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So I have had a dye sublimation set up for years and the lack of the ability to lay down white under the color has been a draw back.  I don't print professionally so I really didn't keep up with the different technologies.  I was going to do a pretty decent dye sublimation order and I discovered DTF and I have a few questions.

Is the XP 15000 good enough to use as a 13X9 printer for a hobby printer.  I like that the carts can be swapped with cleaning carts and the printer put up "clean"

I see people say the shake their white ink daily, does the bottle in storage need that much attention?  I can just throw the cartridge on a tube rocker on a timer... a bottle might be a little much for a tube rocker.

I have seen people curing the glue on their heat press just leaving it open, I have a 16X20 Geo knight press, is this method reliable to set the glue or should I get an oven for it?

I have gotten my Dye Sub supplies from Cobra for years, but I see people here referencing DTFsuperstore or direct from China.  I have imported stuff from China, but I don't think I want to do this with DTF supplies, especially at the quantities I would use.  Has anyone used Cobra?  

For software, obviously I don't want to spend a few hundred dollars for a hobby, can Gutenrip do everything I need?  Is there another free/cheap option?  I see references to old versions of Acrorip but I haven't seen anything cheaper than a few hundred bucks.

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4 hours ago, kcinnick said:

So I have had a dye sublimation set up for years and the lack of the ability to lay down white under the color has been a draw back.  I don't print professionally so I really didn't keep up with the different technologies.  I was going to do a pretty decent dye sublimation order and I discovered DTF and I have a few questions.

Is the XP 15000 good enough to use as a 13X9 printer for a hobby printer.  I like that the carts can be swapped with cleaning carts and the printer put up "clean"

it can be, it will last a few months if taken care of correctly. The 15000 is a fast printer, but has its quirks. Sublimation ink is the same as standard dye ink to the printer, DTF, however needs quite a bit of daily attention using white ink. 

4 hours ago, kcinnick said:

I see people say the shake their white ink daily, does the bottle in storage need that much attention?  I can just throw the cartridge on a tube rocker on a timer... a bottle might be a little much for a tube rocker.

not only the cartridges, the bottles, the capping station, wiper, all these things need cleaned and maintained. Anything with white ink- needs shaken daily. If you plan to use it very seldom- you’ll likely be better off using a new set of cartridges each time. The foam in them doesn’t allow for the white ink to mix, so printing with it every other day is important. 

4 hours ago, kcinnick said:

 

I have seen people curing the glue on their heat press just leaving it open, I have a 16X20 Geo knight press, is this method reliable to set the glue or should I get an oven for it?

this is just a cheap work around that gives cheap results. It doesn’t work well, or efficient. It also doesn’t allow you to vent the toxic fumes correctly. While a heat press would work, it would take almost 5 Minutes per transfer, and likely wouldn’t cure the ink entirely. 

 

4 hours ago, kcinnick said:

I have gotten my Dye Sub supplies from Cobra for years, but I see people here referencing DTFsuperstore or direct from China.  I have imported stuff from China, but I don't think I want to do this with DTF supplies, especially at the quantities I would use.  Has anyone used Cobra?  
 

small to large scale, places like DTFSUPERSTORE would be your best bet for consistency and quality. 

4 hours ago, kcinnick said:

For software, obviously I don't want to spend a few hundred dollars for a hobby, can Gutenrip do everything I need?  Is there another free/cheap option?  I see references to old versions of Acrorip but I haven't seen anything cheaper than a few hundred bucks.

I doubt it would work.

 

 

If your not going to use it often enough to justify the costs, just buy the DTF transfers from someone. They run about $3.50 a Sq ft or less. It’s not easy, it’s not at all like sublimation. The printer requires consistent maintenance, good inks, film and powder. If you import, plan on spending a few months and 500+ testing brands that will likely change in quality from overseas. 
 

in the end, you’ll spend quite a bit DIY. One mistake, and the printer is gone. I haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t destroyed a printer, even multiple, in the beginning. Some people just never get it right. 
 

 

been there done that. Cheaping out on everything- is just asking for failure. 
 

for $2,000-$3,000 you could have a decent setup. 
 

for $1,000, you could have a decent hand processed setup. 
 

Good luck! 

Edited by johnson4
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11 hours ago, johnson4 said:

Cheaping out on everything- is just asking for failure. 
 

for $2,000-$3,000 you could have a decent setup. 
 

for $1,000, you could have a decent hand processed setup. 
 

Good luck! 

