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1 Question You Should Ask Before You Buy a DTG Printer

This is an edited version of a transcript from the training video. Watch the original training video titled here: 8 Questions You Should Ask Before You Buy a DTG Printer

Presenters:
Jay Busselle, VP Sales & Marketing
Terry Combs, Sales & Training

JAY
Welcome to another episode of “Guess what’s cooking with Terry Combs!” Ok, not really. This is another Equipment Zone training webinar. I will be helping to moderate this session with my friend, my colleague, my DTG mentor, Terry Combs! If you have pressing questions about DTG printing, you’re going to want to talk to Terry Combs! Terry and I will be talking about 8 questions that you should be asking before you buy a DTG printer.

JAY
Thanks to everyone that tuned in to watch Equipment Zone training. There have been tens of thousands participating over the last 28 months. We believe this is a great opportunity for us to reach our audience to give value first. It’s a chance to help. It’s a chance to build trust first. We enjoy playing the role of trainers and educators and teachers. Isn't that true, Terry?

TERRY
Absolutely yes! You know we are all about education here at Equipment Zone. We are both presenters of education outside of Equipment Zone too. We’re always eager to share knowledge about apparel decoration or garment decorating and inkjet technologies like DTG printing.

JAY
There's a lot to learn and technology is evolving. It moves forward fast. It can sometimes feel like a never ending process. It’s also an opportunity and we're glad that you've tuned in today. I've got a little surprise in store for you because this title, "8 Questions You Should Ask Before You Buy a DTG Printer" was actually a portion within a session you presented at the Impressions Expo in Long Beach. The original class session was: Everything We Hear About DTG Printing on The Internet is Wrong? Is that true, Terry?

TERRY
I have to tell you Jay, there are a lot of people who have been confused at one point or another about something they saw or heard on the Internet regarding direct-to-garment printing. Speaking about the Impressions Expo in Long Beach, I had a great crowd. About 75 people were in this session. And I have to admit that I get such a kick when attendees come up to me in the booth afterwards and say, “Hey, I’ve been asking these eight questions you shared and not everybody wants to answer them!”

JAY
Our goal today is to get the answers out since this is still a fairly new technology and unfortunately, sometimes these questions arise after people have already made their purchases. We want to avoid DTG printing getting a bad reputation and help buyers to stay informed. That is really the benefit of this session. I feel the need to give you a sincere compliment again because the title of your other session at the Impressions Expo was hilarious but also informative. “Everything You’ve Seen on the Internet About DTG Printing is Wrong.” I felt like we should have added in parentheses (unless Terry or Equipment Zone said it).

JAY
OK, Terry let’s start at the top of the list with Question 1: Is your printer purpose built or is it a converted paper printer?

TERRY
It really is a great question – and a reasonable question! Jay, as you well know, not all DTG printers were built from the ground up to be DTG printers. The print heads, machines, inks and software for some DTG printers were specifically engineered and manufactured to be a direct to garment printer. As is the case with Epson! But some printers are converted paper printers. This means, they started life as a desktop printer. Can you imagine a $500 desktop printer that's suddenly a $15,000 or $20,000 DTG printer? The reason that some companies don't want to answer this question is because they don't want people to know that they basically bought these printers off the shelf at Staples or OfficeMax or imported a container load from China and converted them into DTG printers. Let’s be clear! Epson doesn't sell these printers or those print heads for that purpose. Epson also doesn't support the companies that convert them into DTG printers.

JAY
Let's talk quickly about print heads. What should we know about Epson’s print heads?

TERRY
Epson is the largest inkjet print head manufacturer in the world. The print heads in the Epson F2100 and F3070 are specifically designed for and aligned with the ink system and software. These print heads were created to match the system they were originally built for. So when people convert a desktop paper printer into a DTG printer they’re pumping a different ink through that print head. To the average consumer it might not sound like a big issue. Jay, this is a HUGE issue. It’s as if that printer went through a heart transplant and in a short time it will reject that ink and the print head will fail

JAY
Is that why we hear things like “you must run this printer 24 hours a day”?

TERRY
Exactly! Sometimes buyers are told, “You must print something every day!” I have had dozens and dozens of attendees in my classes who have shared they were told that if they had to leave the printer for more than three days, they would have to flush the inks out. These are telltale signs that that print head was made for another purpose. When people are overly concerned about print heads clogging, they're primarily talking about the converted over paper printers.

JAY
It’s shocking to me that there are manufactures that are still doing this!

TERRY
You know Jay; it’s been 17 years since I started working with DTG printers. And we knew then that those first printers were converted paper printers and we knew that it would be a constant struggle to keep those print heads from clogging. It’s very surprising that there are manufacturers still choosing to go down that road! They’re mostly converting Ricoh and Epson paper printers. I should also point out that often the printers that they're using to create converted DTG printers are no longer being manufactured. Epson is never going to suddenly say, “Sure, we can help you out and make more print heads for printers that have been discontinued for 7, 9, 11 years… AND for a purpose that isn’t what we originally designed them to do!”

JAY
That is such a great point, Terry! Is there anything else buyers should know about the topic of purpose-built printers?

TERRY
It’s really important to do your homework before spending thousands of dollars. Buying the right printer can translate into significant profits or an expensive paperweight. A purpose-built machine such as the Epson F2100 or F3070 is the professional decorator’s choice.