Sublimation digital printing on polyester fabric is the subject of this one-of-a-kind reference.
Although polyester fabric is not the only substrate that may be digitally printed on, it is the emphasis of this article. I decided to write this tutorial since several individuals have asked me about the process used by companies that Polyester Fabric manufacturers. Because of this, I decided to put together a comprehensive, detailed, and understandable resource on the subject of sublimation digital printing on polyester fabrics.
This book is meant to provide you a full understanding of what sublimation digital printing is all about, whether you are new to the field, presently utilizing other print technologies, wholesale fabric suppliers, or have begun in the world of textiles or sublimation digital printing.
For the sake of brevity and clarity, I will avoid describing “conventional” or “analogue” print methods like gravure and screen printing in this book. Instead, I’m going to give digital ink-jet printers and sublimation digital printing my whole attention.
Next, it delves into what substrates may be used, how digital ink-jet sublimation stacks up against other textile printing techniques, what to look for in a heat press or calendar, and much more.
What is Sublimation
Sublimation is a unique phase transition in which a solid instantly transforms into a gas, bypassing the liquid phase entirely.
This happens because the material draws in heat from its surroundings so fast that melting is prevented. This process may be triggered by applying heat or pressure.
The inks used in sublimation printing are heat-sensitive. When exposed to heat, these inks mix with a 100% polyester medium to form a gas. Images on the fabric do not fade or break, even after several washes, since the ink remains embedded in the fabric’s structure.
When printing on a polyester substrate (fabric or coating), ink-jet sublimation digital printing involves fixing inks that include heat-activated sublimation dyes into the material using heat and pressure.
Effectiveness of Sublimation Printing
Without a shadow of a doubt, sublimation digital printing is one of the most efficient and effective ways for producing a wide variety of personalized and custom items on demand.
As a result, you’ll be able to offer your current clientele a wider selection of services and enter a plethora of untapped areas.
Stretchy sports fabrics, thick canvas, fire retardants, and ultra-light polyester materials like weightless georgette are all suitable for sublimation digital printing.
Sublimation may also be applied to a wide variety of coated hard surface materials, not only textiles. These include wood, metal, plastics, glass, and ceramic.
This opens up a vast array of potential uses, such as apparel and equipment for sports, as well as fashion, soft signs, interior design, promotional products, and custom presents.
Sublimation inks are very concentrated and include a wide variety of colorants, both of which are required to produce photographs that are both stunning and accurate in color.
The ink’s pigment is carried by a different medium, which is the major distinction.
Sublimation inks tailored to individual printer models are sometimes made available. Depending on the printer type and the ink-jet head model, other third-party sublimation inks may work.
Users of third-party ink solutions should verify ink compatibility. And get assistance from their printer’s manufacturer for any printing or technical concerns.
While CMYK is the industry standard, some manufacturers additionally provide a wider variety of colors for the ink, such as pink, orange, navy blue, sky blue, red, neon pink, neon yellow, neon green, green, turquoise, violet, and several shades of black.
The Process of Sublimation Printing
To help you get started with sublimation digital printing, we’ve broken down the whole procedure into its component parts:
- Raster Image Processor (RIP) the design on a computer and send it to the printer after you have the correct dimensions and number of repeats for your pattern. Keep in mind that, depending on your RIP programme, you may need to mirror the design before printing.
- Printing: Sublimation inks should be used to print the design you obtained from the computer onto the specific transfer paper.
- To print on polyester fabric, transfer the ink from the paper using a heat press.
- The printed side of the paper goes down, and it is put on top of the object being photographed. Then, a heat press or calendar is used to apply pressure and heat.
- Fabrics made entirely of polyester will have the greatest outcomes throughout this procedure.
- After you take the paper away, the print is finished. There is no need for a drying period or post-treatment.
- The print on polyester fabric is not affected by scratching or washing. It happens due to the procedure that permanently pastes the pattern to the cloth.
- Colors are long-lasting, can withstand repeated washings, and won’t fade thanks to the dye’s resolidification on the cloth fibers.
- It completely absorbs into the fabric, taking on the same feel, texture, and hand as the cloth itself.
Why Only Polyester
Because polyester is a plastic, it melts when subjected to high enough temperatures, hence releasing the pores. Although it won’t be hot enough to cause a gooey mess. But it will soften enough to open microscopic holes in the fibers. Sublimation inks transform from solid to gas when heated, and this gas may permeate the porous polyester fibers. When the heat source is turned off, the dye and the polyester strands fuse back together.
For this reason, sublimation digital printing retains its vivid colors for a long time. Cotton, paper, wood, and wool all burn at the temperatures needed to activate sublimation inks, hence they can’t be used.
This manual should help you better understand what sublimation is, its process, and the things you can make with it. Since its introduction, sublimation transfer printing has been the standard method for printing on polyester fabrics for many applications. You can do whatever you can imagine with this innovative technology. The industry is only now starting to take shape. Sublimation printed cloth is preferred by consumers over conventionally printed fabric. Please get in contact if this introduction has piqued your interest in digital sublimation.
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