I don't necessarily want to cheap out, I just don't want to spend more than I need to for a non commercial set up.  I would love to know what you recommend in with that $1000 setup.  Also, would it make more sense to buy a pricier printer that is supported by Acrorip to save on the software side.  I also see EKprint is full featured as a unlimited demo with a watermark, for personal use that might be a way to go, there has to be a way to have the water mark print on a different layer and just never print that layer.

The value I like in having my own printing set up is to make what I want, when I want.  T shirts for kids parties, school events, concerts, etc. is popular with the family.

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1 hour ago, kcinnick said:

I don't necessarily want to cheap out, I just don't want to spend more than I need to for a non commercial set up.  I would love to know what you recommend in with that $1000 setup.  Also, would it make more sense to buy a pricier printer that is supported by Acrorip to save on the software side.  I also see EKprint is full featured as a unlimited demo with a watermark, for personal use that might be a way to go, there has to be a way to have the water mark print on a different layer and just never print that layer.

The value I like in having my own printing set up is to make what I want, when I want.  T shirts for kids parties, school events, concerts, etc. is popular with the family.


to me, not paying for and using the bare minimum required for the process is cheaping out is what I meant. I’m not saying being frugal is bad, I recommend it. But there are just some things you don’t cheap out on. If you do, it will cause the entire aspect to just be a failure. 
 

imagine a 6 step process, and each process has 3 price points. 
 

price point one- DIY 

this will inherently require a ton of time and learning, and always has a downfall. Not knowing everything about the specific function this aspect should do, will result in a learning experience, or mistake, which costs time and money. 

price point two- entry level quality

a lower quality( but priced appropriately) but acceptable pre made/built device made to do the intended function. Likely will run into some tinkering to get it right, but the fundamentals are there. 

price point three- semi-professional quality

A decently made and put together object to out of the box so the required function. 
 

 

 

 

choosing price point one on all 6 steps will inherently lead to failure, a lot of time and likely more money wasted than if you went to price point 2. 

 

my point is, purchasing Acro isn’t that much. $400 for software that will work with quite a few printers and comes in a dongle to resell or switch around on computers is a good investment. 
 

Using illegal software is obviously illegal, requires a headache to install on newer OS’s, and ALWAYS has bugs, which you’ll find out eventually. 
 

trying to bypass EKprints demo mode will yield a big waste of time. He made the program in 2005, and likely isn’t dumb enough to allow someone to easily remove the watermark. Because you can’t. It’s in the main .cab file, behind the main programs password/encryption. protecting his software is likely more important than selling it. No, you can’t put it on another layer. No the demo cannot be activated it is permanently a demo. Unless you are a software hacker, in which case, I don’t think you would be here. 
 

an xp-15000 is $350 ( price point 1)

Acro software is $400 ( price point 3)

OR illegal buggy hacked acro- $40 from China or “ free” on the net ( price point 1)

3 sets of refillable ink cartridges is $25 ( price point 3)

an oven for curing that you modify- $100 ( price point 1)

a fan and ducting to vent outside- $50 ( price point 1)

 output tray- $50( price point 3) 

OR output tray-$5( price point 1)

waste tank resetter- $25 ( price point 3) 

$1000 plus supplies given you have a heat press if you want to press them.
 

A blend of DIY and pre built, so you can focus on being successful and dealing with the problems  you’ll face from all the not price point 3 options.  people that have with a full price point 4 setup( commercial) have plenty of issues and can take months to get worked out and going, so image if your basically doing everything from the ground up. 
 

 

the value to you is worth nothing but cheap clothing/gifts, but you could sell them and make tens of thousands from this $1,000 setup.
 

For $350 you could easily buy 100 12x12 transfers, just for the cost of the $350 printer alone. So if you really intend on just making them for friends and family, and saving money, you would need to buy and gift over 300 shirts to break even without the cost of supplies. to me, that would take years.
 

The 15000 printer won’t last but a few months.
 

if you just want to go cheap, stick with sublimation, printable iron on transfers or some other cheap out of the box method. Because what I mentioned above is about as cheap as you are going to get and still be at all successful with it. 
 

Been there, done that. 
 

good luck! 


 

 

 

 

Edited by johnson4
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I will add, if it were between EKprint, acro, and Cadlink- being the same price- EKprint is the most expensive and worst deal. 
 

Cadlink is far superior to both.
 

acro is $395 and has known bugs with the 15000, but has a dongle license and fully transferable/resellable. Works on a ton of models and can easily swap it around- it’s a dongle. 
 

