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Epson P 400 DTF Build


MiguelH
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Hey guys! First post here and I just thought I'd ask everyone's opinion. 

Im looking to build onto an Epson P400 to complement my custom hat business. I keep getting asked questions for custom shirts and I feel like I'm really leaving money on the table when I turn them away. Ive tried Transfers after transfers but always got a cheap look and feel. I've tried screen printed plastisol transfers but customer service sucked and it takes forever and sublimation is very limited. I e looked into screen printing myself but I don't have pluming or the space in my garage work area. BUT I have space I could put a DTF printer! 

So my shirt orders are going to be anywhere from 1-100 in quantity and probably a lot of single colors.  Not looking to mass produce prints but I do want to be able to get those jobs for my existing customers. 

So, what products would you recommend or wish you would have gone with before you started?

I can find the P400 pretty easy online so that's why I want to go with it and from what I read it can print fast. What about brand of film or a film roll, ink, adhesive powder, curing oven and the best rip software. 

Thanks guys! Any info is much appreciated!!

 

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2 hours ago, MiguelH said:

Hey guys! First post here and I just thought I'd ask everyone's opinion. 

Im looking to build onto an Epson P400 to complement my custom hat business. I keep getting asked questions for custom shirts and I feel like I'm really leaving money on the table when I turn them away. Ive tried Transfers after transfers but always got a cheap look and feel. I've tried screen printed plastisol transfers but customer service sucked and it takes forever and sublimation is very limited. I e looked into screen printing myself but I don't have pluming or the space in my garage work area. BUT I have space I could put a DTF printer! 

So my shirt orders are going to be anywhere from 1-100 in quantity and probably a lot of single colors.  Not looking to mass produce prints but I do want to be able to get those jobs for my existing customers. 

So, what products would you recommend or wish you would have gone with before you started?

I can find the P400 pretty easy online so that's why I want to go with it and from what I read it can print fast. What about brand of film or a film roll, ink, adhesive powder, curing oven and the best rip software. 

Thanks guys! Any info is much appreciated!!

 

I Used the DTFsuperstore inks and supplies on my P400. I ran it for 6 months. I can't say how many prints, it didn't keep count. BUT It was $55,000 Gross ( not profit) worth of transfers before it broke, Which wasn't the printhead, it still worked. Error code 73H, whatever that is. 

for the P400, I roll printed with it, with 17ML carts ( the bigger ones) I could get 35 CMYK+W per set, OR 35 WHITE ONLY AND 35 BLACK ONLY per set. I just had a few prefilled sets and swapped them out, much easier and error proof than a CISS. 

Something to keep in mind, The P400 I ran, When ran 10 hours a day, I needed to add a fan. the heatsink is exposed on the back, so I noticed out the plastic and added a fan to cool it off, otherwise it kept throwing fits after a few hours of constant printing. I would normally print around 100-200 12x12 prints a day, and it printed them about 35 an hour single color, 18 or so CMYK+W. 

I had to use USB connection, because again, after a few hours the WIFI module would overheat and disconnect. 

so The Fan AND USB fixed my issues with it roll printing. 

 

For single color, It's a no brainer and a great choice. you can knock out 100 prints ( with a mini shaker) in less than 2.5 hours, Manually powder and curing them, I have no idea on a " time" but I'd assume around 4 hours. 

 

It's a simple conversion, great printer, I know I pushed it too hard, VERY often and it did fine. Nothing I really wished I would have known, it all came out as I had expected. It's a 15 minutes conversion plus making a roll media adapter for it to fit the film. 

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2 hours ago, MiguelH said:

@johnson4 thank you! I've been lurking here trying to read as much info as I can and I see you're the go to guy. 

Is DTF superstore located in the US? 

As far as software I was thinking Pixel Moshpit for art rasterizing in Photoshop and acroRip to send over to the P400. 

What do you suggest?

No problem.
 

They are located in Arizona. The people who own opendtg also own DTFsuperstore, he started the DTF portion at the end of 2020. very reputable in my book, honest guy with good service. 

 

as for software, I’ve used acro (9.X) Cadlink and EKprint. 

Ekprint is what I mainly use for one color designs, it prints and processes very fast. Basic and easy to use. I open 6 windows per printer. 2 white only, 2 black only, 2 cmykw ( presets I made). So technically it’s 6 instances of the program. As one job is loaded and printed, ( which varies in the design, but always under 10 seconds) I switch the the other window and start working there instead of standing around. I print bulk one offs, so this is ideal for me. Ekprint is locked to that very specific printer model and PC. 
 

Cadlink is my 2nd choice, because it does offer a lot of features, but more importantly it prints great colors- but a bit slower than EKprint. The large amount of options can make it overwhelming at first, alot of things to “ fine tune” sometimes. I still don’t know my way around it perfectly, but I do think it’s a bit more options than is needed for a RIP. You can’t open it twice, but you can PAY to add additional ports for more printers to run at once. License Can be swapped to a new PC easily. 

Acro is my last choice, for the SOLE reason of how slow it processes each print. It has decent all around features and works well, I just never used it much because it can take over a 2 minutes sometimes to process a print job before sending it. You can’t open it more than once, so I’m standing and waiting. 9 can be found for “ free” lots of places. I haven’t tried 10 or the newer versions because I’m told they don’t process any faster. That’s my dealbreaker with acro. 
 

so if that isn’t an issue, acro is good, versatile and prints decent colors. Easy to add a color profile if needed. For one color designs, it wouldn’t have an issue. If you print a bunch of the same designs over and over, it’s not so bad. Me personally, I print 100 different designs daily. 
 

RIPS features really are determined by your needs, so EKprint might not be ideal for you. It is the most expensive of the 3. 

 

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