Direct to Garment Printing, or DTG, has soared in popularity over the years. The manufacturing technique is a flawless and effective way, to create and customize T-shirts, canvas prints, kids’ clothing, and more. While the process may be easy to understand, there are a few tricks to grasp in order to separate yourself from the average operator and someone who has mastered the art of the DTG printing process.
Minimize Mistakes by Organizing Your Workspace
First, it is important to remember that producing quality garments means knowing your production limits and the number of jobs you can effectively handle at any given time. When it comes to the printing process, an organized workflow is essential. Not only do chaotic, disorganized work environments increase stress, but they often lead to numerous unwanted mistakes. If you’re moving too fast or you’ve tried to cram several steps into one small physical space, you run the risk of damaging your reputation and losing clientele due to sloppy work.
Pro Tip: Purchase additional worktables, clothing racks, carts, and hangers, so you have access to reinforcements if needed. Also, create a standardized workflow that you and your employees always adhere to in order to minimize headache-inducing mistakes.
Proper Placements & Extra Equipment
If your machine has removable platens, like the M2 DTG printer, you’ll be equipped with an additional set of platens. This will greatly enhance productivity as you can reload your next batch of garments as the machine is printing. For beginners, utilize a measuring device to ensure your placement is perfect.
Over time, those who’ve mastered the DTG printing process have naturally developed a good eye for where to place their garment on the platen. To boost efficiency and become an effective operator, you’ll need to hone your positioning skills to the point where using a measuring device has become more of a nuisance rather than helpful.
Performing Routine Maintenance is a MUST
Would you hang muddy, dirty clothes in your closet as if they just popped out of the wash? No! (at least, we hope not). The same going for storing and putting away equipment. At the end of the day, it’s imperative to clean your machine before closing up shop. Why? Preventative maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your printer, but it keeps ink from drying in unwanted areas – which could lead to building up and costly complications if not regularly addressed.
Pro Tip: Large production batches typically require a quick cleaning mid-cycle to prevent ink from dripping onto your prints.
Perfecting Your Pretreatment Process
Producing high-quality work requires getting your pretreatment techniques down to a science. The pretreatment process could mean the difference between business growth and success and racking up disappointed customers. You should always start by pre-pressing your garments before pretreating them – this effectively dries the material to allow for better penetration. In addition, the process will eliminate any wrinkles that could cause inconsistencies when applying pretreatment.
After application, make sure to examine your pretreated shirt for any unwanted fibers that may be sticking up. If you discover anything out of place, you may want to consider adding another thin layer or pressing the shirt once more. Keep in mind that pretreatment varies based on garment type, so having an accessible document available with instructions for each will help avoid any mistakes.
Tips for Pretreatment Success
When it comes to techniques, there are a few things that you can do during pretreatment to maximize your results. A best practice for DTG printing is after applying the spray to your shirt, slide your finger across the pretreatment – did it leave a wet smear? If so, it’s too wet to press. If you were to press the garment in this condition, it would leave feeling stiff and shiny.
There you have it! Start incorporating these tips into your workflow to master the use of your DTG printer.