When Direct-To-Garment printers were truly new there were questions about durability of the print, would it last being such a thin-coat of ink compared to plastisol inks. Getting a water based ink that had enough pigment to mark the garment, but still be thin enough to make it through the print head was quite the challenge.
That challenge has been met, and every iteration of the equipment gets better and better and better. And as proof I offer the following images:
Here is one of my cartoon hero's, Dexter. This image is about 10 inches tall so it was a good bit of ink to print it. I used the knock-out feature in the RIP Software so there is no white under the darkest inks, but still a good deal of white ink was needed. The pre-treat was the Polyprint pre-treat for Dark Garments and it went down at the 40% spray, the default setting for the pre-treat machine. This was literally something I wanted to just push through with no extra nothings just to see who long it would take to print and how much abuse it would accept.
And this is the VHS Cover to one of my favorite films of all time, just a wee bit bigger image than the Dexter Image. Not the most colorful sample I could have used, but that was by design because I wanted to see how aggressive the Knock-Out feature was and it did a really good job of feathering the white ink underlay for the darker parts of the image.
Both of these were pre-treated, printed, heat-set at 325 degrees for two cycles of 90 seconds with light pressure on the heat-press.
Then they went into the laundry basket. And out of the washer and sometimes into the dryer. Sometimes not. It's been thirty something washes (I lost count at 24) and not quite that many dryer cycles.
They do not look as good as the day they were print, but to expect that would be silly. They do look really good for as much abuse as they have received becuase some of the wash cycles were in hot, some with bleach, some with vinegar to get smellies out of other clothes.... for the abuse they have received they look really good.
Now these two go back into the laundry baskets and I'll report back somewhere around fifty washes. I'm going to have to guess because like I said, I lost count at 24 so maybe I'll just set the count at 25 and go from there. This is an experiment, not actual real Science!