Direct to Garment (DTG) printing is an innovative technique that has transformed custom apparel printing. It's an approach that utilizes cutting-edge technology to produce impressive printing results. Since its birth in 2004, the field of DTG has seen exponential growth. Today, advanced printers together with Printfits have a significant impact on the print-on-demand services sector.

Let’s delve into the detailed aspects of Direct to Garment (DTG) printing.

Evolution of Direct to Garment Printing

Established in 2004, DTG captured immense attention, bringing a major shift in printing technology. Before this breakthrough, screen printing was the chief method for most custom apparel orders. However, it was labor-intensive and needed an upgrade. As a result, DTG quickly gained recognition after its launch for being time-efficient and less laborious.

DTG printing technology entered the U.S. market during an SGIA show in Minneapolis in late 2004. Kornit & U.S. Screen were the trailblazers, introducing digital direct to garment printers for the first time. Before this, Mimaki led the marketplace with GP-604 and GP-604D. The market was brimming with diverse printers, making profound knowledge about them indispensable.

Brother unveiled its inaugural digital printer, the GT-541, in early 2005. An innovation in DTG printing technology surfaced in October 2005, with the launch of a Kiosk. This development instigated significant enhancements.

Another revolution came towards the end of 2005 with the emergence of White Ink. Until then, DTG was restricted to light garments due to the unavailability of white ink for lower viscosity print heads. With the introduction of White Ink by U.S. Screen, the scenario transformed, making printing on dark shirts an easy task.

Gradually, brands started introducing more inventive methods to utilize white ink efficiently. Today, modern machines have simplified DTG printing, processing bulk orders in no time.

Steps in Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing

DTG, as a prevalent printing technology, follows a specific process. Modern printers such as the DTG Viper2, M2, and M4 provide excellent performance, creating incredible designs on t-shirts and other surfaces.

Here are the core steps of DTG printing:

  • Prepping for DTG Printing
  • Also called pretreatment, this step ensures an effective print result. It prepares the print surface to make the ink adhere more efficiently.

    Hand Spraying

    Most DTG printers come with a hand sprayer. Pretreatment liquid is sprayed onto the garment using this tool. An even application significantly impacts the final look of the garment.

    Pretreatment Machine

    These automatic devices effectively spray the pretreatment on the surface. Users need to strictly follow the manual instructions.

  • Creating Graphics
  • The digital nature of DTG necessitates designing on a computer. High-quality design software such as CorelDraw, Photoshop, or Adobe Illustrator ensures a clear, neat graphic, optimized for print.

  • Using a DTG Printer
  • Direct to Garment printing uses Raster Image Processor (RIP) software. It is capable of various functions, including:

    • Generating white ink underbase for dark shirt printing
    • Controlling white and other colored inks
    • Managing multi-print image placement
    • Ink cost calculation

  • Finishing The Print
  • After printing, the garment requires effective drying and finishing. This ensures durability and maximum washability. Cure temperatures usually sit around 340 degrees F for 2-3 minutes.

    Pros and Cons of DTG Printing

    The advantages of Direct to Garment printing include:

    • Perfect for on-demand production
    • Delivers premium image quality
    • User-friendly interface
    • No color limitations
    • Eco-friendly as it utilizes water-based ink

    However, there are some challenges as well:

    • DTG printers tend to be expensive
    • It's not ideal for bulk orders due to the time taken per print
    • Limited to garments with at least 50% cotton

    FAQS About Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing

    Will DTG Printing Fade or Crack?

    DTG prints can suffer from both. Factors such as garment handling, washing, drying, folding, or under-cured ink during production can contribute to these issues. However, properly processed DTG prints have excellent longevity.

    What Is The Longevity of DTG Prints?

    Quality DTG printing lasts for up to 50 washes or more. In many instances, such prints outlive the garment itself.

    Is DTG Printing of High Quality?

    Absolutely. DTG printing offers superb quality due to the advanced technology enabling intricate designs. Pretreatment and finishing processes further enhance the durability and washability of the print.

    At Printfits, we specialize in Direct-to-Garment printing and have successfully fulfilled numerous orders with exceptional quality. Contact us at Printfits for your DTG printing needs, to discover the best quality printing results.