T-shirt printing - which equipment to use?

Discussion in 'Products & Trends' started by TimTravis, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. TimTravis

    TimTravis

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Greetings!!

    I am ready to open up a custom made t-shirt printing business.

    Wondering which equipment is the best one? I'd go for vinyl heat press since am only starting up.

    I've checked eBay and few other websites where machines start from £150 up to 1k.

    any thoughts on which brand / type would be the best for low volume, good quality prints?

    Cheers
    faysal ahmed likes this.
  2. shopafrolix

    shopafrolix Banned Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    Messages:
    4,668
    the 'traditional' method of printing onto shirts is going to be extinct very soon. Its now called DTG printing, Direct to Garment, which uses a printer to print straight onto the shirts etc. Brother do one at £13k, and there's software that you can build into a website so customers can design their own shirts, and you just print them. There's one on ebay at the moment for £6k 'ish . . . . . wish I had a spare £6k !
  3. Tallboy76

    Tallboy76

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    27
    Have a look on this forum for more info http://www.t-shirtforums.com/

    http://www.howtostartaclothingcompany.com/screen-printing-plastisol-transfers/

    If you are using designs that you have made yourself, do a search for plastisol transfers, there are companies that will do runs of your design (think you will have a MOQ of about 100 off them) as plastisol ink transfers.They are screen printed on to transfer paper, so you will just need a heat press to apply them. Price depends on the number of colours in your design. Email them for a sample pack, of the range of transfers they do.

    Good luck Des
    p.s do a search on youtube, plenty of videos on there for the different methods.
  4. Meeko

    Meeko

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    111
    If DTG is going to be extinct soon what are the future printer methods?
  5. Tallboy76

    Tallboy76

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    27
    He means DTG is the future, its the traditional methods that are going to be extinct :)
  6. classicsports

    classicsports

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    europa make the best printing machines, all different types but there known for been the best
  7. chloeelvis

    chloeelvis

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    6
    DTG would be fine for print. This traditional machine would be fine.
  8. Dave Casuals

    Dave Casuals

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,888
    Having started my t-shirt business in 2002 I now have finally closed the doors on it and only do very limited bits for a few people...times have changed especially on ebay. When I started I was doing football casual themed shirts and novelty funny slogan well before many hundreds of others jumped on ebay and coming in at half the price most of us others were selling them for. I couldn't turn it into a viable business even though I hooked up with a major plain garment/t-shirt supplier doing their customer custom printing, so kept it as a secondary business. You can make thousands a month on ebay if you go down the un-official t-shirt route and that was one thing I always stayed well away from, and I'm still suprised that so many sellers get away with selling unofficial trademarked/copyright clothing. Only recently did I see an ex forum member that was well known on here as a paid advertiser for custom printing get over 1000 feedback on ebay in just the last month all made from selling unofficial shirts and the majority from printing 'Monster Enery' t-shirts and hoodies...selling for £10.00-£20.00 a go, so he's raking it in, but before this was doing next to nothing without selling unofficial lines...they are fake and it's illegal but so many have jumped on this and other unofficial lines that I don't know why ebay don't do anything so generally everyone thinks custom printing on ebay is a very profitable business, but not really if you choose to stay on the right side of what is official.

    Getting back to your original question, vinyl is the best method for low cost and low MOQ printing. DTG is not really a viable solution due to the start up costs. I'm not sure on ink but most DTG printers I know charge a fair bit for 1 off t-shirts. Screen printing will always be around, but it's just not hands on anymore. There are screen printing machines, but screens still have to be made the traditional way. Only issue with vinyl printing is using the best vinyl and also getting yourself a decent press and vinyl cutter. My first vinyl cutter was imported from germany, but obviously came from china and was a secabo, but wasn't brilliant and I paid £650 for it at the time. But it did the job. However, only buy a branded heatpress and new. Have come across to many stories of cheap unbranded machines with heating elements not working properly or breaking and so obviously putting out the incorrect heat, so not fully fixing vinyl to garment...meaning down the line when washed vinyl is peeling early which isn't a good thing.
  9. TimTravis

    TimTravis

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Thanks all, esp Dave. Appreciate your time and help.

    Dave, would it be possible for you to recommend any vinyl cutter and heat press brands over here? I tried to PM you but dont think I have that option enabled. Is there any other way I can contact you as I seem to be heading the way you did and can learn a lot from your experience.

