The use of digital printers allows for the incorporation of convenience, simplicity, feel of fabrics and their durability, consistency, and, most significantly, a huge diversity of colors in textiles, resulting in a procedure that is both dependable and cost-effective.
If you are new to printing technologies or if you want to start a new business or use your time at home getting around the printers for your crafts this article is for you.
There are plenty of numbers and models of printers and each does different things. The goal of this post however is to narrow down the best options for you to decide what is the best printing method or what printer you should get next.
In this post, we are going to discuss DTF vs DTG vs WTT printing. You can find the breakdown of pros and cons and also the comparison of the prices of each.
Direct to Garment (DTG)
DTG printing is the popular and older process of printing on textiles that uses aqueous inkjet technology. The print head of a DTG printer normally has a platen that holds the garment in a fixed position while the printer inks are jetted or sprayed onto the material.
Aqueous textile inks (water-based chemistry) are used by DTG printers, and they require a special curing process. D2 inks are suitable for printing on natural textiles like cotton, bamboo, hemp, and linen because they are water-based. In addition, pre-treatment of the garment is usually done before printing. The pre-treatment is heat-pressed into the custom t-shirt, which causes the shirt's fibers to lay flat.
When putting white ink on dark clothes, pre-treatment allows the water-based inks to adhere more firmly to the fabric.
The shirt (or garment) is then positioned onto a platen system designed to hold the shirt in place once it has been appropriately pre-treated, such as a t-shirt. The shirt is then digitally printed in the printer queue, according to the design.
- Directly prints into textile or fabric making it a quick and easy process
- prints on cotton
- Does not require a separate heating press as it includes pressing the oven
- Can be used on darker colors as long as the ink is darker than the fabric (i.e. black ink on red fabric);
- small footprint for home use
- free extremely easy to use software and what's best is, the software works with both MAC and PC
- Very soft feel to the fabric
- Cannot be used to print on hard objects, only for fabric
- Extremely expensive and bulky in size
- Pre-treatment required
- Do not print white. Ie, (white into black fabric)
- Only A4 size paper max
- Software is very basic and loads in jpg, png, and other regular file types
A popular and reliable Epson SureColor SC-F2100 DTG printer can cost upwards of USD 17,995.
As the name suggests, the DTF process of printing is simple. The design is printed in the film instead of directly into the fabric. The printed film is transferred to the fabric. It is the latest alternative to DTG printing. It works on any kind of fabric like polyester, cotton, silk or synthetic fibres like rayon or terry cot. This freedom and versatility of choosing the type of surfaces make DTF printing most popularly used.
Process of DTF printing
After printing a film transfer with a certain type of water-based ink and drying it, a powdered adhesive is added to the back and heat cured, ready for storage or immediate usage. DTF has one of the many advantages against DTG which is no need for pre-treatment because the powdered glue takes care of everything. In just 15 seconds after being heat pressed, the soft water-based ink is transferred to the clothing.
DTF printers Pros
- It may be used with practically any sort of cloth.
- It is cheaper than DTG printing
- Requires less maintenance and is easy to use
- There is no need for pre-treatment.
- The fabrics created in this way have good wash-ability.
- The fabric feels soft and smooth to the touch.
- The procedure is less time consuming and difficult than DTG printing.
- The feel of the cloth area where adhesive is used is slightly affected and is not smooth and soft enough in comparison to that of DTG or other methods of printing like sublimation.
- Colour Vibrancy is slightly low
- Technology is still in its infancy and doesn't have a lot of application in material besides t-shirts.
- Frequent issues with clogging of the heads and need to clean.
Price of DTF printers
L1800 DTF printer, as well as a heat press, could be purchased for under USD 3,899.
White Toner Printers Vs DTF printers
White Toner Transfer uses a laser printer to print a design or motif on a sensitive coated material known as an A-Sheet or Transfer Sheet.
Toner, an electromagnetic powder, is used in laser printers to create the image.
Toner can be utilized in heat-activated transfer because of its properties.
The design or motif is printed with a laser printer on an A-sheet or transfer sheet. A heat transfer press is used to attach A-sheet to the B-Sheet or Glue-Sheet after printing. The adhesive is transferred to the print by a chemical reaction between the glue/adhesive on the B-Sheet and the Toner powder on the A-Sheet.
The B paper adheres the print to the surface indefinitely. Toner prints on fabrics and other materials, both white and colorful, are extremely washable and long-lasting.
- Heat transfers and professional quality transfers are printed.
- In a single pass, the printer prints both white and colored images. This allows the employment of dark and light colored hard and soft goods made from a variety of materials
- Cartridges may be easily replaced thanks to toner ink.
- The toner does not evaporate.
- Due to the toner, minimal maintenance is required, and each cartridge may print a large number of pages (about 7k sheets)
- It's simple to use at home and in the office.
- There is a distinct learning curve.
- not compatible with MAC (without emulator)
- High-quality heat presses and pricey speciality ink cartridges are required.
- Pricing varies with printable materials.
- Step-by-step procedure
It may cost at least USD 3800 if you already have a heat press. Additional costs may incur for heat press.
What to choose between DTF printers, DTG and White Toner Transfer?
DTF printers have a cheaper initial cost and maybe your best option if you are a DIY enthusiast with an industrial shop. DTG though is great with kinds of cotton, its lack of options makes it difficult to work within the comparison to the latter two printers. WTT is definitely the superior option if you want something that requires little maintenance and is reliable, as well as support. Both technologies will improve in the future. For WTT and DTF printers, there will be softer, stretchier adhesives.
If you still have confusion and need more help with decisions, we are here to address your concerns. Simply leave us your inquiry in the comment sections.
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