Cadlink is $395, has a ton of preset print ready supported printers with tons of extras. Also dongle or product key activation. Get the dongle and you can always sell/swap around in the future.
 

ekprint is $350- works for only that one PC, and ONLY that specific printer model. Only one activation. The 3 activation version is $500-$750, with a $100 transfer fee if you tried to sell it with the remaining two activations. These extra 2 activations are for reinstalling purposes only. Go with the one activation for $350 and your PC crash- you’ll have to pay another $350 to activate it again. 
 

ekprint is old and outdated and I won’t recommend it to anyone anymore, even though I used it for 6 years and still use it. it’s expensive, outdated, lacks color profiling features, lacks tons of options that make DTF easy, on top of that it’s limited to one printer model, and one computer- period. So you’ll have to buy the program again if you decide to go with a different printer, and it cannot be resold, unless you sell the whole PC. 
 

I also own Acro and Cadlink. I would recommend both, but being the same price, Cadlink is far superior in features, while Acro is far superior in simplicity and constant updates. Cadlink is known to produce grainy prints, while Acro is easily profiled and does great out of the box. 
 

pick your poison basically. 

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20 hours ago, johnson4 said:

I will add, if it were between EKprint, acro, and Cadlink- being the same price- EKprint is the most expensive and worst deal. 
 

Cadlink is far superior to both.
 

acro is $395 and has known bugs with the 15000, but has a dongle license and fully transferable/resellable. Works on a ton of models and can easily swap it around- it’s a dongle. 
 

Cadlink is $395, has a ton of preset print ready supported printers with tons of extras. Also dongle or product key activation. Get the dongle and you can always sell/swap around in the future.
 

ekprint is $350- works for only that one PC, and ONLY that specific printer model. Only one activation. The 3 activation version is $500-$750, with a $100 transfer fee if you tried to sell it with the remaining two activations. These extra 2 activations are for reinstalling purposes only. Go with the one activation for $350 and your PC crash- you’ll have to pay another $350 to activate it again. 
 

ekprint is old and outdated and I won’t recommend it to anyone anymore, even though I used it for 6 years and still use it. it’s expensive, outdated, lacks color profiling features, lacks tons of options that make DTF easy, on top of that it’s limited to one printer model, and one computer- period. So you’ll have to buy the program again if you decide to go with a different printer, and it cannot be resold, unless you sell the whole PC. 
 

I also own Acro and Cadlink. I would recommend both, but being the same price, Cadlink is far superior in features, while Acro is far superior in simplicity and constant updates. Cadlink is known to produce grainy prints, while Acro is easily profiled and does great out of the box. 
 

pick your poison basically. 

Can you print roll for xp-15000 with cadlink?

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Ok, I took some time to think about things and I still want to do this.

One of the reasons is I read that the Hand is better than anything (well except sublimation which has NONE), and I really think good hand makes the shirt.  I use to print shirts for my old business, and we paid for the entire set up, shirts and supplies in 1 weekend.  I also printed stuff for local clubs I was in, basically getting a better shirt, full color for the price of the cheapest cotton T and one color printing.

I don't mind spending more on a printer if that will make my experience better.  I am going to dig into this next.  Also, the XP15000 is $250 refurbished and from my experience Epson just sends you a replacement printer if you have the slightest issue with a refurb.   So I kind of wish they still made the P400 as that seems to be the popular pick, but I will look around.

The biggest expense is a good press, and I have that. 

If I need to print every day or every other day I will just print and cure the glue and not press the image.  This is in my room with my 3d printers so I am in there a lot anyway.

I am going to grab a tube rocker from the lab, can I not just take the sponge out of the white ink cart and set it on the rocker on a timer to keep the ink mixed?

 

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1 hour ago, kcinnick said:

Ok, I took some time to think about things and I still want to do this.

One of the reasons is I read that the Hand is better than anything (well except sublimation which has NONE), and I really think good hand makes the shirt.  I use to print shirts for my old business, and we paid for the entire set up, shirts and supplies in 1 weekend.  I also printed stuff for local clubs I was in, basically getting a better shirt, full color for the price of the cheapest cotton T and one color printing.

I don't mind spending more on a printer if that will make my experience better.  I am going to dig into this next.  Also, the XP15000 is $250 refurbished and from my experience Epson just sends you a replacement printer if you have the slightest issue with a refurb.   So I kind of wish they still made the P400 as that seems to be the popular pick, but I will look around.