    Cheers
  10. shopafrolix

    shopafrolix Banned Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    Messages:
    4,668
    for vinyl plotters stick to Roland, any model any age, whatever anyone else says, they're the best and most reliable. Others worth looking at are summagraphics/summacut, Gerber, Graphtec, Creation, Mutoh, and stick to the most popular size of 610mm wide. I have Roland Camm-1 CX-24 and an old pnc1000, both still working great.
  11. daniel5

    daniel5

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1
  12. ASL Express

    ASL Express

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    570
    Hi

    I used to print T-Shirt and Hoodies for my uni, we the machinary quite cheap form Ace apparel or Ace machinary i think, ther're UK based but source them from China. Not sure how long it would last though.
  13. JermaineR8

    JermaineR8

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,401
  14. turt

    turt

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    Messages:
    156
    I used to screen print, I used a uv light box (about £150 second hand), if you are doing high quantity and prints that have more than 1 colour you will need a carousel unit to hold the different colour screens for quick and precise positioning (around £250), alot of screen mesh to make your screens which is relatively cheap, dye, screen wash and also uv fluid. For making the screens you can use a jig to tension the mesh which most people seem to make themselves out of wood, very tedious process but there are various tutorials on the net, or you can buy metal screens which are quite expensive but you can change the mesh on them as you please. And of course photoshop, plastic paper (forgotten what it's called), an a3 monotone laser printer, and of course plenty of patience!

    Oh and a jet wash to spray the screens after exposure
    craftystylez likes this.
  15. JermaineR8

    JermaineR8

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,401
    Thanks for the info
  16. fashion uk

    fashion uk

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    484
    DTG is the way forward imo especially the way fashion is going, With Vinyl Cutters your limited to designs, don't get me wrong Vinyl Printing is ok for say Stag & Hen but you really are going to be one of thousands already playing the game and the money ain't in it like it use to be and so much undercutting, people are prepared to print and make 30p a t-shirt for instance, then relise after 6 Months they are losing money so they go and the next bedroom seller comes along.

    Try and get yourself a 2nd hand DTG and then you can not only do Stag & Hen type t-shirts but also create some real fashion designs.
  17. JermaineR8

    JermaineR8

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,401
    Do you have a DTG printer? If so, which one
  18. fashion uk

    fashion uk

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    484
    Brother GT541.
    The don't come cheap, for a new one your looking at around £10k-£15k, I'd recommend getting a 2nd hand one if you can find it for under £7k. There are a few places that offer finance or rent but you'll pay double in the long run.

    Ink ain't cheap either but you can get plenty of runs from them* see below
    Create some eyecatching designs and you can sell the t-shirts for more than you would with say a t-shirt with a slogan design or stag party etc.

    * For a fairly standard print your talking maybe £1.50 worth of Ink and for a fairly standard t-shirt £1.50. Vinyl Flex nowdays is about £1.40 with VAT a Sheet if your using a fairly standard small cutting machine.


    This place often does used Machines http://www.yesltd.co.uk/product.asp?pid=1538
    If you want New I have heard good things about the Viper http://www.yesltd.co.uk/product.asp?pid=1085 which is ideal for small business.
    craftystylez likes this.
  19. fashion uk

    fashion uk

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    484
    Forgot to say also, I'd look away from standard crew-neck t-shirts and go for something a little different so you can be different from thousands of others, especially on eBay.

    I don't wanna give all the secrets away as I am trying to make money too but if you look for say V-Neck t-shirts and especially Mens SCOOP Neck as these are very very popular at present, you pay more per t-shirt but you can charge more for the design.

    And if using a DTG Machine think about different shades of Grey for the design and one striking piece of Colour. For example if you took a picture of a sexy Woman, Leave all of her Grey apart from the Mouth

    Alot of Art Students are looking to earn extra cash so if you can find a decent designer, offer them Commission but make sure you get a contract saying you own the design.
    craftystylez and cpc like this.
  20. Phari

    Phari

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    455
    When i set up my t-shirt printing company it cost me just under £10K but i did by 2 industrial embroidery machines in that. I have a Roland plotter and i have had it for 10 years and it's been fine. I would recommend Roland to anyone.
    I have a panasonic laser printer that i use for photos to t-shirts. which is about 8 years old and is now getting hard to get parts for but works well.
    I would research carefully what sort of printing you want to do. I admit i went into it not really knowing anything and i did make a few costly mistakes.
    I dont' sell on ebay anymore as Dave says too many people undercutting each other. Selling at silly low prices.
    Maybe look for a niche group, I do quite a but of work for local charitys, althou i do it at cost it brings in other work from word of mouth. In the 10 years i have been trading i have never had to place an advert anywhere.
Back to top

Share This Page