A quick note from
T-Jet developer, Scott Fresener.
Since the end
of 2004, we have sold over 2,200 T-Jet printers. It has changed how
we decorate garments and the T-Jet is the clear market favorite. We
were the first to introduce pigment based screen print quality white
ink in September of 2005. What seemed like an impossibility became a
reality and it got everyone to take notice that direct-printing on garments
But, we also
found that we had a new type of customer. Since 1979 we have been teaching
people how to screen print shirts. The screen printing process requires
a steep learning curve, the use of chemicals, mechanical ability, a
wide variety of equipment and a commitment to learn the process. Our
T-Jet customer comes in different varieties.
that tend to need the least amount of support are screen printers. They
love the machine because they understand the business and realize there
is never perfect artwork. They are not afraid to do maintenance on a
machine because they do it now on their screen printing equipment. They
realize that you will ruin a few shirts to get the print right. They
understand having to learn new techniques and to take ownership of their
that tends to need a lot of hand holding and support is someone who
may be brand new to the textile decorating industry. The thought of
ruining even a single shirt is hard to swallow. They think it is easy
and do not want to take ownership of a piece of equipment that will
require TLC to keep it running smoothly. They think customers have perfect
artwork and they don’t think they need any art skills. It is plug
and play – instant money.
Our middle customer
is an embroider (some support). Embroiders love this machine. Many of
them have gone into, or have looked at going into screen printing. The
mess scares them or turns them off. This machine is perfect for them.
They already have to do maintenance and cleaning of their embroidery
machine so they understand that. They have little art skills and need
some hand holding when working with bad artwork.
Where do you
fit in? The T-Jet is a gold mine. We have customers doing 300, 500 and
1,000 piece runs. We have customers who print one shirt at a time (over
and over and over all day long) for internet orders. We have some customers
who only print a few shirts a day. Others print two shifts non-stop.
What type of customer will you be for us?
Yes, the T-Jet
is a gold mine, but it is also a piece of machinery working hard to
do good quality prints in an industry that generates a LOT of lint.
Lint can get on the bottom of the print head. It can get on key machine
parts. And, we inkjet A LOT more ink than a normal printer. In order
to get good penetration and bright prints we have to “open the
flood gates” of the printing head. This can cause a little overspray
to get on key components. No, your printer will not be dripping of ink.
This means you
will need to do a little daily maintenance. If you print a few shirts
a day, then no big deal. You might have to remove the printing ink cartridges
and replace them with cleaning fluid cartridges if you plan to leave
the unit set a few days without use. Yes, you can have minor head clogs
if you don’t use it too often.
If you print
night and day, you will have to occasionally stop and clean a few key
parts. Simple. Easy. No big deal. But it needs to be done to keep the
You WILL get
low quality artwork. There is no magic when the customer wants his web
graphic that is 72dpi and 3” big to print 13” on a shirt.
You will need to spend a little time “tweaking” it. Yes,
you will need to learn about computer graphics. No, you won’t
need to become an expert.
I am writing
this note because I think at times we and our dealer network has sold
T-Jets as being “plug and play” and we have not emphasized
the small maintenance that is needed to keep the machine happy. And,
we have been guilty of not telling newcomers that there will be bad
art to deal with.
OK, for the
good news…… if you buy a T-Jet and understand it will need
some TLC and that you might have to spend some time fixing customers
bad artwork and if you realize you WILL ruin some shirts (it is ONLY
a shirt….), you will make a LOT of money with your T-Jet and you
will be very glad you made the purchase!
Scott Fresener, T-Jet developer