Stitches

Direct-to-Garment and Sublimation Printers

mPower i-series Digital Apparel Printer

AnaJet LLC (asi/16000); Costa Mesa, CA; (877) 626-2538; www.anajet.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: This garment printer prints full-color images onto light and dark items and features a patented ink-delivery system and advanced maintenance elements. Each comes with AnaRIP software that enables very fine ink control and ink-cost calculation; and a free license for InkSoft Flex, a hosted design and ordering application.

What’s new:

  • Improved ink delivery and more robust components
  • AnaRIP’s new “superfine” print mode for maximum vibrancy and saturation

Key features:

  • Full-color digital printing using CMYK and white inks running through industrial-grade Ricoh print heads
  • Vibrant inks last garment’s life
  • Auto-maintenance mode allows user to go several days without printing

User review: “I bought my first two MPs while they were still in production,” says Susan Asplin, owner of Color Image Designs in Lutz, FL, which offers printing on garments, phone cases, mouse pads, license plates and more. “We flew to California to take AnaJet’s training class before they were delivered.” Asplin enjoyed using her new machine once she overcame a slight learning curve. “The i-series makes maintenance and printing a whole new experience,” she says. “It’s absolutely a breeze.”

SPRINT

AnaJet LLC (asi/16000); Costa Mesa, CA; (877) 626-2538; www.anajet.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What is it: This printer enables full-color printing onto light and dark T-shirts, polos, hoodies, totes, hats and more. A patented ink-delivery system and maintenance utilities make it easy to keep clean. Each SPRINT comes with RIP software and a free license for InkSoft Flex, a hosted design and ordering application for garments and promotional products.   

Key features:

  • Full-color digital printing using CMYK and white inks
  • Vibrant inks last garment’s life
  • Auto-maintenance mode allows user to go several without printing

Buyer’s note: The SPRINT is a good entry-level machine for a decorator who wants to step into digital, full-color printing, or a hobbyist who wants to print on various different substrates. Distributors can produce many of their own garments and promo items on the SPRINT. The consumer-grade print head is rated for 25,000 impressions and the company estimates that it takes 1,500 prints at retail pricing to achieve payoff.

GT-3 Series

Brother International Corp.; Bridgewater, NJ; 800-4-A-BROTHER; www.brother-usa.com; www.gt3printers.com

Cost: CMYK only model starts under $20,000.

What it is: The GT-3 printer is available in three models: CMYK only, CMYK with two white, CMYK with four white. The machine prints up to 1,200 dpi for photo-quality printing with inks certified by Oeko-Tex Standard 100. One-pass printing with both CMYK and white ink printing simultaneously offers higher productivity.

What’s new:

  • White-ink agitation feature for up to 60% reduction in ink waste
  • Enlarged print area up to 16” x 18”
  • LAN/Ethernet connectivity for faster data download speeds
  • Interchangeable platens for printing on T-shirts, caps, hoodies, coasters and more

Key features:

  • USB memory stick compatibility
  • Front-loading, ink-cartridge system for smaller footprint
  • Simple user interface without the need for RIP software
  • Up to eight print heads for faster throughput
  • Onsite training and support available

Buyer’s note: This machine isa good option for a variety of businesses, including retail storefronts looking to provide customization and personalization, small promotional companies and as part of larger production facility.

DTG M2

ColDesi Inc.; Tampa, FL; (877) 793-3278; www.dtgprintermachine.com; www.coldesi.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: The M2 T-shirt printer is designed with both startups and high volume custom T-shirt shops in mind. The M2’s platen system and RIP software allow the user to print two or more tees at a time, giving decorators a very short interface time. It offers a large print area at 17.7” x 24”.

What’s new: Fast, efficient printing on the X-axis, allowing a faster print time with less operator time involved

Key features:

  • 2+ Platen System
  • WIMS White Ink Management System printing on darks
  • Free training and technical support

Buyer’s note: Ideal users for this machine are screen printers who want to add a garment printer to their shops, as well as custom T-shirt business startups.

DTG M4

ColDesi Inc.; Tampa, FL; (877) 793-3278; www.dtgprintermachine.com; www.coldesi.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: The new M4 garment printer is designed for high-volume work. Built on the industry-standard M2 platform, the M4 has a native four-platen system, which means users can set jobs for printing four shirts at a time without an operator taking one shirt off at time. It offers a large print area at 24” x 36”.

Key features:

  • 4+ Platen System
  • WIMS White Ink Management System printing on darks
  • Free training and technical support

Buyer’s note: This printer is designed specifically for the busy screen printer who wants to add a garment printer for small and mid-size runs, or the busy online or contract custom T-shirt shop that needs one to 50 beautifully printed shirts quickly.

