Author Topic: DTF and the future of screen printing  (Read 12918 times)

Offline GraphicDisorder

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2024, 11:24:56 AM »
That wasn't to bad. I was expecting to get totally trashed. Brandt's artwork was great "retail quality" but not what I would every suggest doing with DTF or DTG. However, when you get a customer who insists on printing a few shirts with a lot of colors, DTF is a great way to go. Every tool has it's use. As a side note, when the two prints were shown to my staff side by side, more picked the halftoned without black for the faded into the shirt look.

I tend to agree, its a tool, but the shops using this and playing it as screen equivalent I would challenge. Not that you are.
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Online zanegun08

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2024, 12:08:36 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to post back the results.  One thing that is cool is that from when you said you sent the files to when you posted this example it was only 3 days which is super fast.

The premise of this thread however was looking at DTF as a replacement for screen printing, and this is a great example of how this will never replace screen print.  Just another tool you can use for the right instance like truckers, totes, neck labels, very small prints both in size or print run.  I know a company that use theirs mostly for neck labels and long sleeve prints since long sleeve prints are a pain.  I also know a company that uses them for neck labels, but doesn't have people forward thinking that it opens it to being able to do a full color label as an upsell, and they still just do one colors.

If you don't like the feel of a heat pressed plastisol print, you'll never like the feel of any DTF transfer.  If it could have a more silicon feel it would be a little more premium feeling in my opinion.  Unless there is a fairytale discharge transfer that comes along, I think the physics of a transfer isn't able to get any better, it's gluing a sheet of something to fabric.  It can be a good product when used right, but this isn't some revolution like people like to talk about.

Offline GraphicDisorder

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2024, 12:58:46 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to post back the results.  One thing that is cool is that from when you said you sent the files to when you posted this example it was only 3 days which is super fast.

The premise of this thread however was looking at DTF as a replacement for screen printing, and this is a great example of how this will never replace screen print.  Just another tool you can use for the right instance like truckers, totes, neck labels, very small prints both in size or print run.  I know a company that use theirs mostly for neck labels and long sleeve prints since long sleeve prints are a pain.  I also know a company that uses them for neck labels, but doesn't have people forward thinking that it opens it to being able to do a full color label as an upsell, and they still just do one colors.

If you don't like the feel of a heat pressed plastisol print, you'll never like the feel of any DTF transfer.  If it could have a more silicon feel it would be a little more premium feeling in my opinion.  Unless there is a fairytale discharge transfer that comes along, I think the physics of a transfer isn't able to get any better, it's gluing a sheet of something to fabric.  It can be a good product when used right, but this isn't some revolution like people like to talk about.

To be fair they came yesterday, we just didn't have time to press them, so it being fast, no question about that. It's fast.

I think the rest of your post is pretty much dead on to my thoughts. Its a tool, if you learn it in and out you can do something that I think will be acceptable for "extras" or shirts they forget to order or a mess up on press or similar. I would never want to tell my customers they should use DTF to sell their merch though. Thats not a good idea at all. Its not close either. It needs a giant leap forward before that would be logical.

I don't know that it will get there. Even when you go hybrid printing. Have a look at Fanatics reviews some time. It's not good and thats a massive investment and closer to a good product if done well. But its still a miss.

Ill be forever watching it and interested.

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Offline brandon

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2024, 07:27:52 PM »
Thank you everyone for replying and the information posted. Extremely valuable thread for those newer to the game!

Offline Nation03

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #49 on: February 24, 2024, 09:23:30 AM »
I had a great DTF use case yesterday. I accidentally burned a sleeve on a recent job. Front, back and left sleeve print. Multiple colors. I told the client I would replace it but it would be with a transfer so it won't be an exact match. They didn't care and appreciated the replacement. That may not work for every client, but in this case I'm glad I didn't need to setup 3 print locations for 1 shirt lol.

Offline GraphicDisorder

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #50 on: February 24, 2024, 10:20:40 AM »
I had a great DTF use case yesterday. I accidentally burned a sleeve on a recent job. Front, back and left sleeve print. Multiple colors. I told the client I would replace it but it would be with a transfer so it won't be an exact match. They didn't care and appreciated the replacement. That may not work for every client, but in this case I'm glad I didn't need to setup 3 print locations for 1 shirt lol.

I think that's a perfect use case!
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Offline Rockers

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #51 on: February 24, 2024, 10:39:20 PM »
These will be the one where he killed the black and half toned the whole image. This is done to reduce the hand and it definitely does that. But it looks terrible. It also had dots not stick to the shirt and this made it look even worse. We followed his instructions but maybe we did something wrong in that regard and some tweaking the dots would not stay behind. But it still looks terrible. I would not sell this version under any context.

I will wash both when I can see how they feel after a couple washes.

For me without a single doubt DTG is better than this DTF. My Mlink DTG was better than this DTF in feel and hand.

