How about DTF Prints?

Understanding DTF Prints

As more and more users turn to digital textile printing, the digital printing industry has experienced rapid growth in the last decade. Using digital printers can imbue usability, simplicity, fabric performance, consistency, and most importantly, reliability and overall cost-effectiveness thanks to the wide range of colors available in textile printing. There are several processes that fall under the category of digital fabric printing.

What is DTF print?

The DTF process is as simple as it sounds: print on a film and directly transfer it onto the fabric. The standout factor that makes this process worth more usage is that it allows for the freedom to choose almost any fabric. Whether it's polyester, cotton, silk, synthetic fibers or looped fabrics, the DTF printing process works its magic on them all.

Prerequisites for DTF prints

The requirements for DTF printing do not require the user to invest heavily. Whether you are currently involved in one of the digital textile printing processes mentioned above and wish to extend to DTF printing as a business, or are looking to get started with digital textile printing with DTF, the following must be chosen:

  • A film printer. These printers are typically called DTF modified printers. These printers are mostly basic 6-color ink cartridge printers, chosen because they are all 6-color. This provides the convenience of operation because CMYK DTF ink can enter a standard CMYK ink cartridge, and the printer's LC and LM ink cartridges can be filled with white DTF ink. In addition, the drum used for sliding pages is removed to prevent "lining" on the white layer printed on the DTF film.

  • DTF pet  transfer film. These films are different from those used in screen printing. They are approximately 0.75mm thick and have better transfer characteristics. In market language, these are typically referred to as DTF transfer films. DTF film is available in single sheets (for small-scale use) and rolls (for commercial settings). Another classification for PET film is based on the peeling type after transfer. Depending on the temperature, the film can be hot peel or cold peel.

  • Hot melt adhesive powder. The DTF printing powder is white and acts as an adhesive to bond the colored pigments in the print to the fibers in the fabric. DTF hot-melt powder has different grades in microns. Choose the appropriate grade according to your requirements.

  • DTF printing ink. These are specially designed pigment inks and are available in cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white. White ink is a special ingredient that lays a white base for printing on the film and prints the colored design on top.

DTG and DTF printing both use digital inkjet technology to print their designs onto substrates. The difference is that DTG prints directly onto the substrate, while DTF transfers the design onto the substrate using transfer release film as the medium. The main advantage of DTF printing comes from its cost-effectiveness. Consumables like printer ink, DTF transfer film, and hot melt adhesive powder are relatively inexpensive, enabling you to maximize your printing returns while keeping costs low. Since you are printing on single sheets or rolls, you can easily print multiple designs on a single sheet of paper or a roll of film.

The DTF printing method is also very versatile. You can not only hot press prints onto clothing, but it is also compatible with a wide variety of other substrates. Polyester, glass, ceramics, and even metal make for great surfaces. Additionally, you can store extra prints for future use, or sell them as-is to anyone looking to do it themselves!

Comparing DTG and DTF prints

But which one is the better choice for your business? If you are new to the industry or are looking to expand your existing business, consider a few things before selecting a printing solution that meets your needs.

Maintenance is the most important consideration factor when considering purchasing a printer. The maintenance cycles for DTG and DTF printers are relatively similar. However, compared to DTG printing, DTF printers use less white ink and are the root of many maintenance issues involving printers.

Basic maintenance is enough to keep your printer running smoothly. Five minutes a day is one way. You may only need a standard print head cleaning cycle or gently shake the ink cartridge to prevent ink sedimentation and possible print head clogging. You may often hear that DTG printers are simple plug-and-play machines - once connected, they can be used. This is misleading because even the best printers require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Putting them in well-ventilated clean rooms also helps them function properly. The same principle applies to DTF machines. Different printers require different maintenance methods, so be sure to read the manual carefully before starting.

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