SureColor F2000

Epson America; Long Beach, CA; (800) GO-EPSON; proimaging.epson.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for pricing.

What it is: The SureColor F2000 Series printers mark Epson’s introduction into the direct-to-garment marketwith two all-new, purpose-built, garment inkjet printers delivering industrial-level production, image quality and reliability.

What’s new:

  • Epson UltraChrome DG garment-ink technology
  • Print engine built specifically for print applications, high reliability and everyday use
  • Garment creator software included for Mac and Windows provides flexibility for print workflow; control to review job history and the ability to estimate costs in managing and producing prints

Key features:

  • Prints directly onto garments, including T-shirts, hoodies, jackets and tote bags from 100% cotton to 50/50 fabric blends
  • Epson MicroPiezo TFP print-head ensures efficient, precise and repeatable performance and excellent image quality
  • Epson UltraChrome DG water-based pigment CMYK and CMYK+White ink technology delivers precise and repeatable performance

Buyer’s note: This printer is great for small-to-medium sized print shops looking to capitalize on short-run, highly customizable T-shirt printing jobs.

SureColor F7170

Epson; Long Beach, CA; 562-981-3840; (800) 338-2349; www.epson.com/proimaging

Cost: $19,995

What it is: This 64” dye-sublimation printer is designed to efficiently produce high-quality full-color graphics on everything from athletic wear, fashion apparel and accessories to home décor fabrics and soft signage.

What’s new and key features:

  • All new color LCD control panel and new, improved platen
  • Variable droplet technology print head with droplets as small as 5.3 pico-liters
  • Auto-feeding and take-up reel system with new media guide bar
  • Internal USB 2.0 & Ethernet
  • Intended for use with Epson genuine inks, which meet Oeko-Tex Standard 100

Buyer’s Note: The sublimation printer can be a boon for embroiderers and screen printers who are looking to capitalize on the growing market for personalization and producing cost-effective full-color prints at both small and higher volumes. The machine also allows for expansion into hard-goods embellishment.

Kornit Avalanche

Hirsch International (asi/14982); Hauppauge, NY; (800) 394-4426; www.hic.us

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: TheKornit Avalanche is a robust, dual-pallet industrial digital printer for the high-volume production of light and dark garments. It was designed to meet the high-quality, high-speed and low-cost printing demands of the garment-printing market.

What’s new:

  • Proprietary NeoPigment textile-pigment printing process offers the benefits of pigment ink while avoiding the drawbacks.
  • Environmentally friendly, 100% biodegradable and toxin-free
  • Versatile, prints on multiple light and dark fabric types
  • Integrated automated pretreatment process reduces print time and production costs

Key features:

  • Outputs up to 85 pieces an hour on darks; 145 pieces an hour on whites 
  • Provides vibrant process color prints for light and dark garments
  • Handles a large variety of textile applications and finished garments
  • Features a printing area up to 60cm x 90cm, optimal for XXL garments and cut pieces

Buyer’s note: This machine is great for high-volume direct-to-garment and screen printers looking to expand to a hybrid apparel-decoration operation. 

G3

Melco International; Denver; (800) 799-8313; www.melco.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: The G3 is a direct-to-garment printer that produces photo-quality prints on a large 16.5” x 23.5” print area using water-based DuPont textile inks; this model offers faster printing. Onsite training is included.

What’s new:

  • Clog-resistant ink-delivery system; G3 was tested clog-free with white ink in the lines for 90days.
  • Refillable ink cartridge system

Key features:

  • Includes MelcoRIP printing software for easier printing and calculating costs
  • Great for 100% cotton or cotton blend garments
  • Portable; includes a stand with wheels and fits through a standard doorway

Buyer’s note: TheG3 is designed for screen printers and embroiderers who want to serve customers with one-off and short-run orders. Compared to screen printing, the G3 is easy to learn and use.

SummitDTG 520

MESA Distributors Inc.; Fort Worth, TX; (800) 456-3727; www.mesamachines.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: This direct-to-garment printer uses CMYK and white inks to print onto light- or dark-colored garments. The maximum print size is 16” x 20” with the included 4-in-1 platen, or 16” x 45” with a custom platen. All SummitDTG printers include the White Ink Management System, which constantly circulates and filters ink to prevent settling or clogging.

What’s new: One-pass printing for dramatically faster printing – print a 12” x 12” full-color image on a dark garment in three minutes.

Key features:

  • Bulk Ink System saves money; features eight 4-oz. easily refillable wide-mouth bottles
  • Automatic platen height adjustment ensures garment is correct distance from print head
  • 1”-wide ink-repelling print head helps keep the print head clean for longer life
  • Capable of bi- or uni-directional printing

Buyer’s note: The printer is a good option for a decorator who wants to offer custom-printed garments, whether the decorator is new or established.