QUICK TIP MAY 6, 2016 BY TERRY COMBS

What do you need to buy to be a direct-to-garment printer? Sometimes when we deal with something day in and day out, we forget that those new to the business still need the most basic of information. A common question I get at shows or on the phone is, “What do I need to buy?” There are basically four items you need to purchase to be a complete direct-to-garment production shop. Continue reading

QUICK TIP APRIL 8, 2016 BY TERRY COMBS

Generic Catalogs – Many of your T-shirts suppliers will offer what are called generic catalogs. These look just like the catalogs you are now ordering from, but with no prices and no identification of the company… such as Alpha or SanMar to name a couple. These catalogs are for you to use to show your customer’s different products that they can order from you. Continue reading

QUICK TIP FEBRUARY 12, 2016 BY TERRY COMBS

Using Refillable Cartridges with a Small Format Epson – The printer of choice today for outputting film positives is an Epson small format device such as the 1430. The only drawback is the standard 18ml cartridge. Refillable cartridges are the best option to save substantial dollars on ink. Continue reading

QUICK TIP JANUARY 29, 2016 BY TERRY COMBS

Coated and Uncoated Papers in DTG Printing –  Sometimes we have to stop and look at our procedures and see if anything has changed with the component parts. Too often, we continue with a method or technique because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

We have until recently used uncoated paper between a pretreated shirt and the heat press to protect the heat press and dry the shirt. We used uncoated paper because silicon coated paper cause the shirt to be still and shiny. We then used silicon coated paper between the printed shirt and the heat surface to cure the ink. The silicon kept the ink from sticking to the paper.

Today, you can use silicon paper for both steps. This allows you to stock only one paper, and not stand in front of your heat press trying to determine if the paper is coated or not. With advances in pretreat solution, the glossy finish (when applied properly) is no longer an issue.

QUICK TIP JANUARY 8, 2016 BY TERRY COMBS

Heat Press Pressure in Direct-to-Garment Printing – There’s still much confusion about the details of DTG printing, and unfortunately much misinformation. There are two steps to look at when it comes to your heat press.

Number 1 is pretreating. Once you’ve pretreated the shirt with an automatic pretreat machine on hand-held power sprayer, and you want to print right away, you’ll need to dry the shirt with your heat press. If the pressure is too light, that extends the drying time and more importantly leaves fibers standing up on the garment. So when you are drying pretreat, use heavy pressure. As a side note, if you allow your shirts to air dry, you’ll still need to press the shirt with heavy pressure for about five seconds before printing.

Number 2 is the printed shirt that must be heat set for wash-ability. If you use too heavy pressure, it will press the ink into the shirt and mix the inks on dark shirts to give a dull washed-out appearance. When curing the ink on a shirt, use light pressure for the best result.

QUICK TIP NOVEMBER 20, 2015 BY TERRY COMBS

Spot Cleaning Guns – One drop of ink, one misplaced thumbprint, one pinhole can ruin a shirt and cost you money. A spot cleaning gun can save the shirt and your production run.

Besides the gun, a device with a screen and exhaust (commonly sold with spot cleaning guns) will help to hold the shirt in place and to quickly dry the spot cleaned area of the garment. Until you can afford this exhaust product, fill a metal coffee can with misprinted shirts and use this as your base for spraying out the shirt. Always use a spot cleaning gun in a well-ventilated area. Continue reading

QUICK TIP OCTOBER 23, 2015 BY TERRY COMBS

Pretreatment Methods for DTG – Best to Worse If it’s in your budget, buy an automatic pretreat machine. This will give you consistency with this critical step in the process. Be sure to check max pretreat area matches the potential print area of your DTG machine. Also check that the spraying process is completely enclosed. If not, be sure to spray away from your DTG machine.

Continue reading

QUICK TIP SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 BY TERRY COMBS

Using Refillable Cartridges with a Small Format Epson – The printer of choice today for outputting film positives is an Epson small format device such as the 1430. The only drawback is the standard 18ml cartridge. Refillable cartridges are the best option to save substantial dollars on ink. Continue reading

QUICK TIP AUGUST 21, 2015 BY TERRY COMBS

Screen Printing Chemicals – My tip of the week is about properly applying chemicals in the screen print shop. This is a very simple but very effective tip. By effective I mean both easier and saving dollars. And I must credit 2RG’s friend Dave Gehrich from Atlas Screen Supply with this suggestion. Dave is a chemical guy and he knows his stuff, so pay attention! When applying chemicals such as press wash, most users will fill a shop rag with chemical and wipe the screen. By spraying the chemical directly on the screen, squeegee onto a rag shirt or pellon, and then wiping, you’ll use a fraction of the chemical.

QUICK TIP AUGUST 7, 2015 BY TERRY COMBS

Business Cards – Your business card says who you are, and beyond your vital information. A crisp, professional look will give the customer the impression that you will also be professional.

Today, there is absolutely no reason to have a low-end business card, though I see them all the time. Online companies offer full color business cards for around $25.00. Every business person today can and should have a professional looking card.

Many of your customers will never see your shop, so that card is their only physical evidence of your business. Keep your cards handy and ready to pass out at a moment’s notice. Remember, everyone is a potential customer, so don’t be stingy with those business cards. They’re cheap!