5 Tips for the Beginner D2 Printer

5 Honest Tips for the Novice D2 Printer

Deana Leelachat is the West Coast operations manager for RTP Apparel & Image Armor. For more information on utilizing RTP Apparel or Image Armor products with your direct-to-garment printer, visit rtpapparel.com and imagearmorpt.com

If you're just diving into the world of direct-to-garment printing (D2), you might be wondering the tools of the trade. Here are five fundamentals every novice D2 printer needs to know.

1. Evaluate your business

  • How much volume are you expecting to print per day?
  • Will you be the operator or will you hire employees?
  • How much space will you need for your equipment?

Being able to answer the above questions honestly will determine whether you will need to narrow down your D2 search options.

2. You need a basic understanding of graphics

  • It will be difficult to ask a customer to give you a print-ready graphic if you don’t even know what that really means.
  • Take a class, read a book, watch a video. Educate yourself to avoid any headaches or time wasted calling technical support for graphics-related questions.

3. Be aware of the learning curve

  • Even though there is training available from manufacturers, it’s truly up to you to learn your machine after the fact.
  • There will be mistakes. There will be wasted inks, garments, and other consumables. That’s okay as long as you are learning and overcoming these obstacles.

4. Test things out and don’t look for the easy answer

  • You want to become your own encyclopedia of knowledge. Sure, asking for an answer is easy and can suffice for the moment, but don’t you want to understand the reason for that answer?
  • Try every RIP setting combination. Make a chart and record your findings. Notes make it easy to refer back if you cannot remember which settings work best with what graphic.
  • Test all garment substrates, brands, and colors. Depending on the pretreatment you use, each garment combination can give you a different outcome. Be sure to always test before accepting a print job that you are unsure about. 

5. Stay positive and print on

  • Just like any other job, there will be good and bad days. Being patient and working through any issues will make you a better printer.