Flatbed UV Printers and DTG Differences

Jun. 15, 2022

Depth of Print

Print DEPTH is surprising important. Most DTG printers are only a couple of inches deep from the lowest position of the print bed (or pallet on a DTG) to the print head.This limits the depth of items you can print on to about 2 inches.Two inches is more than enough for printing on almost any textile – tshirts, jackets, canvas bags, canvas's for photos. All less than 2” thick.With an UV printer, depths range from about 3 inches up to almost a foot.The greater depth of the UV printer allow for a wider range of pre-assembled items.

UV Inks vs DTG Inks

UV printers use UV (ultraviolet) light to cure the inks in the printer.When the object emerges from the printer the inks are dry and ready to deliver. Why the difference? DTG inks are water based and contain polymers that are activated by heat which “set” the inks into the fabric that is being printed on.Water based inks can lose as much as 40% of their volume due to this process. So you generally need to use more ink than you would if there was no volume loss due to the evaporation of the water in the ink.UV inks cure by a photochemical process. These inks are made of liquid monomers and oligomers and not water based.

Curing the Ink

When the inks are exposed to UV light chemicals called photoinitiators in the ink become “excited” and cause the monomers and oligomers to polymerize (become polymers) hardening or drying.DTG ink must be cured with either heat, or head and pressure. Some larger print shops will use a tunnel dryer – basically a large pizza oven – that runs at a high enough temperature to fuse the inks into the fabric.

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