The biggest expense is a good press, and I have that. 

If I need to print every day or every other day I will just print and cure the glue and not press the image.  This is in my room with my 3d printers so I am in there a lot anyway.

I am going to grab a tube rocker from the lab, can I not just take the sponge out of the white ink cart and set it on the rocker on a timer to keep the ink mixed?

 

The hand with DTF is really good, IF you have the process down. Usually, from my experience, you get the best hand with a shaker. Doing it by hand, it's hard to smack the film equally the same at the same pressure across the whole print. BUT with experience it's possible.

 

Yea, I have never had a bad experience with refurbs, well one time but they replaced it immediately. 

 

I think you should invest in a better printer then, like the P400, or P800. The xp-15000 isn't ideal if you can go a better route. For the white ink, you just pick it up, shake it for 10 seconds everyday. 

 

no on the cartridges- unless you want to make a giant mess and likely ruin the cartridge, it's integrated. 

 

I highly recommend the P400 in your situation.

 

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3 hours ago, kcinnick said:

I am tempted to buy a P700 and sit on it until it is supported.  Looking for a P400... is not fun.

It's not. But, the P700 isn't going to be good eaither if it's anything like the p600. I'd go for the P900. ( All opinion, I have no idea)

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2 hours ago, johnson4 said:

It's not. But, the P700 isn't going to be good eaither if it's anything like the p600. I'd go for the P900. ( All opinion, I have no idea)

I thought the p700 and P900 were basically the same except for the size?  When you jump to a P900 then the P5000 starts looking reasonable...  hopefully a used P400 will fall in my lap

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2 hours ago, kcinnick said:

I thought the p700 and P900 were basically the same except for the size?  When you jump to a P900 then the P5000 starts looking reasonable...  hopefully a used P400 will fall in my lap

The p600 vs the p800, definitely not the only difference. 
 

likely the same for the new versions, aside

from the tiny carts. 
 

I personally would have went with the p5000 if I had the spare cash. I think I’m alright at figuring things out, but at $1700, not something I can do for fun. 
 


 

 

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I have been looking at just about any printer with Software support and it looks like the L805, ET8550 and XP 15000 are just about the only ones available under $1k...  I am still looking, but it looks like the 805 and 15000 tank systems may be a drawback for what I want to do, or will head cleanings be enough to purge the lines between prints if I am idle for a bit.

 

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33 minutes ago, kcinnick said:

I have been looking at just about any printer with Software support and it looks like the L805, ET8550 and XP 15000 are just about the only ones available under $1k...  I am still looking, but it looks like the 805 and 15000 tank systems may be a drawback for what I want to do, or will head cleanings be enough to purge the lines between prints if I am idle for a bit.

 

The 805 and 8550 both have those major drawbacks. The 15000 is the last thing, which does have the issue of leaky carts sometmes.

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2 hours ago, johnson4 said:

The 805 and 8550 both have those major drawbacks. The 15000 is the last thing, which does have the issue of leaky carts sometmes.

Thanks, looks like I am going to have a draw back somewhere.

Anyway, I am looking at ovens while I wait for a printer, any recommendations where to start.  I just assumed convection would be best but it looks like most commercial units only heat from the top or bottom.  I searched, but I didn't see much pop up.

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58 minutes ago, kcinnick said:

Thanks, looks like I am going to have a draw back somewhere.

Anyway, I am looking at ovens while I wait for a printer, any recommendations where to start.  I just assumed convection would be best but it looks like most commercial units only heat from the top or bottom.  I searched, but I didn't see much pop up.

This is an area I don’t have any experience in. 
 

The shaker I made heated from the bottom and it worked fine, and the mini shaker I bought heats from the top only and it works fine, if that helps. 

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3 hours ago, anum11 said:

I liked xp-15000 so far, i just plugged a ciss system if it works well, there will be no drawbacks with it.

You’ll quickly realize the drawbacks with it, once you rely on it. Especially with a Ciss system and aftermarket carts, unless they have fixed them. 

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1 hour ago, johnson4 said:

You’ll quickly realize the drawbacks with it, once you rely on it. Especially with a Ciss system and aftermarket carts, unless they have fixed them. 

 

4 hours ago, anum11 said:

I liked xp-15000 so far, i just plugged a ciss system if it works well, there will be no drawbacks with it.

I was leaning towards the cheap option of the XP-15000 because the availability of the printers I want to use, the P400, P800 are just non existent. After joining some FB groups and seeing how many people have issues with this printer I am steering clear.  It seems all of the issues result in DEAD printers, not a repair, not some tinkering, just a straight up dead printer.

