FB2Go is a 100% polyester pretreated shirt meant for Direct-To-Garment (DTG) printing. Because the whole shirt is pretreated, it is possible to print anywhere on the garment.
Why do I need FB2Go™?
Polyester printing has been called the Holy Grail of DTG. This fabric is unable to withstand the heat necessary to cure most inks without discoloring. Worse, polyester is woven in a way that prevents ink and pretreat from adhering to the shirt, making prints impossible to wash. In conjunction with a custom printing process, FB2Go™ shirts have been specially processed to prevent these issues. This pretreat and process is not available in other forms.
What printers are compatible with FB2Go?
Currently, only the Brother GTX™ and Epson F2000/F2100™ printers have been found to be compatible with FB2Go.* We cannot guarantee results on other printers or third party inks.
What colors and sizes are available?
We offer Black, Scarlet, and Royal Blue in sizes ranging from Small to Extra-Large. Custom colors and sizes are available for any shirt offered on thispage.
How can I place a custom order?
Custom orders should contain a minimum of 72 pieces of each color. Submit a request to this page or email email@example.com for an answer by the end of the next business day. Pricing is based on the total number of pieces ordered.
Are other sizes available?
Yes! Women’s XS-2XL, Youth, and men’s S-3XL sizes are available for custom order.
Can I try an FB2Go before buying?
Like most of our products, we can offer a sample of FB2Go™ for first time users. Leave a note on any order you place with us to request one, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Epson F2000™ is a registered trademark of Epson Seiko Corporation and does not produce, approve of, or warranty this product. Brother® GTX™ is a registered trademark of Brother International Corporation and does not produce, approve of, or warranty this product.
After months of testing and development, FIREBIRD is proud to announce that FB2Go™ shirts are now available. These fully pretreated shirts offer the first true option for Direct to Garment printing onto dark colored polyester. Backed by FIREBIRD’s proven quality, FB2Go provides the best washability and print quality on full poly.
FB2Go uses a special type of pretreat to overcome the issues most common with printing on poly. The process of adding this pretreat also coats all of the fabric evenly. This means that you can print on every part of the shirt without trouble.
If you need other colors or different sizes, FIREBIRD is able to process custom colors and sizes. To find out more about what we have available, you can provide your order information for a quote on pricing and lead time.
Pretreatment is the most important step in DTG, but can be a cause of many problems. Most stains, poor quality prints, and wash issues can be attributed to difficulties with pretreating. However, too few shops are doing their own testing. Even when you are given settings to follow, you should perform tests to match your process with your shop’s unique environment.
What You Need
One of the most important steps is to weigh your shirts during testing. Because of this, you should have a gram scale available. FIREBIRD offers our preferred version, but any kitchen gram scale should suffice.
You should also have several shirts that you intend to print on available and a method of recording your results. The classic graph notebook works for this, but is more likely to be lost than a digital copy and can’t be copied as easily.
Finally, you will need to know the size of the area that you’re spraying onto. Ideally, you can use a consistent automatic sprayer for this. If your sprayer is inconsistent, or if you spray by hand, be sure to have a tape measure available.
Testing Your Pretreatment
1. Weigh your shirt prior to applying pretreatment.
You should be doing this for every shirt that you test, even if it is the same brand, style, and color as one that you just weighed. Ten grams of pretreatment makes a huge difference in print quality, but ten grams of fabric is unnoticeable. Make sure that you record this number.
2. Spray your shirt with pretreat.
If you have recommended settings for your sprayer, try using these as a starting out point. This is also where you should measure the size of your spray area. FIREBIRD recommends a spray area of 14×16 for consistency with heat presses and other print tests.
3. Weigh your wet shirt.
Fold your shirt so that the wet pretreatment only touches itself and place it on the scale.
4. Subtract the weight of the shirt from the new total.
This will tell you how much pretreatment you have applied.
5. Dry the shirt as usual.
This step is part of what makes your shop unique. Pretreat always needs to be fully dried before printing, but presses and dryers can be inconsistent with each other. If you notice poor continuity, it can be helpful to test the temperature of your press or the surface temperature of shirts in a dryer.
