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Before you buy a DTF Printer

All American Print supply Co Prestige A4 DTF Printer

"You have as many options as you give yourself."- Kasie West

Welcome to the first installment of our Before You Buy a DTF Printer guide. With the release of the DTF Station Prestige A4 desktop printer (and it’s low cost price tag) we are sure to see an influx of new users diving into direct to film printing. Coming from other decorating methods such as heat transfer vinyl, sublimation or white toner laser printing there may be some getting used to as far as opening procedures, operation, maintenance and end of day closing. We want to dive into these arenas with you as your guide to ensure a positive experience and set reasonable expectations. What sets DTF apart from the aforementioned production methods? Well first of all there’s the white ink element.

White ink is going to be the biggest difference from the other methods of custom apparel making by far. But let's talk about color. It’s easy to get color accuracy if you are only printing onto white garments - but what about other colors? If you put blue onto a white shirt you get blue. If you put blue directly onto a yellow shirt it may come out more of a green- UNLESS it has a white base layer underneath. Layering color and white ink results in near Pantone level matching and allows your designs to print and press vibrantly no matter what color the garment. This is a specialty of DTF that is unique from say sublimation or inkjet transfer printing and it is worth mentioning white ink is scientifically different from CMYK ink.

White ink is thicker and more opaque and to get this particular pigment titanium dioxide is used. Think of when you paint a kitchen and the ‘skin’ begins to form on the top of the can - this is an example of separation of the titanium from the actual ink. This should give you an idea of what can happen to a printer turned off and left idle for extended periods of time. A good DTF printer will have means of keeping the white ink and the titanium dioxide smooth and flowing well. A system needs to be in place to to keep the ink well mixed so it can flow through the lines properly, print correctly and NOT CLOG OUR MACHINE. That’s where White Ink Management System comes into play(WIMS).

The WIMS function is to continuously circulate the ink to keep it active and well mixed as well as stirring the ink reservoir itself through motorized agitation. Between the ink being moved through the lines and constantly stimulating the titanium and pigment don’t have time to separate thus preventing “sedimentation” that can clog printheads like these. It is important that if the machine is to be left idle that proper closing procedures and maintenance is performed at the end of everyday so that we may return to a fully operational printer.

Opening procedures are equally important as proper follow through can prevent the loss of film material, ink and most importantly our time. ALWAYS print a nozzle check before beginning production and address any issues shown by performing head cleanings. Once you get a good nozzle check you are good to go! For a full breakdown on all the steps involved with a live trainer be sure to join the free weekly trainings as many times as needed (available twice a week). We’ll show you how to manage white ink like a pro and print direct to film like veteran. 

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DTF Printer PrestigeA4  3 color collection photos Direct to Film

Meet our author

All American Print Supply Co Estevan Romero Profile Picture

Estevan Romero

Brand Marketing Lead

Esteven Romero began making YouTube videos back in 2017 to help new business owners learn how to use their products and grow their operation.


He has been featured in many companies content such as Siser North America, Key Print Co and more. He has been featured as a speaker/presenter nationwide across the tradeshow circuit sharing information and insight to the print community audience and brings 13+ years of experience to the table.

You can meet Estevan and more of the friendly All American Print Supply Co team by visiting the company live events calendar and our YouTube channel.

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