Sublimation is the process of using a sublimation printer and compatible inks to create transfers which you can apply to T-shirts, mugs, fabrics, discs, and other items. To get the best possible finish for your transfers, it is vital to have the correct sublimation equipment. Carefully considering your options and grasping the basics allows you to make an informed purchasing decision.
The most vital piece of sublimation equipment is of course the sublimation printer. Consider the maximum image size you want to print. Sublimation printers with larger printing fields are still reasonably economical when printing smaller objects and can even help reduce costs per page, as you can fit multiple, smaller objects on a single sheaf of larger paper. The number of ink colours is also a consideration. For normal print work, four ink colours usually suffice, as just like a standard printer, the four basic colours combine. However, for detailed photographic work, six colours give you more subtle tones and colouration. Note your printer speed consideration, as with fast sublimation printers, quality can suffer, since the printer controller has to work harder to meet the speed demands. Therefore, if you need to print high-quality transfers or do not print large volumes at one time, a slower print speed is the better option. If you use your sublimation printer a great deal, you need a high-quality, durable sublimation printer, such as the Epson MX 80 series. Some desktop inkjet printers, such as the Epson WF3010DW inkjet printer, are suitable for use as sublimation printers with sublimation ink; however, you should not switch back and forth between sublimation and standard printer ink. If using an inkjet, keep it as a dedicated sublimation printer.
Sublimation ink converts from solid to gas without a liquid phase, and it is necessary for any sublimation task. Choose from aqueous sublimation ink or solvent dye sublimation ink. For use with desktop printers, aqueous sublimation ink is the best choice, while wide-format printers, such as the Konica sublimation printer range and use solvent dye sublimation ink.
Specifically for use with sublimation inks, sublimation paper can act as the final product, and is most commonly a temporary product. After printing, the sublimation paper performs as heat transfer paper, allowing you to transfer the image onto the final product, such as a mug, bag or T-shirt.
Sublimation Heat Press
When you want to transfer your images from the sublimation paper onto another object, you require a sublimation heat press. This machine heats the paper and transfers the image onto a mug, T-shirt, or other object. Flat heat presses work well for transferring to flat objects. However, if you plan to sublimate with mugs, a mug heat press is the better option, as it easily wraps the image around the cup.