Vital Tips For Great DTG Prints

If you are interested in starting a Direct to Garment (DTG) printing business you will want to create the best prints that you can print. So the prints must be bright and crisp. People love brilliant prints. It doesn’t matter which DTG printer you use, these tips will help you achieve great prints.

Become Familiar With Your DTG Printer

Your printer needs to be operated correctly. It needs proper maintenance. For this you must read the manual that came with your printer. There are printers on the market that have automated cleaning cycles and even regular maintenance cycles. The Epson SureColor F2100 DTG Printer and the Epson F3070 Industrial DTG Printer are among those. You must manually shake your white ink cartridge and do a head nozzle check. You will  need to shake the cartridge at least 30 seconds every day. 

You want to know how the individual nozzles on the printhead are working so you will need to complete a nozzle check. This is just a test print. When the nozzles aren’t used for a period the nozzles can get clogged. Nozzles can also get clogged from expired inks, or even a dry or dusty shop atmosphere. Daily print head nozzle checks are a must. If you aren’t going to print that day you should still complete this maintenance step. You don’t want printhead issues so you must keep the ink flowing. 

Use the right garments

You’ll want to print on 100% cotton t-shirts. DTG can be absorbed easier by cotton than other materials such as synthetic fabrics. Unfortunately cotton shrinks. Plus, no two cotton shirts are similar. When you order shirts you must remember things such as weave and texture. When a shirt is ring spun it is woven tighter. Plus a ring spun shirt will have a smooth soft feeling. Consequently, ring spun shirts are a better option. Don’t forget, you get what you pay for when you buy new shirts. Do not skimp on shirt quality. A cheaper shirt will use a thicker yarn. Not to mention that they have cheaper dyes and those dyes will migrate into the printed area when cured. This will cause dull prints. 

Always test wash your shirts before a print job. If you changed shirt brands or some other setting you could be setting yourself up for failure. A shirt might look great at first, but after you wash it a couple of times you will see the colors fade. The problem could lie with the pretreatment of the shirt. 

If you control the humidity and the environment you will get better DTG prints. Your printer needs to remain at a constant temperature. It needs to remain stable so keep it at room temperature. These factors are directly linked to the appearance of your finished shirts. High humidity levels aid in ink flow. It prevents clogging of print head nozzles. 

Quality Artwork Always Wins

You want the best images. So you need to find the best settings to produce great images. You can use files such as jpg, png, or tiff for this task. File type depends on the printer and the RIP program. Plus a high DPI (dots per inch) is better for the resolution of your images. You need to inform your customers what the best specifications are for great prints. This way they will know which file sizes and types you require. Make sure the customers are aware. 

Consistent Pretreatment

 Practice pretreating until it’s perfect. You want an even, consistent layer of pretreat solution on your garments. The optimal pretreat machine will be enclosed. Testing is critical. Try different settings on your machine and record the results. Try different garments and different settings. Just remember to take notes to see what works best. 

It can’t be stated enough how important pretreating is to direct to garment printing. You want to get it right. Most printers are clueless as to how much pretreat solution they should apply. If you use a pretreat sprayer you can get it exactly right. 

Take Notes

This may take the fun out of things, but you really should keep detailed records of different setting, and methods. You will get repeat jobs and they will expect you to replicate their previous jobs. If you can’t do it, that’s gonna be a problem. 

Observe the results you get from different print methods and settings, and keep a record of how you achieved them. This will be a huge help when you have repeat jobs or when you just want to replicate the effect on a new order. Before you actually hit “print”, establish a checklist or some kind of standard operating procedure (SOP) so that all of the settings and variables are in place to produce the best possible print. You want to make the most out of every print and avoid a simple “oops” mistake.

Curing Your Prints

Have you ever printed a beautiful print only to have it become dull as it dries? This could be a curing problem. Check your heat press. The pressure may be off. A heat press at the wrong pressure can press the color down into a shirt. Adjusting the printer can allow the ink to adhere if it isn’t over-pressed. Consider using a conveyor dryer. 

Print As Often As Possible

When your printer sits unused ink can clog printhead nozzles. If you run test prints on a regular basis then you will reduce the overall amount of maintenance needed. When the ink consistently flows your printheads work. This in turn will allow the ink to flow. It’s a circle.

Sometimes a shop faces a downturn in business. This can mean that the printer may not get used for a long period of time. You have to store it properly. This is a must. Change the ink cartridges to cleaning cartridges if the duration of inactivity is going to be larger than a month. 

Wrap-Up

These are just a few tips for getting the most out of your direct to garment printer. They will help you get the brilliant prints that you desire. Plus when you maintain the machine it just ensures that your prints will look great going forward. Stick with us for more great tips on DTG printers. 

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