Science of Sublimation
The people who aren’t too familiar with sublimation probably googled it or looked at it on YouTube and it looks like a pretty basic process you have a transfer paper with a design on it that you applied to either like a shirt or piece of metal or something like that and add some pressure with some heat and they take it out and all the sudden there’s great image on it. But what’s really happening when that process is going on because there’s a lot of different processes that happen the same way but for it to be true sublimation what’s really going on a scientific level?
The term sublimation actually means solid form goes straight from a solid to a gaseous state. The liquid form there would be like ink in the cartridge when inks are in its liquid form. Once they’re sprayed onto transfer paper by means of the printer it and it dries out the solid form. Once we put that in the heat press we put it on the substrate which is it would be like your shirt or anything like that. Once you attach it to that substrate and you add Heat at a high rate and pressure it goes straight to a gaseous state and then these gasses attach to your substrate.
How is it Attaching to Your Substrate?
Everything that’s able to be sublimated has a poly coating or is made out of polyester fibers, so like your shirts are all polyester and hard substrates are coated with a poly coating. When that coating heats up it opens up pores in this coating and that’s where the gas goes into and when you take it off that heat press it cools down it’s trapping that ink inside the coating.
Epson desktop printers are the most accepted and easiest one for the dye sublimation printing business. You have lots of ink options to choose from, a wide range of printers, excellent print quality, and good color reproduction. Besides Epson Ricoh & Brother printers are available. Ricoh has a strong pedigree to sublimation business based on the co branded printers sold through Sawgrass. Brother is popular as the printer option in the pockets of the industry. All these printers you don’t need RIP software to create good quality results.
So after print, you will obviously have to print on your transfer paper so the next thing is the transfer papers.
Many sublimation papers sold in the market with various brands. The papers with a wide variety of features are available in the market. Select your paper for good release performance of the inks. The residual ink on the paper after the transfer should be minimum. Simultaneously the inks should be released gradually so that the sharpness of the transfer is there. It is important that the sublimation receptive coating is of consistent quality. Otherwise, you will not get good transfer results.
There are a wide variety of heat presses of brands. Most of them come from China.
Clamshell Press Versus Swing-Away Press
This is a feature that you can find on all three of those different presses or a lot of presses out there.
Why it’s important to get a swing away over a clamshell.
Clamshell hinges at the back. If you’re ever going to sublimate on something that’s thick like an acrylic, for instance, the way that press closes it’s only going to make contact a little bit on the backside and it’s not going to be able to close completely. So you’re not going to get good contact across your substrate.
Swing way picks straight up and down. It’s going to make full contact on the top of that thing and not be hindered by the thickness of it. It also swings off to the right so you can get it out of the way a little easier to work with.
The clamshell might have over the swing-away press is that room wise. if you are working in a small office and don’t have a lot of counter space the clamshell might be a little bit better just because it opens straight up and down. You don’t have to have room for it to swing off for the right.