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The BelQuette WeBlog

This is a blog about Direct To Garment(DTG) printing by BelQuette, Inc. Articles range from general information about Direct To Garment printing, to tips, instructions, and tutorials. We will occasionally post about upcoming and past events at BelQuette, but our primary objective is to provide a free source of helpful information for everyone with a Direct To Garment printer, no matter what brand or level of experience they have.

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 The age old question that has plagued man for centuries.  Well, maybe not that long.  What is the best shirt for direct to garment printers? Ringspun cotton or carded cotton. We've answered that question in video form!  Because who reads anymore?  

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EPSON- Digital Factory Apparel (The Rocketeer)

Digital Factory Apparel Epson Edition is developed by Cadlink Technology Corporation. The system is designed to make it very simple for the user to be able to drag and drop their files, straight from the program they are editing in. Importing Designs Directly into Digital Factory Apparel Design files can be imported directly into Digital Factory Apparel, without the need to open the files in their original design applications. Use this workflow where you have a design file that must be printed without having access to the original design application. For example, the customer has sent you a design file, and you need to print the file “as is” without importing it into a design application. Note: The supported image formats are subject to change, though common image formats are supported (e.g., EPS, AI, PDF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF, etc.). For designs that contain an alpha (transparency) channel, the image format should be either PSD, PNG or TIFF.

The diagram shown below shows how easy it is to manage your job. 

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When using preset queues, it will automatically detect and remove black within a design allowing the black fabric to show through. This will save ink and enhance the finished product. BelQuette has developed a custom profile that will help enhance the users images. Saving them time on having to dial in the proper colors and fades for their images. Here is an example of the process we've taken.

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There is a wide range of processed colors and high quality image printing. The conversion of color spaces (RGB to CMYK) will create unwanted color shifts. Since most apparel printers work with CMYK, Digital Factory Apparel Epson Edition is able to provide sought-after color results. Properly using white ink is important for printing images onto black or dark colored fabrics. Digital Factory Apparel Epson Edition’s has advanced the use of layer technology automatically, to create an underbase layer that can be sent to a production queue directly from a design application. When using Digital Factory Apparel, BelQuette was able to dial in some good calculations to make this process simple and easy. Posted below is an image we printed using these calculations. 

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For more information on Digital Factory Apparel contact 1-877-202-0886 oinfo@belquette.com  

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Ever wonder how they put that hilarious TV show quote on your favorite shirt?  Yeah I didn't care much either, but ever since I started DTG printing I noticed myself looking at people's shirts a lot more wondering about the size and quality of every print.  If you're brand new to the industry, DTG can be a little overwhelming at first, but so was riding your first bike.  To help you, here's 5 things to know about DTG written by a DTG beginner.

 

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5.  It's pretty new

We've come a long way in garment printing.  Back in the day they used ancient devices called screen printers.  That's right, they actually did this by hand.  Screen printing is a technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil to receive a desired image.  Screen printing is still widely used today.  It's a lot cheaper than digital printing, easier to print large areas, and the finish is sometimes thicker, which some customers prefer.  On the downside, screen printing isn't ideal for small orders and the set up is just downright ridiculous.  Just look at THIS video and see how much work actually goes into screen printing.  Compared to DTG, screen printing is like trying to read War and Peace while rock climbing.  Direct to Garment printing is a relatively new technology that only began in the early 2000's and is just now hitting its stride.  It's a great time get involved in the DTG industry.  

 

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4.  It's easy but there's a learning curve

Now I'm not going to tell you I was printing out perfect shirts left and right the first day I got my hands on a DTG printer.  Honestly, I must have gone through half a dozen shirts before I got the perfect print I wanted, but it was always something simple I screwed up.  The image was too blurry because the printhead was too far away.  The shirt wasn't pretreated in the correct spot.  The design came out slightly crooked because I loaded it incorrectly.  It almost seemed like the machine knew I was a beginner and it was initiating me like I was a college freshman trying to get into an exclusive fraternity.  DTG seems pretty simple on the outside.  Load the image to the computer, put the shirt in the machine, and press the button.  But there are factors that you normally would not be aware of if you're new to the industry.  So although digital printing is much easier compared to screen printing there is a slight learning curve to overcome, but after that it's smooth sailing.

 

 

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3.  Printing on light garment shirts is so much easier than dark garment shirts

Printing on dark garment shirts isn't exactly splitting the atom, but compared to printing on light shirts it is more difficult and time consuming.  For one thing, pretreat is required if white ink is being used.  That means you have to pretreat the shirt, heat press it, print the image, then heat press it again.  Sounds a lot easier than it really is, but much like #4 on the list...there's a learning curve.  The old way of doing things required you to pretreat your shirts using power sprayers and such.  Luckily I'm new to the DTG industry and am fortunate enough to use a pretreatment machine to do all the work for me.  Some machines allow you to only pretreat the areas you want, saving you time and money.  If you're starting your own business, deciding whether or not to print on dark garments is a huge decision that shouldn't be taken lightly.

