General

  1. How does sublimation work?
  2. What are the special inks?
  3. What printer do I need?
  4. What kinds of items can I print to?
  5. Do I have to use a heat press?

General

  1. How does sublimation work?
    Basically, you're transfering a special ink onto a special surface using heat. Using your Epson inkjet printer equipped with sublimation inks, you print to a high-quality inkjet coated paper. Then you position your printed page against the item to be printed (image facing the item), secure it if you need to (recommended for mugs and other hard items). You may want to use a teflon sheet (or pellon sheet for mugs) to protect your item from scorching and to keep "ghost images" from being deposited on your heat platen, which may later be transferred to the next item you press (Just position the sheet between the heat element and the item). Then press. Be careful when removing the printed sheet, if it shifts against the item you printed, it may produce a "ghost image".
  2. What are the special inks?
    The inks are liquid sublimation inks made to work like inkjet ink in the Epson printer. When the inks are heated, they turn into a vapor and imbed into the coating of the poly/sublimation coated item.
  3. What printer do I need?
    Our manufacturer has only been able to adapt this process to Epson printers. The Epson Stylus 800, 850, and 900 are the smaller printers that can be adapted. The Epson 1520 and 3000 are also adaptable to the process and can print much larger areas. Remember - It may not be better for your purposes to have a larger printer. If the items you will be printing are smaller than 8"X10.5", you will only need the 800, 850, or 900. Also, be aware of the area limitations of your heat press. The 3000 uses 4 separate ink cartridges, (CMYK), while some other printers use one black cartridge and one tri-color cartridge.
  4. What kinds of items can I print to?
    Sublimation allows for printing to fabric items, ceramics, metals, plastic, hardwood items, and more! When dealing with fabrics, remember the inks are only taken by polyester. Any fabric you intend to sublimate to will need AT LEAST 65% polyester on the surface to take the image. The more the better. We have varying results with fabrics that are not made for the process. The hard items that can be used have a super-hard polymer layer to their surfaces. The mugs and other ceramics have a special sublimation coating. The hardwoods, plastics, metals, etc. all have a special coating.
  5. Do I have to use a heat press?
    You may use a heat press or dry mount press if they can apply medium pressure at close to 400 degrees. We don't recommend an iron be used. The sublimation process requires heat and pressure settings to be too exact to use an iron and get consistent results, although we have had some success with some of the smaller items. Please feel free to experiment. One solution we have come up with is our easy mug wrap. This device allows you to press a mug in your own oven and costs less than $30.

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