What do you need to buy to be a direct-to-garment printer? Sometimes when we deal with something day in and day out, we forget that those new to the business still need the most basic of information. A common question I get at shows or on the phone is, “What do I need to buy?” There are basically four items you need to purchase to be a complete direct-to-garment production shop. Read More
About Terry Combs
Terry Combs has managed production shops large and small across the country since 1979. He has written hundreds of management and technical articles for screen printing publications, the trade book Estimating Production Time for Textile Screen Printing, and spoken at industry events worldwide. For six years, Combs was the lead instructor in both screen printing and digital direct-to-garment classes at the U.S. Screen Printing Institute. Combs continues to present his introductory classes at Atlas Screen Supply in Chicago, Workhorse Products in Phoenix and Equipment Zone in NJ/NYC.
Posts by Terry Combs:
Generic Catalogs – Many of your T-shirts suppliers will offer what are called generic catalogs. These look just like the catalogs you are now ordering from, but with no prices and no identification of the company… such as Alpha or SanMar to name a couple. These catalogs are for you to use to show your customer’s different products that they can order from you. Read More
Using Refillable Cartridges with a Small Format Epson – The printer of choice today for outputting film positives is an Epson small format device such as the 1430. The only drawback is the standard 18ml cartridge. Refillable cartridges are the best option to save substantial dollars on ink. Read More
Coated and Uncoated Papers in DTG Printing – Sometimes we have to stop and look at our procedures and see if anything has changed with the component parts. Too often, we continue with a method or technique because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
We have until recently used uncoated paper between a pretreated shirt and the heat press to protect the heat press and dry the shirt. We used uncoated paper because silicon coated paper cause the shirt to be still and shiny. We then used silicon coated paper between the printed shirt and the heat surface to cure the ink. The silicon kept the ink from sticking to the paper.
Today, you can use silicon paper for both steps. This allows you to stock only one paper, and not stand in front of your heat press trying to determine if the paper is coated or not. With advances in pretreat solution, the glossy finish (when applied properly) is no longer an issue.
Heat Press Pressure in Direct-to-Garment Printing – There’s still much confusion about the details of DTG printing, and unfortunately much misinformation. There are two steps to look at when it comes to your heat press.
Number 1 is pretreating. Once you’ve pretreated the shirt with an automatic pretreat machine on hand-held power sprayer, and you want to print right away, you’ll need to dry the shirt with your heat press. If the pressure is too light, that extends the drying time and more importantly leaves fibers standing up on the garment. So when you are drying pretreat, use heavy pressure. As a side note, if you allow your shirts to air dry, you’ll still need to press the shirt with heavy pressure for about five seconds before printing.
Number 2 is the printed shirt that must be heat set for wash-ability. If you use too heavy pressure, it will press the ink into the shirt and mix the inks on dark shirts to give a dull washed-out appearance. When curing the ink on a shirt, use light pressure for the best result.