You’ve heard the sales reps’ talk, now listen to what the decorators have to say about the direct-to-garment machines they chose to splash their cash on

DTG M2 and HM1s

Scott Taylor, 1ClickPrint

What machines do you have? We have DTG Digital’s HM1s and an M2

When did you get them? We got our first HM1 around six years ago and we’ve added new machines each year since.

Why did you choose these models? Initially we choose the HM1 as it seemed to have the best print and build quality, and the print speed was also better than the competition at the time. We’ve added more machines over the years but we still use the first HM1 we bought on a daily basis.

How have your printers been working out? Very well, the machines are reliable and the print cost means we can make a good profit on each shirt.

What has been the customer response? We get very few complaints and a good number of repeat customers – I would say the responses have been good.

What is its best feature? The RIP software and the one-pass settings.

Anything you’d like changed/tweaked? The platens could be better and the ink tanks and waste ink could be larger.

Advice to others thinking of buying it? Make sure you keep on top of the daily cleaning and machine maintenance.

M&R M-Link

Phil Millar, Creative Apparel

What machine do you have? M&R’s M-Link, which I think is the best on the market.

How much did it cost? £35,000.

When did you get it and why? We saw it at Fespa, although I didn’t go there to buy it! The M-Link is made five miles from DuPont, the ink company, and they’ve been working together to get the ink right so the quality is absolutely brilliant. It’s not the fastest – it prints about 25-30 garments an hour – but it’s the best quality: because every machine at Fespa was printing the same Fespa image it made it easy to compare them and this was far superior.

How has it been working out? I love it.

What has been the customer response? They’ve really noticed. People didn’t like the quality on the dark T-shirts before but with this, it’s really good.

Best feature? The quality, and it hardly uses any ink. A lot of machines splatter the ink down, which uses more, but this just puts the ink where it’s needed. Also, the white doesn’t dry into the heads.

Anything you’d like changed? I’d like it to print 200 an hour!

Advice to others thinking of buying it? Don’t. I want people to buy rubbish printers instead so everyone says they’ll go to Creative Apparel for a far superior print!

Resolute R-Jet 5

Leo Stanley, Identity Printing

What machine do you have? We have four of Resolute’s R-Jet 5 direct-to-garment machines. We update our machines every two years because Colin Marsh, the MD of Resolute, is always bringing something new out.

Why did you choose this model? My business partner Zahid is a proper tech head and he went down the route of investigating all the machines and, for us, this was the best. Also, in the early days when we were starting out, we loved the back-up service you got with the Resolute machines. I always say, check out the back-up service when buying a machine. Although we haven’t really had to use it because, touch wood, they have been trouble-free.

What did you have before? The first machines we had were big workhorses, whereas what Colin offered us was a scaled-down machine that wasn’t complicated.

How has it been working out? We like the simplicity of it, and the way the inks run through the machine – there is no clogging. We keep them running for 12 hours a day in the run-up to Christmas, and 8-9 hour shifts the rest of the time. They just keep going.

What’s its best feature? The ease of using it and the software.

Is there anything you’d like changed? I’ve never heard the printers kicking off, so no.

Advice for others thinking of buying it? The secret to digital printing is servicing your machine every morning. We don’t start a print run without them being cleaned. It doesn’t matter if they’ve done one the day before or a thousand and one, we clean them.

Final tip? Forget garlic bread, the future’s digital printing.

Brother GT-381

Mike Freeman, The Surf Shack

What machine do you have? We have the Brother 381, which can do white ink, and two used Brother 541s, which is the 381’s predecessor; they just do CMYK.

How much were they? I paid £14,000 all in for the Brother 381 from John Potter at MHM Direct, and £1,000 for one of the 541s from eBay, and £2,000 for the other from MHM Direct.

Why did you choose the Brother 381? We had a machine from a different brand before which gave us a lot of trouble. We’ve learnt from the experience that these machines have a habit of breaking so it was important for us to get something that was low maintenance and low liability. The Brother 381 was the best I could see after looking at all the others.

How has the 381 been working out? It’s been good. We need more printing ability, so we’ll probably buy another 381 soon.

What has been the customer response? They haven’t really noticed. The quality is still the same but it’s just more efficient – a customer wouldn’t notice on the quality side, but we do on the back-end side.

How much do you use it? We print between 10 and 60 T-shirts a day.

Best feature? It’s built for the purpose. A lot of printers are reconditioned Epson printers that were never designed to print T-shirt ink, but Brother from the start was a machine built for printing T-shirts.

Advice to others thinking of buying it? Stick with the Brother and go and see John at MHM. It just works, it does the job, and John does really good deals. Plus, when our Brother first arrived it had a technical problem – he didn’t quibble, just sent us another.


To read about Sixteesix’s Epson Sure-Color SC-F2000 view All aboard the 6Tee6