6. Record the results.
It’s important that you note your results now. Look for stains, crystals, and discoloring. Any of these might indicate issues with your shirt or process.
7. Print your shirt.
Pay attention to the quality of your print and record your results. Try to use an image that clearly shows the quality of all five DTG ink colors. FIREBIRD will often use a simple color gradient for this.
8. Wash your shirt.
This step is mostly subjective. For example, you might tell your customer to wash Direct to Garment printed shirts inside out and with cold water only. However, that customer is unlikely to follow these steps. Deciding how harsh of a test to perform is totally up to you, although we at FIREBIRD prefer the roughest settings possible.
Applying Your Results
Now that you’ve figured out what settings you need for a fully printed shirt, you can also do the math on other prints. By finding the grams applied per square inch, you also know how many grams you need on other sized images. For example, if you need 30 grams across a 14×16 area, you’re using 0.13 grams per square inch (30 grams ÷ 224 square inches). This means that you can safely spray 4-5 grams on a 6×6 left chest (0.13 g/square inch x 36 square inches = 4.68 grams).
Some shirts are inevitably going to stain or wash poorly. If you have seen this happen during your tests, you may not be able to use this shirt with DTG. This is exceptionally likely with polyester and blended shirts. Fully polyester colored fabrics cannot be reliably printed with DTG at this time and should be avoided.
If you are having trouble printing onto a shirt that FIREBIRD recommends, these tests will tell us exactly where your issue is happening. You can always call us at 203-306-2988 ext 1 or email email@example.com with any questions, comments, or concerns.
With over 100,000 gallons of pretreatment made last year, FIREBIRD coming out with a GTX™ specific formula was inevitable. After all, our F2000™ and GT3™ Optimized Pretreatments were already popular and effective. What surprised even us was just how well our newest pretreat works with the newest line from Brother. FIREBIRD’s GTX™ Optimized Pretreatment costs less, requires less spray on a shirt, and gives images that added quality missing in other brands. With no need to dilute, no possibility of settling, and a wide range of available settings, this is also an incredibly easy pretreat to use. Overall, GTX™ Optimized is a must have for Brother users.
FIREBIRD has also introduced an improved method for internal cleanings. The GTX™ requires the operator to remove gunked up inks from the printer’s inner workings. These cleanings are a long, frustrating process that waste ink. To help deal with this, FIREBIRD now offers an improved Cleaning Solution for these cycles. This cleaner is more effective at breaking up dried ink. With less time spent trying to scraping away at your printer, you should need fewer auto cleanings. This in turn means less time and ink wasted during your maintenance.
It’s common for shops to avoid pretreating CMYK only prints, but the difference in quality is impossible to ignore. A light garment pretreat, like FBX-VIVID, adds serious vibrancy and wash fastness to your shirts. VIVID is also a must-have if you plan to print onto something with any amount of polyester in the fabric. This saves time and ink while printing. Using VIVID means that your GTX™ will not need to perform a double pass of CMYK.
The GTX™ is an industrial machine. The biggest shops will buy the GTX™ by the dozen to crank out thousands of shirts. Even single printer shops should be doing jobs every single day to even consider this printer. With this sheer volume of work, your pretreatment sprayer may suffer. Nozzles can become clogged and spray patterns on shirts can be uneven. Where you would otherwise have to replace parts, FIREBIRD’s Pretreatment Cleaning Solution can salvage sprayers. PCS can be used on anything affected by pretreat gunk and stickiness. You can use it for soaking nozzles, purging lines, and even wiping up spilled pretreat. Adding Pretreatment Cleaning Solution is one of the best ways to keep your sprayer running.
*Brother GTX™ is a registered trademark of Brother International Corporation and has not produced, endorsed, warrantied, or approved of these products.
As an introductory special, Brother GTX owners receive a free gallon of FIREBIRD GTX™ Optimized Pretreatment.* To take advantage of this offer, send a picture of your GTX setup to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your shipping address and company name to receive this gift. This offer is valid to January 2018 and will ship totally free.
