How to Look for the Best DTF Printer?
DTF (direct to film) printing is a new system for printing on textile intended to supplant transfer printing systems and DTG (direct to fabric printing), especially for small and young enterprises. It utilizes a modified printer with specific inks, and special transfer films for the application of prints on fabric. Adopting five colors (CMY plus black and white), it allows the printing of any type of graphics, both on light and colored and dark T-shirts.
Print Process of DTF Printer
- Printing on PET Film
Instead of printing on regular paper, printing is done on a special PET film in the printer feed. The printer will first print the fully coloured image as the first layer, then a full white coloured layer on top.
This step is applying the hot-melt powder on top of the white ink. This special hot-melt powder will act as the adhesive used to transfer the printed design onto fabrics, t-shirts, polo t-shirts, and many other items. The powdering machine will then remove the excess powder by agitating the film.
3. Melting the Powder Adhesive
This process is melting the powder which lays on top of the printed design on the film. This is done by a timed curing sequence through an oven. Melting duration will vary based on the type of oven used. Now the designs printed on the PET film is ready to be heat pressed and transferred onto a product.
4. Heat Press
As like what you will do with regular heat transfer vinyls, place your item or T-shirt onto the heat press machine’s platen and your film over the position you would like to print and press!
5. Cold Peeling
It is important to check that the PET film is now secured on the T-shirt and cooled down to room temperature, this will mean that the adhesive melted powder has cooled down and securely binds the print to the t-shirt. Peel off the film leaving the desired design nicely on the t-shirt.
6. Post Pressing
This is optional but a highly recommended step to produce longer lasting and durable prints. This will help in ensuring that the adhesive melted powder to be securely binded the t-shirt and the printed design.
Which Is Better, DTG or DTF?
Direct to film printing and direct to garment printing are alternatives to each other. DTG has been the ultimate procedure for t-shirt printing for a while and is essential for small-scale productions.
DTG has a process of the pretreatment of the garment. It consists of heating the garment before printing the substrate’s design. DTF doesn’t include any requirement for pretreatment. That is because it involves the direct transfer of images onto the T-shirt. In additional, DTF transfers the image from the PET film to the fabric, but DTG cannot. It allows you to transfer images without PET film, making it faster. DTG also only works with cotton, whereas DTF is compatible with many fabrics. DTF uses white as a leading top coating, but DTG utilizes white ink on some areas.
Generally speaking, both printing procedures have their pros and cons, but overall, DTF stands well in printing. It is mainly because of its compatibility with various fabrics and the absence of pretreatment.
Is DTF Printing Durable?
DTF printed the pattern has a 50-wash guarantee. The powder is white and granular and binds pigments together in the DTF printer.
It acts as a binding medium between the substrate and the dye to produce durable prints on the t-shirts. The adhesive process works automatically in the DTF printers, so no extra work is required.
What Ink Is Used For DTF?
DTF utilizes water-based inks. The CMYK DTF ink is vibrant and high-quality. DTF printing ink is specially formulated to produce a suitable consistency.
It prevents nozzle blockage and clogging for smooth and efficient printing on the substrates. The DTF ink is also fast drying, cutting the long wait for the drying process. It is durable, less fading, and works perfectly with synthetic fabrics.
Maintenance Tips for DTF Printing Machine
- Temperature Control
If the temperature is too high, some printers will have ink flying. It is recommended to control the indoor temperature. The printer should be placed in a cool, backlit corner, avoiding high temperature and direct sunlight. The suitable indoor temperature is 18℃～30℃, and the humidity is 40%～60%. If the working environment of digital printing equipment is too hot, please install cooling equipment in the workshop.
- Print Test
Due to the high temperature, the ink volatilizes quickly. You can turn on the printer every day to print about one square meter of material, and check whether the printing effect is normal, so as to prevent the nozzle from clogging and damage to the nozzle.
- Power off Moisturizing
When the digital printing equipment does not work for a long time, you can choose to cut off the power for moisturizing, and do not leave the machine in a standby state, so that the temperature will rise.
- Clean in Time
On a weekly basis, cleaning the interior and exterior of the digital printing equipment is particularly important, especially in key positions such as the machine head and guide rails. The position of the flat wire must be checked every day when the machine is turned on, and timely confirm whether the surface is clean and whether the connection is tight and not loose.