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How to Build a DTG Printer: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to build a dtg printer

Are you wanting to make your own DTG printer at home and surprise everyone by making some great DTG prints? How to build a DTG printer shall walk you through some easy steps to making your first homemade DTG printer. Keep reading ahead and learn about it all.

DTG printers

DTG happens to be the acronym for Direct To Garment printing. It is the procedure by which printing over textiles is done. It is done with the help of the technology that is called aqueous inkjet. These types of printers have a design platen for keeping the garments fixed in a particular position. The print head then sprays the ink on the textile. It also requires running the garments through a pre-treatment process so that the ink holds on to the garment well and does not get washed out easily.

With DTG printing if you make the print on light-colored fabric, the print comes more perfectly than the darker ones. In case you are wanting to make a white print over black fabric, it is important that you run the process of pretreatment of the fabric too. Otherwise, the print shall not come properly over it and also shall get faded very soon within a few washes.

DTG is a very common form of business practice as well as it is very popular among customers especially teens and young adults who look for getting their T-shirts customized. Multiple patterns and designs are made on T-shirts using this DTG printing method.

how to build a dtg printer

How to build a DTG printer

You can make a DTG printer very easily at your home by giving some modifications to your home inkjet printer. in order to do so follow the steps that have been given below.

Things that you shall require

  • Plywood particlesof ¾ and ½ inches
  • Plywood ¼ inches
  • 1 ½ inch of wood screws
  • Drawer track of ball bearings measuring 24 inches
  • 1/16 inches thickness of aluminum scrap
  • Printer (Epson printers are more appropriate for it)

List of tools required

  • Square
  • Tape for taking measurements
  • Chalk or a pen for the markings
  • Circular and table saws
  • Dremel and jigsaw
  • Drill
  • File or sandpaper

The measurement

First, you got to cut the wood. For having the ¾ inch it shall be 1×16 inches/11 ½ inches. 1×26 inches/10 inches.

For having the ½ inch it shall be 2×26 inches/5 inch. 2×26 inches/1 ¾ inches.

The process of making the DTG printer

Clamp two of the 26×5-inch boards together. Measuring 6 inches from the end and 2 3/8 inches from the bottom drill a hole through both the boards having 5/8 inches diameter. Here the paper shaft will get in. Now for the metal track put the outer part at ¾ inches over the top of one of the pieces that measure 26×5 inches. This shall be the backend of the flush track having its end on the board. Put the inner part of the track in 1 1/8 inches on the top of any one of the pieces measuring 26×1 inches and ¾ inches.

To attach the corners of the wood drill the holes which should be smaller than screws. Add two 26×1 inches and ¾ inches with the 26×10 inches. Repeat this same process with the other two pieces measuring 26×5 inches and 26×11 and ½ inches. So this makes the rolls of the top tray. Here ensure that the shaft is spinning freely without and also with having the top tray. Do not put the binding now.

how to build a dtg printer

Now you got to mount the motor drive. Snug it closer to the gear on the shaft. Do not make it very tight or else it shall grind with the wood. Ensure that it stops the shaft from popping out. Now, taking the assembly pull out the top shelf bringing it to the side. Place your motor either on the top or the inside (as per your need) of the piece measuring 26×5 inches. Putting the shaft makes the alignment perfect and then around the base of the motor draw a circle. By making the tangent lines and straight edge you shall be able to have an approximation to the center of the circle.

Cut it with a large hole saw and then file it a bit giving it a little smoothness so that the motor is able to fit in comfortably. Then pop the riveted 1×3 inches of the aluminum piece along with the motor so that it can be mounted easily. as you are putting in the shaft ensure that the alignment is perfect. 

Here you can even use the C damp and washers from your old reject printer for stopping the shaft from falling inside over the other piece that measures 26×5 inches. To stop the shaft from coming out you can use the 1×10 inches of aluminum bending it to an N shape. Then get a hole drilled into it to hold the shaft. For this purpose from the unused old printer pads, you can even use the cut-up spring.

For modifying the printer carriage chop off the slot for paper. Then put it over the two pieces of 26×5 inches and press it back to 6 inches. Now to make the platen for putting the T-shirt mount the 24×9½ inches of plywood over the two plywood of 20×2 inches and 7/8 inches. This measurement height is depended on the height of the head. From the head, the T-shirt must be 1/8 inch.

Get your power supply soldered beside the driver board motor. Also, put the paper feeder sensor on the platen. Power on your printer and start making the first DTG print. You shall surely be able to make your prints. At first, to get used to it, it is advisable to go for light-colored t-shirts and make less complex prints. Once you gain a little practice and confidence you can print all that you want perfectly.