TIP OF THE WEEK
Sublimation printing allows businesses to create customized and personalized full color products on demand. Sublimation printing has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until Sawgrass Technologies discovered a way to formulate sublimation inks so that they would print through an inkjet printer that it became an economical and practical way to decorate a variety of substrates.
Though the production technique is relatively simple, it’s the chemical process that separates sublimation from any other form of digital printing. When sublimation inks are heated to 400°F, they turn into a gas and form a permanent bond to 100% polyester fabric or items that have a polymer coating. The result is a premium full-color, photographic-quality image that will not crack, peel or wash away from the substrate.
Mugs, hats, keyrings, metal plates, mouse pads, beer mugs, water bottles, ceramic tiles, phone cases, coasters and much more…
Depending of the subtract or your production requirement you will need the right heat press.
- To creating large items like t-shirt or metal sheets your will need to use an heat press.
- To create mugs you will need an mug press.
- To create hats you will need an hat press.
- To create plates you will need an plates press.
- To create small 3D item you will need a 3D sublimation press that will allow to create up to 12 mugs at the same time or other smaller object like shooters, phones cases…
Sublimation printer, are special printer that can handle the sublimation ink. For small print (8 1/2” * 11”) or (11 * 17) we recommend the RICOH printer. For bigger needs we recommend bigger sublimation printer like the MUTOH large format sublimation printer.
Color profile: Before purchasing any sublimation printer, ask if the printer have a color profile for the sublimation ink. A color profile will configure the optimal ink colors to make them shiny and vibrant. Without the final result will not look the same as the image on your computer.
Ink consistency: When you put sublimation ink in a printer it is not recommended to change for another ink type like inkjet, if you do so the ink won’t transfer properly because both ink cannot mix and you will have to ask an printer technician to fix the printer for you. This is why we strongly recommend to stick to only one type of ink.
Sublimation ink are special ink that will bond during the heat transfer process with polyester surfaces. The only distributor of this type of ink for small printer is Sawgrass.
In north america, retailler’s are not authorized to sell other ink like chinese sublimation ink and we do not recommend chinese ink. Because, they’re cheaper, they can broke your printer and it may void the printer warranty.
SUBLIMATION TRANSFER PAPER
Sublimation paper is a special paper that is use to transfer the sublimation ink from your printer to the sublimation blank. This paper is heat resistant so it won’t caught in fire. We have tested many transfer paper and we found that the beaver paper offer the best quality. Other paper like chinese paper are cheaper and will not offer the same vibrant ink transfer quality.
HEAT TRANSFER TAPE
Heat transfer resistant tape are use to stick the paper on the subtract for the heat transfer process, than remove when the transfer is finish.
The simple and most important rule for sublimation printing is consistency. Any change in a variety of variables—substrate, sublimation paper selection, pressing time, temperature and pressure—will impact the final output. Therefore, it’s necessary to experiment and test as needed in order to generate the desired results, then establish a set of standards to work by… with the full understanding that a change in the standards can lead to a change in the appearance and quality of the final product.
PRO: Low cost, Simple to use, Simple to learn, Allow you to diversify your production and create custom items for personnal and marketing need.
CONS: Solution only work on white polyester T-Shirt. The printer must be use frequently (once a week) or the auto-wash function will start and drain a little bit of ink.
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