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From past 2-3 Months I'm planning to build a DTG for myself.
All of a sudden I'm seeing the DTF going viral maybe because of the lower investment cost. I feel the DTF would be much easier for printing on multiple apparels without a need of changing platens. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

I am confused whether to go for DTG or DTF

Please help me with some of the many questions I have in this topic:

1. Cost per print of DTG and DTF?
2. Maintenance cost of both?
3. Which gives the better print quality?

 

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1 hour ago, Chetan B said:

From past 2-3 Months I'm planning to build a DTG for myself.
All of a sudden I'm seeing the DTF going viral maybe because of the lower investment cost. I feel the DTF would be much easier for printing on multiple apparels without a need of changing platens. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

I am confused whether to go for DTG or DTF

Please help me with some of the many questions I have in this topic:

1. Cost per print of DTG and DTF?
2. Maintenance cost of both?
3. Which gives the better print quality?

 

1. about the same, DTF uses much less ink( about 1/3rd for me, plus the ink is almost half the cost of DTG ink at the moment)  no pre-treatment. But to offset that, your spending money now on film and powder. depending on your print size and film cost, DTF may be a bit more expensive. Time wise, they take about the same amount of time. 

2. about the same, you really only shake the cartridges, print with it, and clean the capping station/print-head with a foam swab either way.

3. DTG offers next to no hand feel, DTF can be thin or thick, soft or plastic-y depending on how you press it. 

 

The end result is kind of like a plastisol transfer. It's definitely a heavier hand. I know my customers have come to expect a certain quality from me using Screen-printing and DTG. If I switched to DTF, I'd get a ton of complaints. People try to get away from the thick, heavy, prone to peeling aspect of things. I continuously get contacted about how awesome it is that I don't use vinyl, and have actually gotten quite a bit of business from word of mouth over it. I'm not saying DTF peels, I'm simply saying at the end user level, it's obviously a " heat pressed" print, and people generally associate that with the price point and overall quality. 

Do the transfer right, lightly powdered, and proper ink levels and it can come out very soft and smooth as well. The larger the print, the more noticeable it will be though. I have managed to do a few that are hardly discernible from each other compared to DTG.

Imagine it like this: For DTG you have a print that soaks into the fabric for the most part, but the ink layer is super thin, flexible. The pre-treatment washes away afterwards.

Screenprinting, you push the ink into the fabric, and leave a small deposit on top, again a very thin layer of flexible ink, but depending on how you do it, can be extremely thick or thin as well, it's up to you. I make mine as thin as possible, and it comes out very well. 

DTF is using the same aspect, if it were only ink, like the above two methods, it would be as equally as soft. However, your basically adding plastic to the wet ink in a layer on the back. Then that plastic is pressed into the shirt as an adhesive. So now, instead of the ink adhering itself like the other two methods, it now has a layer of plastic under it.

At the moment, there is no way around this plastic, and you can feel it. how to manage to apply that, makes a huge difference. 

 

In short, Screen printing is the cheapest, DTG is the most versatile, DTF is the easiest. The quality of each reflect that. Some people will love it, some people will hate it, some people will sink thousands into it and decide to use something else just like everything else new that pops up in this market. In the last almost 5 years, I have seen at least 4 new " WOW"  products come along and disappear. 

 

If you are looking for a reputable way to start a business and want to maintain a quality product, you will not solely use DTF transfers. It's great for an addition to DTG/Screen-printing. You can absolutely use it for that purpose though, that is up to you. But to compare them in this aspect, based on how easy it is to maintain, and the cost, isn't the only thing you need to think about.

The BEST way for anyone to decide if they should use which method, Get samples of DTG, samples of DTF, Samples of Screenprinted materials. Compare them all, ask your friends blindly which they like, and which they would pay money for before putting potentially thousands of dollars into something that might end up as a bust in your eyes. At the end of the day, only you are responsible for what you spend your money on. 

Edited by johnson4
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