DIRECT TO GARMENT PRINTING AND THE HARSH REALITY.
It seems like everyday its a new customer complaining about another DTG company, and their DTG equipment. Everyday another name being drug through the mud. In the perfect world this wouldn't be happening. In this world, unfortunately the common misconception of how easy it is to start a new path with new equipment is overwhelming. I see it day in and day out. I know when I first got into DTG I did heavy research, I saw, read, heard the nightmares and still decided to dive in head first without looking back. Am I glad I did? HECK YES! Did I have a rough patch, HECK YES! For some, they just get it. For others, they just don't. And it's not a bad thing at all. With the loads of misinformation being passed along on the web its easy to mess things up.
Tech Support is a huge deal. I see people not happy with the fact that Tech Support isn't available on weekends, or that Tech support is limited, or that they just don't get in touch with Tech Support PERIOD! This is something that should be nailed down in the "Research". Before you make that move. If it's just one little birdie making complaints and you don't hear anybody else really corroborating the same thing, then its probably more than likely that USER that is misrepresenting the facts, and, or the USER that is just being petty.
If it's a lake full of fish saying the same thing, then you may want to consider that as a fact. Before you purchase, be sure to ask your sales agent about their customer service and technical support hours. Ask if there are videos of print head replacements, and part replacements available via the internet. (BECAUSE YES, YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW HOW TO CHANGE YOUR OWN PRINT HEAD! THIS IS PART OF MAINTENANCE UPKEEP. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE PRINTHEAD OUT AND OCCASIONALLY FLUSH THE CHANNELS OR SOAK THE HEAD WHEN NEEDED). And if they are made private, will you be able to have access to them when you need them. If this breaks any kind of warranty then you need to move on to a different printer. Because that is a company that is trying to keep you from learning to fix things on your own, and having to spend $1500 plus for them to fly out, diagnose and repair. And that probably doesn't even include the price of any parts you may need. This is the honest truth.
When owning a DTG printer, you should learn to take your parts out and replace them when needed. You should learn what different parts in your printer are for, and what role they play. The more you understand about your printer, the better you will be when the time comes for troubleshooting. For example, encoder strips. This is what your printhead reads to be able to know where it is, know its stopping points, and know where to drop ink down. It's like a graph for a blue print.
Printheads clog. Printheads need to be cleaned. There are many variables that may come into play when a printer is acting funny. With a printhead it is good knowing and understanding its role and how it works. Understanding that once you kill one you are going to be spending from $500 to $2,000 on a printhead. When you are told proper maintenance, and you read about it and hear about it, do you understand how to perform proper maintenance? Do you wipe your wiping blade? Do you clean the underside of the print head and around the edges of the printhead? Are you wiping your encoder strip, and wheel? Is your ink open container or bagged? Are you over cleaning? Do you need to just walk away let things settle and come back and give it a go? Is your printer aligned and are all of your nozzles firing correctly?
The point of this blog is not to scare you from DTG, it is to give you an understanding on what you need to understand before attempting to dive in. This should help alleviate the product bashing in the long run. Every DTG printer will give you its own deal. You have to learn your machine. That is the truth.
So whether you are new to the field, been around, or are contemplating jumping in, understand what this field is. Understand that there will be a learning curve. Other printers are a lot easier and straight forward than others. Look at the P600 based printers, this is the latest Epson printing technology with the best printing quality available. They are low cost printers, usually under $10K and have great reliability. When the P600 printers first came out there was a little hiccup with the Waste Ink Reset, but those that stayed around are now printing flawlessly with no problems.
So if you are starting up, or thinking about it, the p600 based printers are great starter printers but yet are still pro series type of printers, and users will note that they would rather buy more of them and add more of the same lower costing p600 based printers as they grow, instead of jumping into a higher priced printer. Kind of makes sense to buy and print with 3 printers versus printing with 1 that cost as much as 3 of the other brand. But this is just an opinion. We all have our own. Make your best conscious decision.
Where ever you decide to go, what ever you decide to do. DO THE RESEARCH!