Coastal Business Supplies, Inc. is excited to announce to our customers the release of the new Epson F2000 Direct to Garment printers. We are excited to show you the advances in technology and the hard work that Epson has put into this machine. We have spent years saying that DTG was not ready for the masses and we are excited to finally be able to change our tune. Continue reading “Introducing the all new Epson F2000 Direct to Garment Printer”
We’re going to now move into the world of sublimation….everyone thinks this is a gift to fix all. Don’t be so sure! Sublimation is the process of an ink turning into a gas, penetrating the fibers in the garment when … Continue reading →
Sublimation is the process of an ink turning into a gas, penetrating the fibers in the garment when heated, becoming a permanent part of that item and then sealing into the fibers of that item once it’s completely cooled. Sublimation was originally thought to be a process to apply images onto hard surface items only, such as ceramics, metals, certain plastics, and hardboard materials but it’s become very popular with large format users who are doing customized garments. Anything from jerseys, t-shirts, swimsuits, towels, blankets, floor mats/car mats and tote bags are just some examples of the growing industry.
Small desktop printers range from 8.5” x 14” systems up to 13” x 19” with optional bypass trays that are available. Epson and Ricoh are the main brands of sublimation printers (see all of our small format sublimation-compatible printers HERE). Epson printers are equipped with a Piezo print head technology. Micro Piezo print heads feature microscopic piezoelectric actuators that are built behind the print nozzles. When an electrical charge is applied to them, the piezoelectric elements bend backward, drawing precise amounts of ink from the ink chamber into the firing chamber. When the electrical pulse is reversed, the piezoelectric elements bend the opposite way very rapidly, propelling the ink out of the nozzles at high speed. This helps with clogging issues since sublimation ink is a little thicker than regular OEM inks. A handful of Epson printers are also able to be equipped with bulk refill systems, which use bags of ink instead of cartridges. This will drastically cut down your cost per print as we all know how small some inkjet printer cartridges can be!
Ricoh printers aren’t equipped with these types of print heads, but the sublimation ink used in Ricoh printers is gel-based. The ink flows more smoothly, therefore you’ll experience less clogging (if any). Although there are no bulk hookups for these printers, they are able to house a much larger cartridge size over its Epson friends.
There are also floor models on the market that are still considered smaller format (under 24”) and can run rolls of paper. Then you get into the wide format equipment, which is a whole other blog in its own. Heck, maybe we will see a wide format blog in the upcoming future!
Some CONS are, sublimation is a bad idea if you need to do dark garments! The only way to get a sublimation image onto a colored garment is if the image (ink you’re laying down) is darker than the color of the shirt. For instance, you can do black images or prints on red garments, orange, yellow, pink, blue… (make sense?)
Another downside is if you’re wanting to use a cheap ole’ shirt – nix that idea. Sublimation requires 100% polyester to get the best image and the best washability possible!
The PRO about sublimation is that it is a permanent image on your substrate! What can get better than this? No washing away, fading or cracking to worry about!
So, now that everyone has recovered from eating too much turkey, opening too many presents and not having a full work week in it what seems like forever, we can settle back into things and finish up our blogging. Yay! … Continue reading →
So, now that everyone has recovered from eating too much turkey, opening too many presents and not having a full work week in it what seems like forever, we can settle back into things and finish up our blogging. Yay!
Direct to garment is next…. so, what is DTG, you ask? It’s the process of printing directly onto the substrate and it’s becoming more popular every day. As the equipment evolves and allows you to do dark colors as well as lights – it’s attracting more and more users. In DTG, the shirt is stretched over a frame and kept in a tunnel area, which is below a set of print heads. The garment is then printed, just like an ink jet printer would print onto paper, only it’s printing directly the garment. You can print single color designs pretty economically using this equipment. Most DTG machines use a drop-on-demand type inkjet technology. DTG machines have sealed bulk ink cartridge systems that can drop variable size ink drops, depending on the textile you’re printing.
The thousands of screen printers that have bought this equipment use them for their strengths. DTG machines love short runs and photorealistic images. A screen printer would have a hard time doing this without it.
And look – Negative Nancy is back!
CONS: These machines are pricey – between $15,000-$25,000 typically! Expensive per shirt cost and slow printing means a higher price per individual shirt! Clogging print heads are a problem. With such new technology, the bugs are still being worked out. You can print on dark garments, BUT you have to have the more expensive equipment that has white ink as it needs a base of white laid down prior to your colors. And lastly, you have to pre-treat your shirts with a spray beforehand, regardless of the color!
But Positive Peter says that DTG is great!
PROS: There’s very little set up involved and it’s excellent if you want to keep your area clean!
This is a long blog… everyone still with me? Good because I’m making you check back for Part 4!