FIREBIRD’s newly formulated pretreatment offers excellent white ink vibrancy and eliminates problems typical of pretreatment, like staining or discoloration. With a wide application window, no need to dilute, and no need to shake, this is one of the easiest pretreats available. The GTX™ Optimized Pretreatment is also up to 40% less expensive than other brands.
Brother™ DTG printers have proven to be some of the most reliable machines on the market. Many of their original GT-541s and GT-782s are still running in print shops around the world. The last generation, Brother’s GT-3 series, was popular with more than just the average user. Some of the largest DTG facilities own dozens of GT-381s. FIREBIRD will continue to offer pretreat specific to these printers, but we’re excited for the newest updates with the GTX™.
This offer ends soon, so be sure to get your free pretreatment today!
GTX™ users can also include a picture of their automatic pretreatment sprayer to receive a bottle of PCS Cleaning Solution! This solution can break up clogs, restore nozzles, and remove sticky residue from your pretreat spraying machine.
*Brother is a registered trademark of Brother International Corporation and does not produce, warranty, or approve of this product. Free shipping available within the US only.
One of the best parts of Direct to Garment printing is that you can run it in a small space. Setups in home garages and spare bedrooms are common and allow for orders to be fulfilled without the need to pay rent. A printer, heat press, and hand sprayer for pretreat are all that you immediately need. These don’t take much space and, with luck, you can find them for $10,000 or less. Just because you don’t have a store doesn’t mean that you will lose business. Small quantities of custom orders are where DTG printing shines and many owners of these machines won’t bother with having a physical store to sell their own designs.
Of course, this assumes that your business will even have room for DTG. While veterans of garment decoration need a reliable source for small orders, owners of clothing brands are better off avoiding the cost of equipment for as long as they can. There are many companies that will ship your shirts directly to your customer, with no need for you to do more than make an account and find sales. If you are the owner of a clothing brand, the best advice for you is to focus on selling and designing. You can worry about buying equipment later.
2) White Ink Settles Anywhere That it Sits
Ink settling is the cause of most maintenance problems in Direct to Garment printing. However, most DTG initiates don’t understand all of the problems that this can cause. Printer manufacturers always tell their customers to shake their white ink. Unfortunately, what new owners don’t always understand is that white ink will settle in your lines, dampers, and filters if you don’t use or clean your printer often. When you let it sit overnight, you will see a poor quality white on your first couple prints in the morning. If your printer isn’t used for a few days, you may see clogs and the need to replace parts. Additionally, bags and cartridges need to be shaken constantly or your print quality will suffer.
3) Used Printers Almost Always Have Problems
Buying a used printer is one of the most common reasons that you’ll see for DTG owners asking for online tech support. The sellers of these machines typically let the printers sit unused and un-maintained. If ink was in the printer, you can expect any and all of the previously mentioned settlement problems. You will still see broken parts if Cleaning Solution, water, or no fluid was left in the lines as a result of previously lubricated parts becoming dry.
Overall, you should avoid used printers unless you know what you’re getting into. If you can see the printer in action or receive a written guarantee, the printer may be worth your time. Additionally, some veteran users will come to your shop to repair broken down printers for less than the cost of buying new. Other companies also sell refurbished printers, which is comparable to the quality you can expect from new machines. The important thing is to find what will fit your budget, but still let you begin printing and making your money back right away.
4) Pretreatment Settings Aren’t Standard
Not all shirts are created equal. You will need to adjust settings when changing between shirt brands and colors if you want consistent prints. This is true even for pretreatment. If you lay down a single amount of pretreat for all colors and all brands, you will lose image quality and wash fastness. FIREBIRD typically suggests using more pretreatment on lower quality and darker shirts. Less is needed for higher quality and lighter colors.