I still think there is a market for both DTG/DTF but its not me yet.
I would have been surprised if they were not similar to other Direct to Film (DTF) transfers available, unless there was a completely unique system for printing them and a different type of adhesive involved. The DTF transfers with printed glue that I encountered at a local trade show here in Japan were remarkable—exceptionally soft and incredibly stretchable. However, according to the system's manufacturer, it will be at least six months to a year before the product is launched, possibly even longer

Offline Sbrem

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #52 on: February 26, 2024, 08:53:08 AM »
Having done a couple hundred DTF orders, using Don and Supacolor, it is about the image very much. Brandt's images are beautiful, but I would not recommend DTF for that art. For a short run, it would have to be DTG, imho. It's up to the customer in the end, and we simply aren't spending the time to screen 6 pieces in full color. We do not try to claim that it's the same as screenprinting, but rather an alternative to get their image on a few pieces.

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Offline Dottonedan

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2024, 11:35:27 AM »
We, are buying about $700.00 in DTF a wk. Customers are coming in asking for it specifically. Oddly enough, it's not even only people (in the business of apparel). It's end users. Maybe 50/50. The general public is getting to be aware of it.
Artist & Sim Process separator, Co owner of The Shirt Board, Past M&R Digital tech installer for I-Image machines. Over 28 yrs in the apparel industry. Apparel sales, http://www.designsbydottone.com  e-mail art@designsbydottone.com 615-821-7850

Offline Homer

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #54 on: March 01, 2024, 12:13:24 PM »
Our Mutoh / STS printer finally died, almost 2 years to the day and 3 print heads later. We have a new one coming in from Printomize. Do not buy a printer that takes cartridges, ever. No mater what. We absolutely have to have it in house. If all goes well, in the next few years we will 100% transition away from screen printing.
...keep doing what you're doing, you'll only get what you've got...

Offline GraphicDisorder

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #55 on: March 01, 2024, 01:09:38 PM »
We, are buying about $700.00 in DTF a wk. Customers are coming in asking for it specifically. Oddly enough, it's not even only people (in the business of apparel). It's end users. Maybe 50/50. The general public is getting to be aware of it.

That isn't shocking.... When something is all the "buzz" people buy it. Even without knowing much about it.

What I think some will over look is if that customer doesn't like DTF because the shop doing it doesn't do it right or understand art that is best suited for it or the customer isn't understanding what its best for...then not only lose that customer for future DTF but maybe entirely. Not that your shop is one of those, not saying that at all.

I am seeing a uptick of people saying "how do you print shirts, I don't want DTF or DTG" type thing.

But to be fair I am also seeing a uptick of people asking if we can DTF something.




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Offline 3Deep

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #56 on: March 01, 2024, 01:22:05 PM »
Just had one of our biggest contract clients ask us to do one shirt for a good client of there's, no problem got it ready for pick up in an hour....dang @Homer, I'm still dicking around with our old L1800 and it's still printing pretty good, just had to keep up maintenance all the time.  I don't see DTF fully taking over our screen printing but it's a big help to have around for the quick full color stuff and crazy print location crap etc.
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Offline Admiral

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #57 on: March 01, 2024, 03:10:08 PM »
We do a few thousand DTF a week.  We could go as high as 10K a week with current equipment.  If we did get that high and sustain it for several weeks, I would probably buy 2 of the M&R Quattro's though.

I think it's already taken over 30% of our "custom" level orders.  Screen printing will stay but those sub 100 piece orders are taken over for sure.

Offline CBCB

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #58 on: March 01, 2024, 03:44:30 PM »
What I think some will over look is if that customer doesn't like DTF because the shop doing it doesn't do it right or understand art that is best suited for it or the customer isn't understanding what its best for...then not only lose that customer for future DTF but maybe entirely. Not that your shop is one of those, not saying that at all.

I am seeing an uptick of people saying "how do you print shirts, I don't want DTF or DTG" type thing.

In my opinion, same as screen printing. People will print stuff that is not ideal for the process.
When I read here that you were going to press the DTF samples yourself, it made me a little sceptical. Because that is a huge part of the process, it’s as important to dial in as the print itself. can’t really dial in with two sheets.

People say the same stuff to me about screen printing. Doesn’t it crack? There will always be crabby shops to win business from no matter what the process. Always some shops making a great process look bad.

Offline brandon

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Re: DTF and the future of screen printing
« Reply #59 on: March 01, 2024, 06:34:07 PM »
We, are buying about $700.00 in DTF a wk. Customers are coming in asking for it specifically. Oddly enough, it's not even only people (in the business of apparel). It's end users. Maybe 50/50. The general public is getting to be aware of it.


I am seeing a uptick of people saying "how do you print shirts, I don't want DTF or DTG" type thing.

But to be fair I am also seeing a uptick of people asking if we can DTF something.

This for sure