 

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2.  There's some maintenance involved 

When you come in the morning there will be maintenance.  When you leave at night there will be maintenance.  If something goes wrong.... you guessed it.  There will be maintenance.  This has mostly to do with the white ink settling down in the lines and clogging up the heads, but if you keep your machine active and maintained there shouldn't be much to worry about.  If you don't want to take responsibility of maintaining the machine everyday, then DTG might not be for you.  The maintenance isn't hard, it just take time.

 

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1.  It's not cheap, but over time it'll pay for itself

Getting into digital garment printing can be a huge financial risk.  The machines are expensive and the cost of supplies & consumables can add up.  Ink costs vary for different companies, but you're looking around $300 per liter of ink which will print out about 750 shirts if using only CMYK and no white ink. Subtract the cost of each print (usually around $0.15 - $0.25).  Then multiply by the square root of an isosceles triangle.  OK, everything but that last part was true, but depending on how much you sell each shirt the machine will eventually pay for itself.  Everything after that is profit. Do your research first and attend a few trade shows like ISS, NBM, or SGIA.  Most of the time vendors will give huge discounts on initial equipment purchases during trade shows, saving you a ton of money.

 

 

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The company that has brought so many advancements in the Direct-to-Garment industry, including putting the power of digital precision into a pretreater with the revolutionary EdgeTM Pretreatment System, is now a proud reseller of the Epson DTG line. We will continue to support our already renowned products with the same service our customers have come to know and trust, and we will also continue to innovate and bring new and exciting products to the market. With the power of the Epson brand, and the DTG workflow solutions that BelQuette is famous for, we are committed to bringing our customers the absolute best in Direct-to-Garment products as we proceed into the future as an integral part of this expanding industry.

See Epson's press release here:

Epson Announces Specialized Reseller Network for New Direct-to-Garment SureColor F2000 Series Printers

See also: Epson is the New Kid in Town...

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Posted by on in DTG Industry

Epson has thrown their hat in the direct to garment ring officially making them the New Kid in Town. I've got one word to say about that (followed by a bunch of other words):

Epsonalidation.

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Posted by on in DTG Industry

 

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In the DTG realm, discussion over the use of re-purposed print heads is commonplace. Some manufacturers question the ability of re-purposed print heads to withstand the rigors of daily printing with direct to garment inks. BelQuette has used re-purposed print heads since the very first Flexi-Jet rolled off of the assembly line. At that time, direct to garment was new, and being that co-owners Brett Weibel and Mark Mombourquette were in part helping to further the technology, a purpose built print head was simply not available. The reality is, print heads are very complicated, and there are only a few companies in the entire world that have the know-how, machinery, and patents to build them. Everyone else must either secure an agreement for the use of a certain model, or re-purpose one that is readily available.

BelQuette incorporated Epson’s DX5 print head into its DTG design plan because of its high resolution and speed capabilities. Not only was the DX5 a very high quality product, but it was also fairly inexpensive, making its use competitively advantageous. After a few very successful years of manufacturing the Flexi-Jet, which was the industry’s first Epson 4800 based flat-bed printer, BelQuette leadership decided to take the things they had learned about DTG printing, and build a faster, and more robust DTG model. One very key thing that was learned from tests during this transition was a proprietary process by which direct to garment ink could be filtered, degassed, and bagged, optimizing its potential in the Epson print head. This proved to be very helpful in reducing clogs and maintenance. When BelQuette introduced the Mod1 printer, it was seen as a major advancement in direct to garment, and set a new standard for the industry in regards to ease of use and maintenance.

Since the time the Mod1 was brought to market nearly 4 ½ years ago, new printers claiming advancements and simplicity have come along. But users continue to confirm that the Mod1 with its re-purposed Epson DX5 print head, and its proprietary BelQuette bagged, degassed, and filtered ink system, is one of the least expensive to operate, and easiest to maintain direct to garment machines available today.

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Posted by on in DTG Industry

We'll be heading out today for our next trade show, ISS (Imprinted Sportswear Show) Fort Worth.

Why do we go to trade shows?

1) We display our products and talk about our company.

2) Potential buyers get a taste of what to expect with our technology.

3) To get the word out about DTG!

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In the early days of Direct to Garment (DTG) printing, manufacturers and distributors of DTG equipment couldn't even offer the option of printing with white ink. It was non-existent, at least on the open market, but soon this new industry would be introduced to white ink printing, in all its glory and major complications.
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Customer, "My DTG printer is not working!!!" 
BQ Support, "What seems to be the problem?" 
Customer, "I can't keep the ink flowing and I constantly am getting head clogs!" 
BQ Support, "What does your wiper blade look like?" 
Customer, "Where's the wiper blade?....."
 
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