The easiest way to adjust the amount of pretreatment used is with an automatic sprayer. However, even these expensive machines lack standard settings. You may be surprised to know that your own machine has no check for how much pretreat is put on the shirt. While auto sprayers have numbers indicating the amount of pretreatment applied, they are only showing “more” or “less”. Additionally, many sprayers have not been calibrated, so two of the same brand may spray different amounts with the same settings. The only way to really understand your settings is to do your own tests. This brings us to our final, most important point.
5) The Most Successful Printers do Their Own Tests
No two shirt shops are identical. Your exact combination of shirts, printers, and even climate affect everything you print. Because of this, experimenting is key. We suggest performing wash tests on any garment that you bring into your setup. You should also keep notes on the ink and pretreatment settings that you used on your best prints.
FIREBIRD has specific issues to look out for included in our other posts. Below is simply a bit of general DTG advice to help you get started with your testing.
If your shirt washes poorly, pay attention to how the image came off. Different problems cause different wash issues. We go into more details about this here.
Polyester needs special handling to work with DTG. This includes blends, sweatshirts, and any “neon” or “safety” colored shirts.
Red shirts discolor from heat. This will fade as the shirt cools and there is no reason to worry.
Too much pretreatment is likely to stain and wash poorly. Too little pretreatment will suffer from poor print quality and wash out. Try to find the “sweet spot” for colors and brands.
Of course, you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to FIREBIRD. We have a broad knowledge base and are available by email at email@example.com.
In DTG printing, crystallization refers to a specific type of issue that can occur when drying pretreatment. Unlike other stains that discolor the fabric itself, crystallization appears to be on top of the shirt and looks like table salt is sitting on it. These crystals don’t fade over time or come out in the wash. Garments that suffer from crystallization are functionally ruined, so prevention is the best option.
Crystallization is caused when the water in pretreatment evaporates and becomes trapped on a heat press. All methods of preventing the formation of these crystals involve some way of allowing this moisture to escape. Anything that increases the amount of water stuck between the shirt and the press will increase the odds of seeing crystals form. For example, tighter knit shirts are typically considered higher quality, but tend to hold more moisture and are more likely to suffer from crystallization.
The easiest way of releasing water is to adjust the settings on your heat press. Too high of a pressure on the press will trap moisture and form crystals. A high temperature may also add to this, as the water evaporates too quickly and cannot exit before more steam forms. You should also be mindful of the type of cover sheet you use on the heat press. Teflon sheets or Teflon press covers tend to trap water, and reusing these for pretreat can cause additional issues with staining and burns. FIREBIRD recommends using silicone treated Parchment Paper for drying pretreatment and switching to the less disposable Teflon options for lower cost ink curing.
When the easy options don’t work, you can also change the way that you dry the pretreatment. Conveyor dryers and air drying will never result in crystallization, but our favorite technique is the hover press. With this method, press the shirt lightly so that the press does not fully clamp, hovering just above the shirt for a few seconds before lifting. You will see steam escape at this step and can now continue pressing the shirt as you normally would. An alternative for presses that do not allow for hovering is to press the shirt in intervals. Rather than doing a single thirty second press, try doing two presses of fifteen seconds.
A final option is to alter the amount of water that is applied to the shirt. Too much pretreatment can cause crystallization, as well as staining and wash issues. Try laying down less pretreatment when adjusting the heat and pressure settings doesn’t resolve these problems. You should also be sure to avoid adding excess moisture when you see crystals. Some DTG users will attempt to dilute their pretreatment with water in an attempt to prevent various issues. However, all FIREBIRD pretreatments are ready to use, and further dilution may cause crystallization.
Polyester is possibly the most difficult fabric to work with in Direct To Garment printing. While cotton prints can be reliably produced for customers, print shops must worry about staining, ink bleeding, and poor washes on poly prints. FIREBIRD has been working to resolve this issue for some time and is proud to announce the first step for polyester printing, FB2Go White Shirts. These 100% polyester shirts have been fully pretreated and are ready for top quality prints. FB2Go does not suffer from the many poor effects that printers have come to expect from printing onto polyester.
