until BAM! – suddenly your machine is giving you issues, and you don’t know why. Perhaps some contaminants made their way into the print head, preventing some nozzles from firing? Perhaps one of your employees was doing some routine maintenance recently, and somehow managed to spill a little ink on a ribbon cable (rendering it useless)? Whatever the cause, this is a situation that no DTG printer owner ever wants to find themselves, because it can have dire consequences on their overall business. After unleashing a whirlwind of profanities under your breath (can’t let the wife hear you, or else you get the painful “I told you this was a bad idea!”), you ponder your options:
You can order a new print head, damper, ribbon cable, capping station, or whatever else is causing your immediate problem…. Of course, you won’t be able to put the order in with your supplier until the next morning, meaning you won’t have the part in hand for several days; if you are printing late on a Thursday or Friday night, you’re pretty much hosed because you’re not going to see those parts for awhile. Effectively, your entire printing operation is dead in the water until UPS shows up at your door.
… As you can see, your options are pretty limited in situations like these! While issues like this are relatively inexpensive and easy to fix, the bigger problem stems from the subsequent downtime that comes as a result of having to wait days for a replacement part to arrive at your door step – in this way, a small problem manages to become a major inconvenience, which can ultimately threaten the very safety and longevity of your business. Many DTG business owners find themselves in situations like this all the time, being completely at the mercy of a “single point of failure”; that is, any single problem with the equipment can literally take their entire business offline for hours, days or even weeks at a time.
So as a business owner, how do you avoid being thrust into such a negative situation? The answer is actually much simpler, and far more inexpensive, than one might think! Additionally, it seems pretty intuitive – however, many business owners don’t bother to take the one simple step that could literally determine the ultimate future of their DTG print business… Think about it like this: we are healthy people, most of the time – our bodies do what they’re supposed to, and we run them hard. However, each and every one of us knows that at some point in the future, we are going to run into physical problems (wear and tear issues, if you will) – for this purpose, we have grown up with the understanding that it is just smart business to carry personal medical insurance, to cope with that inevitable time in the future where your otherwise healthy body is going to be need some “repairs”. We HOPE we won’t need it, but it is there just in case. Our entire life we are taught to prepare for disaster – get insurance for this or that, have backups on hand, have an emergency first aid kit ready (and maybe even an earthquake disaster kit, if you live in Southern California), etc. We take this seriously in almost every area of our lives, then we go out and invest our life savings in a business opportunity where we have NO backup, NO emergency plan and NO “first aid kit”.
Ideally, the best way to achieve peace of mind is to ensure that you always have redundant printing capabilities – having multiple machines in your shop ensures that (in case one unit stops working) you are always able to finish client orders, without having to blame your machine for missing their event deadline. While ideal, this is not always a practical solution for most small business owners, who have already put themselves out pretty far financially just to get into the business. Some DTG printers, like the Neoflex and Mod1 models, are capable of swapping out the actual “print unit” on the machine, which allows business owners to keep an extra print unit on hand “just in case.”
So then, what is the solution if you want reliable printing capabilities, but you can’t necessarily afford an additional printer unit? Build yourself an emergency DTG 9-1-1 First Aid Kit, of course!!! For around $1,100 (most machines, but not all), almost any small business owner who uses DTG printers in their shop can put together a solid emergency kit that just might save their bacon when the ‘ish hits the fan. Here is a brief list of the things we recommend for you to keep on hand at all times (this is not an all inclusive list, and all prices are estimates): in case” – again, this is a solid solution, but may also represent a $6,000 purchase that you are not quite ready for.
Spare print head for your particular printer model – $600
Spare capping station / pump assembly – $150
Spare dampers (4-8 recommended) – $80-160
Spare wiper blade(s) – $6
Spare encoder strip(s) – $10
Assorted ribbon cables – $80
Additional waste ink tank – $120
Assorted replacement parts (plastic joints, “O” rings, small electronic components) – $60-100
Anything else you think might break or fail at some point!!! You can never be too prepared.
In addition to these critical machine components, it is also recommended to keep an extra spray gun on hand, if you pre-treat all your shirts by hand! Heck, even if you have an automatic pre-treatment machine, you still don’t want to run the risk of being without any sort of backup plan. A Wagner HPLV spray gun is about $70 at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and it is something that can fail on you right in the middle of a major print run. While this may not be as devastating as having a print head go bad, it is still inconvenient to run down to the hardware store on short notice – besides, what happens when it fails on you after hours, leaving you helpless until the following morning? In this business, you can never be too cautious.
You’re at the shop late one night, printing another rush order for yet another client who needs their order done “tomorrow” – everything is going smoothly until BAM! – suddenly your machine is giving you issues, and you don’t know why. Perhaps some contaminants made their way into the print head, preventing some nozzles from firing? Perhaps one of your employees was doing some routine maintenance recently, and somehow managed to spill a little ink on a ribbon cable (rendering it useless)? “No problem” you think to yourself… You walk over to your DTG cabinet and pull out your DTG First Aid kit, and within 20-30 minutes you are back up and running – your clients are thrilled when you deliver the order on time, and your business continues to grow!
In the world of DTG, small problems can easily become major headaches – avoid this by preparing yourself for the worst-case-scenario and you can save yourself time and money in the long run.