In the first part of this article, we discussed dye-sublimation in general terms, describing what exactly it is and how it works, as well as why it’s so popular. While we did manage to cover the basics regarding dye-sublimation printing, there’s still a lot left to know.
In part 2 we are going to go a little bit more in-depth on the topic of dye-sublimation and address other of its aspects, such as the machines used within the process. Let’s have a look at some other aspects of dye-sublimation printing, including the machine you’ll need for it, the software it requires, and other details.
Different Machines are Required for Dye-Sublimation
To achieve a successful dye-sublimation printing process, you’ll need to follow a simple two-part procedure. First, you’ll have to print your graphics onto a special type of transfer paper with your sublimation inks. Then you’ll need to make use of a heat press to transfer the ink you have on paper to the item you are trying to decorate with it.
RIP Software and Computer
You will need to have software and a computer to process and design the digital graphics you want to use for printing. You will also need these things to best manage your production overall. There are a few places you can attain this software, such as MCT Digital. This company offers a TigerVision software package that works unbelievably well with the modern RIP software capabilities and the VersaTech2 flatbed cutters to cut and finish your textile prints.
TigerVision combines machine control, editing, and vision control features within a modern, intuitive, and simple application. It allows for the full operation of the VersaTech2 cutting system from just a single user interface, and only minimal training is required.
Ultimately you will need some sort of digital flatbed plotter/cutter or an X/Y table cutter with registration capabilities if you want to use the dye-sublimation printing process. This is when the VersaTech2 comes in so handy because it is the only cutting system that incorporates full conveying capabilities for a knife, router, and laser cutting, all in just one system. There are no other machines on the market that provide this capability due to MCT’s patent-pending dual laser conveyor plus knife cutting conveyor “all-in-one” solution.
If you want to produce soft signage and apparel, you will need to have a sewing machine on hand. Dye-Sublimation Printing requires that you have some way to sew and hem for custom upholstery, custom apparel, and banner pole pockets. You also need the ability to perform silicone edge sewing if you want to make use of SEG frames for graphic applications.
There are 4 types of heat presses that are available depending on what type of materials you’ll be sublimating. For smaller items, you can simply use what is called a small format heat press. These presses are the smallest of their kind and are perfect for producing things like shoes, mugs, caps, and plates.
For larger prints, you will want to get a calendar heat press. These are large format presses which are intended for exterior banners, flags, and other types of large applications involving soft-signage. Calendar heat presses are also excellent for apparel printing and soft signage.
If you are going to be transferring prints not only onto regular fabric but also onto harder surfaces like aluminum, floor mats, hardboard, and other hard types of surfaces, then you’ll want a flatbed heat press. These presses are versatile and work for apparel printing, as well as less common items.
The last kind of heat press is called a 3D vacuum heat press. This is a heat press that is a compact desktop machine which allows for the heat transfer of prints onto materials that have an odd shape or a curved edge. These are very useful for companies which print on a lot of smaller items with different shapes.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to dye-sublimation printing, there are many different facets to explore. Here in this two-part series, we have covered just 3 of them, which should have given you a fairly good idea about what dye printing is and how it works.
It’s not hard to see that dye-printing offers a very versatile application that has a growing appeal to many graphics and sign businesses. Dye-sublimation printing offers a convenient solution which not only allows for product and apparel printing but also for signage which is lightweight, less expensive to ship, and extremely easy to put up.
For shop owners looking for the best technology and service they can find, MCT Digital is the leader in this field for fabric finishing. If you want to use the highest quality cutting technology and software, MCT Digital should be your very first stop.