Personalisation Business from Your Desktop
With the VersaSTUDIO BT-12, you can perform direct-to-garment printing on cotton fabrics. Print full colour photos or other graphics directly onto T-shirts, tote bags, interior décor, and more to produce high-value personalised goods and specialty items. The BT-12 desktop printer is perfect for small stores and temporary spaces, letting users jump-start their personalised printing business with a minimal initial investment.
Simple and Safe Operation
The BT-12 was designed to be powerful and easy to use at any experience level. Anyone can easily create original products of exceptional quality without special skills, training, or familiarity with printing. The optional cassette-type HB-12 finisher safely fixes the ink in the fabric while preventing exposure to high temperatures, so it can even be used in stores.
Compact Modular Design
The BT-12 is ideal for desktop use. The printer can also be stacked on top of the HB-12 finisher to provide a complete printing process in the smallest possible space. Create unique personalised products even at stores or events where space is limited.
W × D × H *: 419 × 760.3 × 513 mm (16.5 × 29.9 × 20.2 inches)
* Dimensions are of the BT-12 (in operating mode) on top of the HB-12.
Clear Photo Reproduction
From T-shirts to tote bags, the BT-12 prints directly on white and other light-coloured cotton fabrics*. And with a resolution of up to 1,200 dpi, even designs with photos print beautifully. With the BT-12, you can offer personalised products that are sure to attract customers.
* Fabric must have a cotton blend ratio of at least 50%.
Easy-to-Use Design Software
The BT-12 comes with Roland Design Software, which lets anyone create appealing designs. Simple operation screens make importing and editing images easy with no need for special knowledge or skills. Images can also be captured and imported from smartphones, allowing you to create original designs effortlessly.
Frequently Asked Questions
I just unpacked my printer and finisher. What do I do next?
Remove all the packaging tape and materials from the unit and cassette tray. Before you plug in the unit or turn the power on, open the front right cover and install the ink cartridges in the following order from left to right: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Once done, close the front right cover, plug in the unit and turn on the power. The “ink fill” process will begin. This will take about 7 minutes; the display on the control panel will initiate the countdown. Leave the printer alone – do not unplug or remove the cartridges at this point. The display will indicate “Ready” when it is done and ready to print.
My computer doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive. How else can I install the printer driver and Roland Design Software?
You can either connect an external CD-ROM drive to your computer or download the driver and software from Roland DG’s website: www.rolanddg.com.au. Before installing the printer driver, turn off your printer and connect your computer either by USB or ethernet cable (if using a network). Follow the prompts and choose your connection method. Make sure that you select the BT-12 as the default printer.
Do I need to do any nozzle checks before I start printing for the first time?
It is recommended to do a nozzle check before the first usage, and then periodically afterwards, to confirm that the print heads are firing correctly. Also, do nozzle checks after long production runs or long periods of inactivity. You can send test patterns for nozzle checks directly from the printer. Load paper in the cassette, and then press the Menu button on the control panel until “Maintenance” is displayed. Select it and navigate to Nozzle Check. Follow the prompts to print the test patterns. There will be 4 test patterns, one per ink colour.
If there are missing nozzles, then a Head Cleaning is recommended. That can also be found in “Maintenance” under “Head-cleaning.” Follow the prompts to either select a specific print head with clogged nozzles or to clean all the print heads. If you want to clean all the print heads, then you can also press the “Tray” and “Stop” keys simultaneously for a one-touch process.
Are there other calibrations that I should do to ensure the best print quality?
It is recommended to do test prints to confirm that the print lines are vertically aligned, and the colours are not blurred. There are test patterns for different fabric thickness and print quality – “Thick Standard,” “T-shirt Fine,” “T-shirt Speed,” and “T-shirt Vivid.” Load a piece of paper in the cassette tray. Go to the Menu button on the control panel and navigate until “Maintenance” is displayed. Find “Head Position,” then “Pr. Test Pattern.” After selecting the fabric thickness and print quality, select the “Start” button. In the illustration to the right, the “-2” settings are chosen since the test pattern is aligned. Enter the values in the “Head Position” and “Adjustment” fields.
* Note: You can only perform nozzle tests and various print tests/calibrations when the standard cassette tray (A4 size) is loaded in the printer. To calibrate for the smaller, optional cassette tray (A5 size), do your tests and adjustments while the standard cassette tray is inserted. When the tests and calibrations are completed, remove the standard cassette tray and insert the smaller cassette tray into the printer.
