DTG using a stock printer

Here’s a Direct-to-Garment device that uses a stock printer. [Jeff German] used an Epson R1900 with the stock firmware to get the results seen in the video. His hardware modifications involve adding two buttons to the printer’s circuit board. For DTG beginners this certainly lowers some of the obstacles to getting started. [Jeff] is working on detailed instructions but for now take a look at our own How-to for building a DTG printer.


  1. John Avitable says:

    I love techno just as much as the next guy, but it’s nice to have a break for once on a demonstration video.

    Cool stuff, I’m thinking about trying to make one of these myself.

  2. mowcius says:

    Very nice. Now I wish I had a suitable old epson to rip apart…

  3. Gilliam says:

    I have an Epson stylus color 875DC which ive read can have the ink counters frozen (so i can add an ink tank system on the side), but have not been able to get them to freeze. maybe that chip resetter at Frys would be a good next step/try.

  4. Terry says:

    one wash and you have a nice white shirt again, ready for a new print!

  5. Marc says:

    I had to stop the vid because of the music, but seems cool.

  6. spyder_21 says:

    Not too shabby, me likes

  7. willyshop says:

    I think every hackaday video should have some Bob Marley.

  8. stol24 says:

    @spyder_21: Yeah of course you had to stop the video because “of the music”. Blatant copyright violation..(duh..!)I think there is also an extra special (super secret) trick, called ‘mute button’ as well.

    Nice setup.! My only question being.. Why aren’t there any commercial kits for this ? (or are there?)

  9. moshguy says:

    This seems like a great idea but how well do the inks stay on the garment? Will they fade in a few washes? Are the designs as durable as your standard issue silk screened tee-shirt? Are the paper inks used for the DIY DTG printer the same as the inks professional DTG printer?

    I only ask because there seems to be a pretty big price gap between the DIY DTG printers and the professional DTG printers.

  10. Alan says:


    For a tech-related site user, you seem to not have grasped the function of the “volume” control.

  11. jgerman says:

    you guys rock….

    thanks for posting my vid…

    love your site..


  12. derp says:

    The quality of the video isnt that great so it’s hard to tell for certain, but the printed shirt looks pretty darn good.

    Excellent setup :)

  13. McSquid says:

    at 2:11 the printer syncs with the music =D

  14. Mr_Bishop says:

    very nifty, but how many washes can the ink survive? because if this prints so its life span is like a average (walmart/kohls) T-Shirt I would totally do this in a heart beat. I wonder what the cost of building one of these would be..

  15. @McSquid
    true! :)

    Now, how to protect the ink from water/sweat? Bake the T-shirt? :-)

  16. fartface says:

    Cool but it’s still far easier and cheaper to buy the stuff to print your own screen print stuff and make far better shirts screen printing at home instead.

    I’ve been doing 4 color shirts for a while and get enough friends wanting them that it funds my hobby.

    Plus screen printed has got to last longer in washings than this method. (I also can do black shirts which is a major bonus.)

  17. jgerman says:

    hey guys lots of info on the tshirt forums regarding the build and other builds, just in case some of you were not aware most commercial machines are based on an epson head…

    the inks used are from dtginks.com they are formulated just for shirts and then heat pressed after there printed(same ink as commercial machines)

    you can use ink carts or a bulk system…it will also print on dark shirts, you configure your ink carts as cmyk-wwww… lots of info on the forums

    no set up time as with screen prints, digital quality prints and no limit to colors (millions…lol

    this is really for some one serious about getting into the t shirt biz…at a fraction of the cost, compared to commercial machines-its the same thing using all epson firmware and a roller conveyor designed base…check out the commercial side of the forums and you will see what i mean…

    thanks for the support guys

  18. Hacksaw says:

    Yeah what jgerman said!!! A commercial DTG printer will cost you $15k + this even if you start with a new r1900 will be less than $2k with a bulk feed,second set of print heads,RIP and a heat press. This thing ROCKS!! I’m keeping my eyes open for a used r1900 or better

  19. Oh man. That is cool. I was about to have some shirts printed, but not in a hurry. Maybe I will build a direct to garment deely.

  20. junkshirts says:

    Nice job, but you I still would recommend a commercial direct to garment printer is you plan on printing dark shirts. They require white ink which is much more temperamental

  21. jgerman says:

    it will print white ink aswell, mentioned above…someone is not reading the post..lol!!!you have to set the ink channels up as cmyk-wwww… this is the same printer (r1900) that many commercial printers are based off,and the current standard… without mentioning there names!!!!! so basiclly it will do anything they do! white ink is more maintenance for any dtg machine..but easily manageable with proper care..

    there are only two commercial companies that i know of that do noy use an epson head…

    dtginks.com has great carts etc for these machines…

  22. e carta says:

    want to make me a few? e me back

  23. Steve says:

    This is totally awesome! I’d love to build one except I’m not technically inclined so as to ad buttons to a printer’s circuit board. However, if there was the option to buy this unassembled and complete with instructions, and videos even (or without videos) I’d be all over this! I’m new to the printing business and screen printing really isn’t up my alley me, and DTG’s are just too expensive to buy. Please let me know if there’s the possibility of purchasing this unassembled with the necessary button(s) already attached to the printer’s circuit board. I could definitely take things from there and build my own DTG.

  24. I have an HP B8550 photo printer with 2 printheads 2 continuous ink systems one with white garment ink one with cymk garment ink just exchange printheads easy on 8550 for black shirt print white first change to color prithead and reprint no special software needed what is your opinion I am very impressed I am a retired millwright thaks

  25. one other question using the drawer method does the drive roller simply contact bottom of drawer and roll out using just friction thanks again

  26. Be on lookout for diy dtg printer kit or fully assembeled. will print light and dark shirts or sweaters kit will come unassembeled with detailed instructions also complete ready to print unpack plug and play no computer needed!!!!email for more info Howard.Pfeiferjr@gmail.com

  27. Chris says:

    Here I have 4 R1900 that all give me ink problems. All lights on unless I remove one random cartridge. Anyone know how to fix this?

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