Frequently asked questions
What is a sublimation printer?
Can any printer be used for dye sublimation printing?
As a result inkjet printers manufactured by Canon, Hewlett Packard (HP), Lexmark or Dell are not suitable.
Commonly these are Epson or Ricoh inkjet printers.
Brother printers also use Micro Piezo printing heads so in theory can be used, but are not a common choice within the market.
This is however something we are looking into.
What are Ink Experts Sublimation Printer bundles?
‘Sublimation printers’ or ‘sublimation printer bundles’ supplied by Ink Experts ltd are all standard Epson Ecotank inkjet printers that run micro-pezio printing heads.
These printers are packaged and supplied with Inktec Sublinova dye sublimation inks, dye sublimation paper and ICC colour profiles to allow our customers to use the printer for dye sublimation printing.
Officially an Epson Ecotank inkjet printer is not a dye sublimation printer according to Epson; however Ecotank inkjet printers use the same micro-pezio printing head as Epson’s OEM desktop dye sublimation printer; the Surecolor SC-F100.
All ‘sublimation printers’ supplied by Ink Experts are covered by a 12 month return to base (RTB) warranty. This warranty replaces the Epson / manufacturers warranty for the same time period.
Ink Experts offer their own RTB warranty to avoid warranty issues that can occur when dealing with the manufacturer (Epson) directly. This way customers can buy with confidence that their printer has a warranty.
Do I need to use sublimation ink in my sublimation printer?
What is sublimation ink?
These are then transferred onto products using a heat press process.
When heated, sublimation inks undergo a chemical reaction changing the dye from a solid to a gas without reverting to a liquid.
It transfers from the paper onto the final product.
This chemical change is known as ‘sublimation’.
Are all sublimation inks the same?
It is always advised to research into the printer and / or sublimation ink you are planning to use.
Here at Ink Experts we supply Inktec Sublinova Smart dye sublimation inks, these are very well regarded in the sublimation printing market.
They offer excellent quality results, deep, dense black and rich, vivid colours.
What is Sublimation Paper?
Sublimation paper is effectively a carrier for the ink.
Designs are printed onto the paper.
The paper holds the design as it is heat pressed on to the final product.
Sublimation paper has a specialist coating that allows the ink sit closely on the surface with minimal bleeding.
This results in a clean crisp image.
Are all sublimation papers the same?
Different papers can work better than others depending on the item you are heat pressing on to.
Here at Ink Experts we supply two types of dye sublimation paper.
This works best on hard surface substrates such as ceramic, metal, wood and glass.
Style is a light weight paper it offers a good ink release and is instantly dry once printed.
It is excellent for printing sublimation mugs.
It works best on soft surface substrates such as sublimation t-shirts, polyester canvas, linen, silk and PU leather.
Having a high release coating means the paper allows over 90% of the sublimation ink to be transferred from the paper to the product surface.
A a result it leaves a brighter and more vibrant final transfer print.
This makes it ideal for sublimation fabrics as much of the transferred ink can be soaked into the fabric fibres.
Do I need a heat press for sublimation printing?
How often should the printer be used?
Ink Experts recommend a printer be used every 3 days to keep the printing heads free from ink blockages.
Failure to do so may invalidate your warranty.
What heat press will I need for sublimation printing?
A flat bed heat press (swing arm or clam shell type) come in various sizes allowing for variety of different sized items to be produced.
It is used for flat items and is therefore suitable for a wide range of products such as t-shirts, cushion covers, aprons, bags, cosmetic pouches, aluminium sheets, and so on.
Again mug heat presses are available in many different forms.
Different heating elements allow for different size or style mugs to be produced in the machine.
10/11oz is the standard sublimation mug size.
Heating elements are available for 6oz, latte mugs as well as larger elements used for 15oz mugs, water bottles and beer steins.
Mug heat presses also come as single, dual or even 5-in-1 allowing for higher production volume.
What is a sublimation ICC profile?
In simple terms a sublimation ICC profile ensures the transfer print on your item looks as close as possible to the image on your computer screen.
Sublimation ICC profiles are made to match a specific setup – the printer, the sublimation ink, and the sublimation paper.
At Ink Experts we make sublimation profiles for each sublimation printer package we sell
Moreover we include these free with each package purchased.
Why do prints from my sublimation printer look different to the image on screen?
This is because sublimation inks change colour during the sublimation heat pressing process.
As sublimation ink reacts when it is heated the ink will physically change colour.
The end result becomes brighter and more vibrant than the image printed on the sublimation paper.
It is always advisable to heat press the image on to a product to see the final result.
What products can I produce with a sublimation printer?
Providing you have a suitable heat press the world really is your oyster, and your only limit is your imagination.
The sublimation blanks available allow for almost any product to be personalised or printed on to using the sublimation printing process.
What are the limitations of sublimation printing?
The polyester content allows the sublimation ink to adhere to the fabric and creates a permanent bond.
However, sublimation ink will not bond with natural fabrics such as cotton.