I am leaning towards the ET 8550 right now, hoping one pops up in the refurb shop at Epson while I figure out this oven curing deal.  Nobody on Alixpress has a 13X19 oven, or even a 13" wide oven... the US versions are $600+ so I am trying to research my curing options.  I might just try the heatpress cure method to start with if I find a suitable printer.  I am fairly certain an oven can be made, either from a heat press or just a heat pad or heat lamps and a suitable enclosure.

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1 hour ago, kcinnick said:

 

I was leaning towards the cheap option of the XP-15000 because the availability of the printers I want to use, the P400, P800 are just non existent. After joining some FB groups and seeing how many people have issues with this printer I am steering clear.  It seems all of the issues result in DEAD printers, not a repair, not some tinkering, just a straight up dead printer.

I am leaning towards the ET 8550 right now, hoping one pops up in the refurb shop at Epson while I figure out this oven curing deal.  Nobody on Alixpress has a 13X19 oven, or even a 13" wide oven... the US versions are $600+ so I am trying to research my curing options.  I might just try the heatpress cure method to start with if I find a suitable printer.  I am fairly certain an oven can be made, either from a heat press or just a heat pad or heat lamps and a suitable enclosure.

If you go into it knowing it’s disposable- the 15000 is a good option overall, but like I said the carts aren’t going to be able to sit like your usage entails. But they are cheap and you can always try it yourself. The cartridges overseas are like $5 a set. I used one for a few weeks, little over a month and roll printed very heavily with it, and it worked well. It’s documented here on the site from back in the middle of last year.
 

Even if you had to replace your two white cartridges weekly, that’s $5 for 6 carts- or 3 weeks worth if you do end up having issues with it or like $7 a month in carts. 
 

I actually have a new one sitting here, I’m making damper adapters for it so I can use a CISS and bypass the cartridge seals. Using a caliper, I did verify all the aftermarket sets of cartridges don’t align or sit the same as stock where it seals, and the seal on the Epson is hollow. I planned to make an auto resetting ink/waste counter for it as well. The 15000 prints as fast as the p400/p600/p800. The only problem- aftermarket carts suck. 
 

some people said to use an xp600 manifold in it, but I have an xp600 and it’s not close to being the same. 
 

the 8550 is an ecotank, so I’m confused how you’ll shake the ink, and purge the ink lines, maybe shake the whole printer and then use a syringe to pull the ink through the dampers, or empty it every other day mix and reinstall. 
 

the guy who did it with the 8550 ran into quite a few problems with it. trying to get popular on YouTube and social media, so he  made it seem like it was just a perfect printer. He always printed a pink doughnut with arms. 
 

the issues I saw with him have with it was:

1. It didn’t detect the film sheets correctly

2. No roll printing support( which really lowers waste) 

3. He said he didn’t shake his white ink at all, just used a syringe to suck it out bi weekly to add fresh ink( something like that). 

4. he RMA’d it twice, before complaining about it and going to the 15000. 

5. it was as slow as the l1800. 
 

 

I don’t know first hand at all though I’m the 8550, for the price it just wasn’t worth it to me.  I do know if you don’t shake your white ink and purge the ink lines every few days, it just won’t work well after a few weeks-month. 
 

whatever you do,  we’d love to hear how it goes. 

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the whole “ dead printer” is from the leaky/aftermarket carts leaking ink on the printhead connections. If you go that route Make sure they seat well and  clean up any spills. I added silicone to mine, so ink couldn’t leak down in there. 
 

Every printer model will have a huge list of failures, and successes. It’s because it’s literally on the person trying to operate it, almost all of them starting out with no clue. BUT seeing how they failed, and learning from that, goes a long way. 
 

136000 or something like that means ink had got into the printhead connections, which was most peoples issue. That and several people tried to sell them as a cheap DIY kit for $1,000-$2,000, so alot of people bought them thinking they were push button.

Edited by johnson4
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Ok, maybe I'll grab a 15000.

I was looking at stirrers for the white ink tanks on the 8550.  I'd prefer cartridges for what I want to do, I'll can just swap the white with a cleaner cartridge when I am not using it.  Honestly I was only leaning towards the 8550 because it is AVAILABLE.  I didn't realize it was slow, I just assumed it was up to speed with the other current printers out there.  

I wonder if I could print some TPU seals for the 15000... I hope a p400 falls in my lap at a good price.

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