DTG Printer Comparison – Viper vs. Viper2 vs. Viper2
In the United States we’ve been waiting for almost a year for the release of the new Viper2 from Impressions Technology through their dealer in the Western Hemisphere, ColDesi, Inc.
Impressions, also known as DTG Digital, is the manufacturer of the DTG Brand of direct to garment printers, but has been partnered with ColDesi from the beginning of the line, so DTG and ColDesi are basically the same thing here in the US.
Impressions, an Australian company, is quicker to market with new products, so their Viper2 has been selling in Asia, Australia and parts of Europe for some time – we’re just starting to get our first look here! There are a few differences in the products that Impressions sells and the ones that are available in the Americas, mostly because of some market differences between the 2, according to ColDesi, but also because they will occasionally request changes, upgrades or additions for the American versions. That’s why you see ads online for the M6, for example, but that product just isn’t sold here, and now why you’ll see a difference between the Viper2 USA and Viper2 International.
See what ColDesi has to say about its DTG Printers here.
Viper DTG Printer vs. Viper 2 DTG Printer
The original Viper has been around for many years and is a very good machine, delivering some outstanding quality and solid reliability. It’s best features have always been the HUGE print size, quality prints (using Dupont or Genuine DTG Inks) and that multi-platen system that all of the DTG digital garment printers have.
The original Viper, like all of the other DTG brand printers so far, has the bulk ink system and WIMS filter for white ink. Bulk ink just means that you fill up bottles of ink that are attached to the back of the printer that are pumped into the print head.
The original Viper also is a large device and LOOKS like a professional piece of equipment. You’ll see the measurements on the chart below, but let’s just say that it’s big enough, heavy enough and awkward enough to make you want a lot of help to move it.. and leave it where you put it! All the DTG line up so far, and all of the other printers on the market I can think of, also will not fit through a standard doorway – no fun if you want to run your business from home or a small office.
Print engine is a big deal for these systems and the Viper uses the Epson 4880, just like several other brands. The 4880 delivers a great image and is reliable when you take care of it but is being phased out by Epson, so it’s time to change!
Enter the Viper2
The new Viper2 is a BIG change. Or a smaller one when you think about it. The first thing you’ll notice that’s different about the new Viper2 is the size and footprint. The Viper 2 is actually under 36” wide, so can fit through a standard doorway – AND it’s light enough for 2 people to carry comfortably.
Why does size matter?
Most of us in the custom t shirt biz start from home or a small office so not only is space is at a premium, but double doors aren’t necessarily installed. There’s no loading dock either, so getting the 37” wide Viper inside is a real construction project. So the first big change between the Viper and Viper2 is the width – going from a 37” door buster down to a comfy 31.3”.
Next is transportability. The Viper2 weighs in at about 183lbs vs. the Viper’s 230.. wouldn’t you like to lose 50lbs? But really, being 50lbs lighter and much more narrow too makes the Viper2 easier to transport. That doesn’t mean just lower freight costs and easier installation in your home or office, but also that it’s reasonable to take on the road with you! You and a partner can move the Viper2 into the back of an SUV easily and put it into a mall kiosk, take it to a fair or big event, etc. The lower weight means you can take your show on the road.
Of course there is a drawback to the smaller size. Even though the Viper2 DTG printer keeps the 4-2-1 platen system that all the other DTG brand machines have, your largest print area is smaller on the Viper2.
The Viper could print up to 16.5” x 29”, the new one can only do 24”x 16”. I’m saying only but frankly it’s STILL bigger than its closest competitor, the Epson SureColor F2000.
So far we’ve seen that the size of the Viper2 is different than the original Viper, but what else is different?
This is the part of the dtg printer that makes it run, and the Viper, as I mentioned at the top of this article, uses the Epson 4880. The Viper2 uses the new Epson 3880, which Epson developed in part to use in its own SureColor F2000 model t shirt printing machine.
Just to get a little more technical, the Print Head is different as well. The Viper, like many other printers, uses the Epson DX 5 while the Viper2 uses a TFP print head like the SureColor.
While both the print engine and the print head do make a difference, if you thought about them both as just an upgraded technology that improves printer performance you would not be wrong. The best thing about these 2 mechanical changes is that they combine to give you a great quality printer. You also get the knowledge that since these items are both newly developed as compared to the prior models that you’re at the start of the parts availability cycle.
It’s cheaper! At the time I’m writing this the price isn’t really published yet, but you can expect it to be $2,000 or $3000 less expensive than the Viper. This puts it much more in the reasonable range for someone just starting in the digital garment printing / custom t shirt business.
Viper2 vs. Viper2
Remember we discussed how Impressions Technology is the maker of these systems and that ColDesi is their sole reseller in the US? Well this time they actually are releasing a slightly different model product, made just for this market.
What’s the difference between the Viper2 America and the Viper2 International?
CARTRIDGES! This is the DTG brands first product that uses cartridges, in the US version anyway, rather than bulk ink.
Using cartridges has some real advantages, which is why most of the new printers on the market are using them. One of the big advantages for home/office users and mall kiosk users is that it is SO MUCH QUIETER. The WIMS system is awesome, but it really does make some noise. Is that a problem for a screen printing shop? No. Is it better for someone in a back bedroom or next to where people are on the phone taking orders? Absolutely.
The other advantage for the home style user is the lack of mess. There’s no way around it, pouting ink from your big bottle into the printer gets MESSY. Not only will your floor get the occasional spill, but your printer’s electronics may as well. With cartridges, mess is as a minimum.
Theoretically, cartridges are also supposed to provide more of a closed ink system, helping to prevent dust, debris and air getting into the ink lines and causing issues. I’ve never heard of any particular issues with the DTG M2 or the older Viper model, so for me that’s just theory.
The Viper2 US version looks like a great machine, and offers some real advantages over not only the old Viper, but also its biggest anticipated competition, the Epson SureColor F2000. This isn’t a comparison article, but I can at least tell you that the single platen of the Epson makes it far less attractive than the multi platen arrangement of DTG brand – printing more than one shirt at a time is a MUST!
You can do your own research at: http://www.dtgprintermachine.com or http://www.coldesi.com