Why do I keep on getting an alert message to “Adjust height…” on the display?
There is a laser beam that measures the evenness of the fabric, as well as the material height from the print heads, when the cassette tray is inserted into the printer. If anything interferes with the laser beam, you must manually adjust the head height. Do so by pressing the up or down arrow on the control panel while looking at the red beam with the cassette tray inserted. Stop when the red beam shines across the width of the cassette tray. Press “Start” – once you have done so, the print job will commence.
What is the recommended image file size?
Most images taken on cell phones are high quality. If you are importing an image from the internet, then choose “large” images. The rule of thumb is that images at 150 dpi are fine, but 300 dpi is better if your image has a lot of fine details. Also, be aware that regardless of the dpi, if your photo is blurry and poor quality to begin with, it will print badly – even at 300 dpi.
What is the default Print Quality? How do I change it?
The default Print Quality setting is “Fine.” You can change this in the Printer Driver settings. Find the Printing Preferences and update.
Do I need to do anything to the fabric to get the best print?
While pre-treatment is not needed for the fabric, make sure it is free from debris such as lint, dust, loose threads and fibres. If printing on a fabric with a “rough” surface (i.e. terry cloth towel), make sure the fabric is smoothed out and the fibres are pressed down to create as even a printing surface as possible. It is recommended to test print on a variety of fabrics for compatibility.
Can I print on polyester fabrics?
No, you cannot. TPG pigment inks can only be used on cotton and blends with at least 50% cotton content. The higher the cotton content, the better the print. For polyester fabrics, dye-sublimation is the recommended printing method.
Why do some printed T-shirts look better than others when using the same image and print mode?
The quality and type of T-shirt can make a difference in output. Pigment inks sit on top of the fabric. Less expensive shirts tend to be loosely woven and have lots of microscopic fibres on the surface of the shirt. This “uneven” surface with lots of peaks and valleys on the printing surface will always yield images that look faded. 100% combed ring spun T-shirts, which have a very tight weave and a smooth surface, are the best to print on. It is recommended to test print on a variety of fabrics for compatibility.
Can I do anything to the images so the printed colours will come out richer and brighter?
Yes, you can. When installing the printer driver for the first time, you can set Colour Density when prompted to set the Initial Printer Settings. If you miss that step, you can still adjust the settings for your printer driver. First, go to the BT-12 settings and select Printer Properties. Then select Adjust Colour Density. Set them to the following levels: Black – 9, Cyan/Magenta/Yellow – 7 per colour. Click “OK” when done.
Next, manually adjust the Brightness and Contrast levels of the selected JPG and PNG images in the Roland Design Software will help. Moving the slider bar for both properties to the “75%” level works on most images. However, some photos may require changes in Brightness level and little to no change in Contrast level. Adjust as needed based per what is displayed in Roland Design Software.
Why does my fabric change colour after coming out of the finisher?
The temperature may be set too high and/or the press time is too long. Adjust one setting (temperature or time) at a time on the finisher to see what produces the best result.
Do I have to use the included Roland Design Software to design and print my graphics?
No, you do not. You can use common design software like Adobe® Illustrator®, Photoshop®, and CorelDRAW®. Roland Design Software imports only PNG and JPG files. However, you can print PDF, TIFF, BMP, PNG, and JPG directly from your Adobe or CorelDRAW design software to the BT-12.
Can I load the Roland Design Software on a Mac or PC?
Yes, the software is compatible with either a Mac or PC. Operating system requirements are Windows® 7/8.1/10, Mac OS X 10.11 or later.
What is the recommended Maintenance Schedule for the BT-12?
The VersaSTUDIO BT-12 delivers prompts that tell you what to clean and when to do so. It may be after 30 – 50 prints have been completed, depending on your output and colour density. Prints with denser colours and heavier ink saturation will require more cleaning. There are two different notices – one to clean the Maintenance Unit and one to provide Regular Maintenance. Use the supplied cleaning kit (included with your purchase).
For the Maintenance Unit, use the cleaning liquid and cleaning stick to wipe around the print heads, cap top, and wipers.
For Regular Maintenance, use the cleaning tool, two cleaning pads, and cleaning liquid. Discard the cleaning pads when done. Do not reuse. Refer to the Maintenance Guide for full instructions.