Comparing the Versacamm – Direct To Garment

Many of my customers have asked me to compare the Versacamm to many different types of Garment Decoration technologies.  The most common of which is Direct To Garment printing. 

The first thing to keep in mind is cost.  Generally speaking, the popular Direct To Garment printers have a price range of $10,995 up to $29,995.  Keep in mind this is only pricing the Direct To Garment printers that are in the same “class”.  What do you get for your money?  The lower end printers give you the ability to print onto 100% white Cotton T’s, that’s it.  There is also a printer in the $20,000 range that will give you the ability to print onto both light and dark garments, as well as some Cotton/Poly blends with a pretreatment.  The recurring cost in any printer that you choose is the ink.  For a dark garment, you’re looking between $4 to $5 per shirt for a 10×10 print. 

Unfortunately, the pretreatment can add as much as three minutes to each shirt that you press.  Time is money.  Durability is also an issue on the dark garments.  A shirt printed with Direct To Garment printing onto a dark garment will only last about 20 washes.  For most of your customers, this will not be enough.  You can actually get a similar quality using a $60 inkjet printer and Opaque Inkjet Transfer Paper.  Curing a dark garment will add a couple more minutes to each garment.

How much extra time do you have to service your machine?  With most Direct To Garment printers, you need quite a bit.  Clogging print heads is a common problem.  The cost to replace a print head is around $300.  Do you have to ship the machine back to have it replaced?  If so, you better make sure it is well packaged.  Those machines aren’t very light, how much will the shipping charge be?  If your supplier ships you one, are you qualified to change it?  Will you void the remaining warranty if you get in there and do something that you’re not supposed to?  These questions and many more have to be considered when making your purchasing decisions.

Now for the Versacamm.  For the purpose of this post, we’ll limit our comparison to the 30″ models.  54″ models are also available, but we’re comparing machines that are primarily for garment decoration here.  There are two 30″ Versacamm’s available, the SP-300 and the VP-300.  The SP-300 costs the same as the low end Direct to Garment Printers, $10,995 while the VP-300 runs $14,995.  The difference between the Direct To Garment prints and a shirt done with a Versacamm is that the Versacamm prints on a transfer media that has to be pressed onto the shirt.  For cost comparison sake, if you add the cost of ink and the cost of the transfer media, you’re looking between $3.50 and $4 per transfer. 

Quality wise, it is very tough to be the quality that a transfer printed with the Roland Versacamm will give you.  Durability is unmatched.  Once pressed, the transfer should look the same wash 100 as it does the day you apply it.  How many other decoration methods can you say that about?  The feel of the transfer is also exceptional. 

As far as the maintenance on the machine, take a vacation.  First, when you buy the machine, the company that you purchase from (This guy – adam@imprintables.com) will come to your location, install the machine and train you how to use it.  The Versacamm has a great feature where it will clean itself.  You can program the machine to run a head clean as often as you wish.  As long as you leave the main power on (there is a power switch on the machine that basically puts in in sleep mode), the Versacamm will turn itself on and run a little bit of ink through to make sure there are no head clogs.  Now if something where to go wrong with the machine, the installer is still responsible to come out and fix any issues. 

Now what if you want do decorate some materials other than the standard cotton or cotton/poly blend?  With a Direct To Garment printer, you’re out of luck.  With the Versacamm, it’s your lucky day.  The materials offered by Imprintables Warehouse for use with the Versacamm give you the ability to decorate virtually any type of fabric.  Using our Solutions Opaque material, you can apply to cotton, poly, Nylon, leather, canvas, performance, spandex and more!  Solutions gives you an amazing hand, opacity, durability and stretchability.  You can decorate bags, gloves, shoes, jerseys, compression wear, performance wear, mouse pads, jeans, hoodies…ok I’m rambling.  A lot! 

Here is my challenge.  If you’re considering any Direct To Garment printer, do your homework. 

– Ask me for a sample of what you’ll get with a Versacamm and ask the same of the company that your considering a Direct To Garment printer from. 

– Wash test.  Take those same samples and wash them under the conditions that you think you’re customers will be washing them.  See which one looks better.

– Compare costs.  I’ll be happy to help you get the true cost of any prints done with the Versacamm vs. the Direct to Garment. 

– Make a wise investment.  Either way you look to go, you’re going to be spending some money.  You need to make sure it’s going to be profitable for you both short term and long term. 

I’m sure there are a lot of questions that you still have.  Be on the look out for posts in the near future comparing the SP-300 to the VP-300, introducing the 54″ machines and more comparisons to other competing technologies.  If you can’t wait, please email me at adam@imprintables.com with any questions you may have.

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3 comments

  1. That was helpful.

    Another point worth making: a DTG printer is a dedicated device with a single purpose, whereas the Verscamm can be put to a wide range of uses. Your comparison is a really helpful apples-to-apples review, but the Versacamm is a big basket of other fruits besides.

    But again, appreciate the focus on this. Has been a question rattling around as I contemplate making a purchase.

    – Ron

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