There is no particular technology that’s ranked “King of Printing.” Different shops that have gone through the initial start-up stage came to notice that there is no proven or specific thing that the customers want or that which can print on every possible material. Or anything that can solve all customization problems.
Every single technology on the market will have pros and cons. But with this DTF technology being the latest tech on most customers’ buy list — what can be the cons of having a DTF printer?
Can or is DTF technology going to take over the custom T-shirt printing market? Or maybe make the kind of impact that the famous white toner printers made three or four years back (and maybe still making up to date)?
But first, let’s see what we are talking about exactly:
What is DTF technology and how exactly does it work?
The term DTF stands for direct-to-film the same way as the rival is DTG standing for direct-to-garment. Fundamentally, DTF technology involves an inkjet transfer printing process:
inkjet printer + hot-melt “glue” + move film
Try to think of this process as doing the white toner printer moves. Actually, with white toner printers, you print your picture onto a film using a LED printer. After, you heat press that onto some kind of glue-filled sheet. After “marrying,” you have created a ready-to-use full-color move.
But with DTF technology, you print your picture onto a film using an inkjet printer. You then cover it using the famous “hot melt” powder and then dry it. After it’s dried off, you have attained a ready-to-use full-color move.
Though, unlike the white toner transfer printing, there are wider format DTF printer options. Because with an inkjet printer that has been converted to DTF, it’s always been a manual, one-transfer-at-per-time procedure.
But there is also the presence of the 24″ ROLL printers that are designed for DTF. For approximately the exact prices as the well-known standard DTG printer for example the DTG G4 or Epson or Brother DTG.
Which is better DTG or DTF?
In simple words — if you have £30K-£35K in your wallet and you get an idea of opening your very own custom T-shirt business, which one should you choose? Is DTG still best? The short answer is no — and 10% yes.
But before you make decisions, you need to know the rival of DTF printers. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Advantages of having DTF printing technology over DTG printing
Commercial DTF printers are super-fast
For example, you can print over 300 2″ X 4″ logo transfers in about 10 minutes with the commercial, high volume DTF printer, like the famous Digital-Heat FX DTF-24H2. That includes the above-mentioned application of hot melt and curing the move with a specific attached unit.
Then comes the famous 15-second heat press to apply it to the shirt.
So, if you wish to get a 500-piece order in and only have one heat press you may need to estimate about 20 seconds by shirt application time etc.
500 pieces x 20 seconds = 100 minutes or approximately 4 hours of application. Then apply the 15 minutes of print time and you will notice it to be quite a fast and more effective way to do or serve the big orders.
Fabric options are MUCH better
You may also apply a DTF transfer to about any possible fabric present on the market. Any color.
A DTF transfer loves polyester shirts. Dark-colored synthetics look pretty good; with intentionally put on light colors too. Pieces of cotton look terrific in any color — even cheap cotton shirts look good! And stretchy materials work too. Here, no patience is required at All.
No size restrictions
Not “no” size restrictions, but if for some explainable reasons, you might need a 24″ X 100″ transfer and possess a heat press that you will need to use in application— DTF roll printing is the best way to go through.
The transfer business
There are a huge number of big companies in the present custom apparel universe that make giant bags of money selling DTF and DTF-style moves.
Because, like DTG and white toner, DTF is a digital process, you may choose to make only one. And since the transfers are super compatible with a big number of substrates, and the heat press requirements are quite minimal, the DTF transfers are amazingly easy for you and your end customer too.
So, DTF transfers have several advantages over the screen-printed ones because you can simply do one-offs. It also possesses advantages over the white toner and sublimation transfers because you can apply them to many fabrics.
At this moment, making moves is not an option for DTG printer users. So that means the whole transfer business opportunity is unavailable to DTG printer owners but will be 100% present to the DTF printer owner.
But you may want to give it a few months and you will some changes to that. The DTF printer will still have the edge because you will be manually applying the hot-melt powder and drying everything separately.
Advantages to DTG printing over DTF printing
With all this in mind – why would you ever choose a DTG printer over a commercial direct-to-film printer for the same price?
You just need to print one shirt
Commercial, roll-fed direct-to-film printers can print just one transfer. But it can be termed as a waste of sq. inches on that 24″ roll of move material
While it is a very efficient way to print 50 plus one-on-one designs in just a single run, it has never been efficient to do just one shirt per day. This is where DTG can be the perfect machine. But with quality, DTF is your page one.
DTG prints beautiful pictures
A DTF printer looks amazing — bright colors, excellent gradations, and some unbelievable fade too. But direct-to-garment produces better-quality prints. And it is termed unique in its possibility to create custom fades to nothing, and smoke or even flame effects because it prints right onto the T-shirt.
All transfer printers give in the same limits — the transfer may end somewhere. Not so for the DTG.
This still doesn’t change DTF’s Intention of hitting the Top on the market.
DTG feels amazing
DTF technology probably produces one of the softest feels any transfer technology could ever offer. It doesn’t feel “plasticky” at all. But you can still tell it is still present.
DTG technology prints, especially when printing on light clothing without the white ink, feels like the shirt. That is as good as you could ever wish for if you’re decorating an already manufactured garment. DTF is the lower power in this sect
What is the best printer for me?
If you own a home-based business or a simple smaller shop that deals in selling custom T-shirts in the dozens, or maybe hundreds, you should seriously consider a direct-to-film printer technology.
DTG is a mature technology that produces great results but takes much time.
On the other hand, if you are a high-volume printer that makes hundreds or thousands of custom T-shirts per day, multiple placements, tags, etc. then a commercial DTF should be on your “A” list to check out.
According to the above, DTF is the best solution for you.
And especially if right now you are on your way to considering a high-volume DTG technology —you owe it to yourself to check out why a similar and high-volume DTF printer may be a better or even best option.