Thomas Aguilera has been screen printing in his garage for nearly 20 years, running a one-man shop in West Covina, California. A graphic designer by day, Aguilera prints orders brought to him by local brokers on nights and weekends.
“I’m like a one-man shop. I do everything: the graphics, the art, the separation. From start to finish, it’s me,” Aguilera said.
Three years ago, following a short break in his work, Aguilera got serious about his screen printing business, Tshirts Printed 4 U. At the time, he was relying on a manual press to create orders of up to 1,000 items for his customers. He liked the machine, but found the operation of a manual wearing on his body after years in the business.
“I was printing manually and I was simply falling apart. My arms, my elbows, my wrists – they were all hurting way too much,” Aguilera explained.
The stress on his body drove Aguilera to look for an automatic press, and he decided the Anatol Titan was the right choice for his shop. The air-powered Titan served him well, but recently a new piece of Anatol technology emerged as an even better solution.
Because of his positive history working with Anatol products – the Titan never required more than routine maintenance – Aguilera chose to upgrade to an 8-station/7-color Anatol VOLT. After using the all-electric VOLT for about a year, Aguilera is confident he made the right decision.
“This is revolutionary, and I think it’s going to be the future of screen printing machines,” Aguilera stated. “I think Anatol did a lot of thorough research on how to make all this stuff without needing any air.”
Aguilera said he knows a lot of smaller-scale screen printers view automatic presses like the VOLT as being for larger screen printing operations. However, with his part-time screen printing income of $4,000 to $6,000 a month, Aguilera has found the VOLT to be affordable for his one-man business. In fact, the VOLT has saved Aguilera in operating costs because it draws so much less electricity than the Titan did with its cumbersome air compressor.
“All in all, I was doing the calculations and I have one electric bill that was $260 less than this time last year,” Aguilera declared. “The cost has come down because air compressors draw so many amps.
“It’s much cheaper to run the VOLT.”
He also appreciates the extremely low noise level of the VOLT. Without the hissing air compressors and the clanging of a pneumatic press, Aguilera can work into the night without worrying that the noises issuing from his garage will disturb his neighbors.
“It does make a little noise, but it’s virtually silent. When the garage is closed, you hear nothing,” Aguilera said. “That was the selling point for me. I want to keep my neighbors happy. If I’m up at midnight printing, I don’t want to keep them up.”
Purchasing, setting up and operating the VOLT was smooth sailing, Aguilera said. His Anatol Regional Sales Manager, Don, helped guide him to the right model and worked out the financing. The technician who set up the machine was thorough and made sure it was ready for Aguilera to use as soon as he left.
“Once you know the software, hands down it’s just easy to get around. There was no real learning curve.”
Aguilera finds Anatol’s Aries touchscreen software to be comprehensive and easy to use. The step-back feature of the VOLT makes jobs easier and saves Aguilera time in turning out prints.
Aguilera would encourage any at-home printers to look into the VOLT because of its quality, easy operation, affordability, quiet operation and efficiency.
“If you have the work and you plan on doing this for another five, 10 years, get that automatic press. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be able to get more jobs done in a day, in a week,” Aguilera advised. “The VOLT almost seems like it’s tailored for a home type of use. It’s quiet, its electric use is low.
“To me, it’s a no brainer. I probably should have done it many, many years ago.”
The VOLT was well worth the cost, Aguilera explained, because he knows he’ll never need to buy another press.
“I have everything I need,” he said. “I can make my career with this one.”