Are you planning on starting your sublimation business and need high-quality prints? If yes, then the sublimation printer is the most vital investment that you need to make. But the question that comes to mind is, what is a sublimation printer? And how it varies from the other regular printers?
Well, not to worry because we have got your back. Today in this guide we are going to be discussing what a sublimation printer is, what it can be used for, how to use a sublimation printer, and factors you need to consider before investing in one for your business or personal use.
In short, everything that you need to know about a sublimation printer can be found below in this comprehensive guide. So, continue reading to find out more and make one of the best decisions of your life because the quality, output, and versatility of the prints depend on it.
What is a sublimation printer?
Sublimation printers are specially designed and manufactured printers. Their purpose is to convert digital prints to hard prints much like a normal printer. But they differ in terms of the printing technology used. In a regular inkjet printer, dyes are sprayed onto the water. Whereas in the case of a sublimation printer, dyes are converted into a vapor state using heat and are then transferred to the paper.
It might be news to you, but certain regular HP and Epson printers can be converted into sublimation printers. Over the years, sublimation printers have evolved a ton. The newer options such as the ones manufactured by Sawgrass and Epson offer variable media sizes, high-resolution prints, and easy-to-use software.
What Can Sublimation Printers Be Used For?
Sublimation printers are one of the best printing solutions. They can be used for adding colors and prints to a wide range of materials ranging from fabric to ceramics and glass. Homeowners and professionals alike, use sublimation printers for the following purposes;
- Decorating – You can use sublimation prints to decorate your home. Add prints to your pillowcases, cushions, vases, upholstery, curtains, and more.
- Advertising – Sublimation can also be used for large-scale printing such as for banners, billboards, and posters. The image quality offered by sublimation is unmatchable thus giving you a competitive advantage over your competitor in the field of advertising.
- Apparel Customization – You can design your clothing lines, and customize your existing boring clothes such as pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, and more.
- Personalized Gifts – You can use sublimation prints to create personalized items such as t-shirts, caps, jewelry pieces, mugs, keychains and so much more.
Related: Best Sublimation Printer For Mugs
How To Set Up A Sublimation Printer?
You must be wondering how do sublimation printers’ work. Well, the sublimation printing process is much similar to regular printing. Using a sublimation printer is quite easy. All you have to do is set up and after that, it is all about hitting the print button.
So, let us go ahead and look at a step-by-step approach to set up your printer.
1- Unpack The Printer
The answer to the question ‘what do I need to start sublimation printing’ is a sublimation printer. Once you have it, it is time to unpack it. Most Epson printers come with a complete sublimation package which includes an ICC profile, sublimation settings manual, and sublimation dyes.
Take everything out of the box. Remove the plastic wraps and covers and have everything laid out in front of you so you can easily each piece together.
2- Install the Sublimation Dye Cartridges
Once you have everything, the first thing that you need to do is install the ink cartridges. For this step, we suggest that you read the manual provided by the manufacturer in the box. Most Epson printers come with ink bottles and ink tanks. The best way to transfer the inks from the bottles to the tanks is to use syringes.
Once done, start the printer and it will go through an ‘ink setup’ on its own. This process will take you about 10-20 minutes the first time. But once you get it right, you can easily change the inks later. Plus, you can always go through the ‘how to change ink in printer’ section on the manual again, if and when needed.
3- Connect the printer to the computer
The next step is to connect your sublimation printer to the computer. Most printers come with USB cables that you can use for connectivity but there are some advanced printers as well that allow you to connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
4- Install your printer’s driver
The next step is to install the software for sublimation printing. Many first-time users wonder what program to use for sublimation printing and often end up downloading the basic drivers from the internet. But we suggest that you don’t download them.
Instead, use the driver CD that came with the printer. It will allow you to use your printer to its full capacity and you will have access to all the settings. Also, in some cases, drivers are automatically downloaded from the web once you connect your printer to the computer.
5- Customize printing settings
Lastly, you need to apply the required settings. Once you install the drivers, you will notice that the printer offers a wide range of printing settings. You can adjust the print quality, resolution, paper type, and printing type.
6- Hit the Print button
And you are all done. Now select your design, place the transfer paper, and hit the print button!
Factors To Consider When Buying A Sublimation Printer
Wondering how to start sublimation printing? Well, by getting a sublimation printer. But before you go ahead and make the investment, you must understand what makes a printer a sublimation printer, what kind of printer I need for sublimation, and what printers can be converted to sublimation printers.
Well, before you buy a printer that can be used for sublimation, here is a list of factors that you need to consider to make the right decision.
- Print Technology – Printers with piezo technology are the ones that can be used for sublimation printing. If the printer comes with thermal printing technology, then you should not get it as it won’t be able to support sublimation dyes.
- Print Materials – Make sure to check which materials the printer can print on. All sublimation printers will print on transfer paper but only a few will print on fabric, ceramics, and other material types. So, make sure to check before purchasing.
- Ink Cartridges – The printer is a one-time investment, but the cartridges are an ongoing investment. Make sure to check how long will they last, meaning, how many pages can they print. Also, check if you can use each one individually.
- Maximum Layout – Check the size of the print tray and whether it is adjustable or not. The size will determine the maximum layout size that you can print.
- Resolution – This is important because you require high-quality prints. The higher the resolution, the better. Make sure to ask the manufacturer for a test print before making the purchase.
- Connectivity – Look for ways in which your printer can connect to your computer. Most printers will come with USB cables, but some advanced versions offer Wi-Fi connectivity options as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
A sublimation printer is a great investment but also an important one. The type of printer that you get determines the type of materials you can print on, print sizes, and print quality. In short, your entire business depends on it but the higher the quality of the prints the better.
If you have a regular printer that you can transform into a sublimation printer then go for it. As a hobbyist, it should work perfectly for you. But at the same time, if you wish to get into the sublimation printing business, then we suggest that you get a dedicated dye-sublimation printer that is equipped with high-end features. Remember, versatility always means better. So, go with a printer that offers versatility.
We hope this guide helped you learn more about sublimation printers. Now that you know what a sublimation printer is, you can start setting up your business by investing in one. Good Luck and let us know which printer you got and how it has been working for you.