There’s a somewhat new development that’s been going on in the fashion industry called direct-to-garment printing. It’s making putting prints and designs on apparel incredibly easy – by printing them on with a souped-up inkjet printer, much like you would put paper to ink.
Well, your next novelty tee purchase (or the one after that, because this isn’t coming out until January) might just be printed using a printer from Epson’s new SureColor F2000 line. Like most other direct-to-garment (DTG) printers, this one works best with 100 percent cotton items, but it can also handle 50/50 blends of cotton and synthetic material. The whole thing works by fitting a garment (you can use it with accessories, too, like tote bags) into the garment platen securely, so nothing moves around during printing. The F2000 series comes with a 14” x 16” platen, but extra platens are available for purchase, including 10” x 12”, 16” x 20”, and some made for sleeves. The standard platens will work with anything from thin T-shirts to thicker hoodies and sweaters.
The printer itself features Epson’s own MicroPiezo TFP print head, which is one inch wide and has 360 nozzles for each color. The inside of the nozzles are coated with anti-ink material, so the nozzles don’t get clogged, which would diminish print quality or waste garments on a poor print job. The ink used is the water-based CMYK and CMYK+ White Ink technology pigment, which will come in 250 mL and 600 mL quantities.
But, if you like DIY projects, better stick to tie-dye. The SureColor F2000 DTG printers are for the pros, and will be selling for $20,000 when they become available in January of next year.