Dear Tshirtsteve,

of course it is a good solution to buy a system for minimum 25.000 $ or more, but the washability of Laser-Dark (No-Cut) is much higher than only a couple of washes. If you use a big solid area, yes it will start to crack after a few washes, but the product is not developed for designs like this.
The option to use TransferRIP is not a MUST, it is only a good way to improve the wash fastness.
TransferRIP is also boosting the colors and the result with the RIP is much better than using the standard driver.
Of course, the colors will not be that perfect if you rasterize it comparing to a full scale image, but the result is also very good and in some cases breath-taking, depending on the design you are printing.
It is a pity that we were not able to help you finding the best way for you, but we hope that we can still make you happy using our products in the future.