FIREBIRD is well known as an industry leader in Direct to Garment ink and pretreatment for cotton shirts, but has more recently begun to focus on expanding into polyester printing. FB2Go allows users to print onto poly by specially treating A4 shirts with a version of FIREBIRD’s Pretreatment. A4 is a high quality garment brand known for their durability and comfort. Blending this with the eye-catching vibrancy and reliability of FIREBIRD allows for top quality shirts with incredible prints.
FB2Go White Shirts can be used by almost every major brand of printer and will not need special ink to use. While past methods of polyester printing have either failed to be fully DTG printed or caused major issues, these garments have been specially formulated for ease of use. FB2Go will reliably wash well, avoid pretreatment boxes, and prevent ink bleeding.
FB2Go White Shirts shortly are now available, with more colors to follow. Be sure to check out the FIREBIRD Facebook page for news, updates, and a first look at the future of DTG printing.
Fibers sticking up through an image, also known as fibrillation, can ruin a print. This is worse with certain garments and brands of pretreatment (FIREBIRD pretreatments actually contain a component to force fibers to stick to the shirt) and it is helpful to have a way to work around it.
Use a Paint Brush to Force Down Fibers
This is possibly the easiest, least expensive, and most effective way of dealing with fibers. Many printers who already use a brush to even out pretreatment spray patterns may be entirely unfamiliar with fibrillation. For this method, use a clean paint brush from any hardware store to push down fibers while the pretreatment is still wet. A quick brushing in a single direction will likely prevent the worst fibrillation. This should be every printer’s first choice for dealing with fibers as it is easy to use without interrupting work flow and won’t cause print complications.
Turn Up the Pressure on Your Heat Press
The reason that some brands of pretreatment require heavy pressure on a heat press is to fully press down fibers. FIREBIRD pretreatments are less likely to require this, but raising the pressure may sometimes still be helpful. FBX-100 and its related pretreats generally require a low pressure, but this can be turned up slightly for tougher prints. However, higher pressures may cause other issues, including staining and crystallization. You can check out this video to learn the “hover press” method that will prevent these problems.
Save a Shirt After it Begins to Print
You may occasionally notice fibrillation on your white underbase before the colored ink is printed. When this happens, you can actually still save the print. Fibers poking through will only be visible if they can break through the CMYK inks, meaning that the white ink can be fixed. Lay a piece of cover paper (preferably a teflon or silicone sheet like you use on the press) over the print. Then take something flat and rigid, like a business card, and gently scrape the white ink in one direction. Be sure to only go in a single direction and keep the ink evenly placed. While this method risks spreading ink where it is not meant to go, with a bit of luck it may just save your shirt.
Spray Water on Sweatshirts
Sweatshirts are some of the most likely items to suffer from fibrillation. These garments have so much fabric that some is bound to poke through the print. In addition to the previously mentioned methods, there is a lesser known fix for this issue. Using a spray bottle, apply a small layer of water over the area where you are printing. Then, brush this in a single direction (just like you do for the pretreat itself) and press the sweatshirt dry. This does not require much water and you should only need to press for a few seconds to dry the shirt. The water will help the fibers stay stuck down even before pretreatment is applied. Be sure to brush the pretreatment as well and keep an eye on the pressure. After this, your sweatshirt should be ready to print.
The F2000 was released as the first Direct to Garment specific printer from Epson®, a company whose converted photo printers kick started DTG more than a decade ago. While such a large printer manufacturer was able to quickly establish itself as an industry leader, the F2000 was held back by a monthly tube cleaning that could easily waste over $100 in ink. This was eventually replaced by the use of a special cleaning fluid to be used daily at a much lower cost. Now, FIREBIRD has reduced this cost even further.
The new FIREBIRD Tube Wash is fully compatible with the Epson® made version and follows the same steps that F2000 owners are used to.* Additionally, FIREBIRD offers the same amount of cleaning fluid for up to 45% less. Users can expect to make the change easily with no need to adjust their cleaning routine to accommodate a new product.
*F2000 is a registered trademark of Epson Seiko Corporation. Epson Seiko Corporation does not produce, warranty, or approve of this product.