ACP Technologies|sublimation| dye, printer, blanks| Unisub Vapor Premiere Powered by JRank
Dedicated to all your Digital Decorating needs
Contact Us   |   View Cart
 

Sublimation FAQ

 

What is Sublimation?

 

Sublimation - as related to chemistry, is defined as "To cause (a solid or gas) to change state without becoming liquid". For example, dry ice changes to gas without ever becoming liquid. The sublimation process imprints images into polyester, or polyester coated objects by applying dyes that turn from a solid to gas when heated. When the sublimation dye is placed next to polyester and heated, at approximately 325 degrees the polyester molecules open. The sublimation dye, which at this time is a gas, will then be able to penetrate the surface of the polyester. After the heat is removed, the polyester molecules will close and permanently trap the sublimation dyes, thus the image, into the polyester substrate.

 
 

 

 

What is SubliJet, and how does it work?

 

Although we all refer to SubliJet as Dye Sub, it actually isn't. Dye Sub images are created in thermal printers using varying degrees of heat to sublimate dyes from a paneled ribbon in the printer to a special carrier paper. Many of the commercial and professional dye-sub printers today are designed for producing photographic prints. There are quite a few dye-sub printers on the market available from Sony, Cannon, and Mitsubishi to name a few.

SubliJet is the culmination of a patented intellectual idea "THE SAWGRASS METHOD - HYBRID SUBLIMATION"  that uses digital printers for printing sublimation dyes. This Sawgrass technology is applicable to all major computer-driven printer formats including thermal, inkjet, and laser. SubliJet actually works by printing sublimation dyes, using supported Epson / Ricoh ink jet printers, in an inactivated or non-sublimated state onto standard paper . Using time, temperature, and pressure, the image is then transferred to the final substrate. This "first generation" transfer offers a more vibrant, near-photo-realistic image,  resolution of up to 2880 dpi. SubliJet transfers can be applied to coated ceramics, metals, glass, wood, plastic, melamine, Mylar, marble, polyester fabric, or any other polymer coated surface.

 
 

 
 

How do SubliJet inks compare with other digital imprinting technologies? - Laser or Ink Jet Transfer Papers:

 

Image transfers created with color laser copiers or ink jet printers utilize a polymer coated sheet to fuse toner or ink particles on the surface of a substrate. The result is a decal-like transfer that can peel, crack, or fade over time. SubliJet uses a chemical process called sublimation to transfer its ink below the surface of a substrate. This results in a tattoo-like transfer that will not peel, crack, or fade and lasts for many years.

 
 

 
 

How do SubliJet inks compare with other digital imprinting technologies? - Dye Diffusion Transfers (Dye Sublimation):

 

Dye diffusion transfers are created on a thermal printer using varying degrees of heat to sublimate dyes from a paneled ribbon in the printer to a special carrier paper. The image is then re-sublimated onto the final substrate. This "second generation" transfer offers photorealistic images, yet is limited to coated ceramics and treated cotton fabric.

 
 

 
 
How do SubliJet inks compare with other digital imprinting technologies? - Electrostatic Transfers
 

Electrostatic sublimation transfers are created on an electrostatic printer using sublimation toners with electrical charges to a special carrier paper. The image is then sublimated onto the final substrate. This transfer method offers full color images, yet is limited by resolution, dot size, toner instability, and prohibitive cost of entry. Examples of this technology include RasterGraphics and Xerox e-stat platforms.

 
 

 
 

What currently available desktop tabloid printers are compatible with SubliJet  Inks?

 

A new age for sublimation printing began November 2008. ACP Technologies released the SubliJet-R System made specifically for the Ricoh GX7000.  Touting faster printing speeds, energy efficiency, high-capacity and brilliant color output, the Ricoh GX7000 offered a new and better choice for sublimation printing. The professional-grade system touted a large printing area of up to 11 x17”, that could be extended to 13 x 19" with the purchase of the optional paper feed tray. In speed, color, printability, the Ricoh Gelsprinter GX 7000 was better than any of the Epson Desktop printers.

 

In September of  2013, Ricoh replaced the Aficio GX e7700n with the Ricoh SG 7100dn. In Spring of 2015, Sawgrass released the Virtuoso printing system including the SG800 printer. Going forward, ACP's recommendation for tabloid desktop sublimation printing will be the SG800. The SG800 can also print on 13 x 19" paper with the purchase of an optional paper feed tray. The SG800 is accompanied by PowerDriver-4 that allows printing images with easy color management and sharp details.

 

 
 

What currently available desktop letter / legal printers are compatible with SubliJet R Inks? -

 

The SG400 is the letter / legal printer printer that ACP recommends for a company who is just starting into sublimation. It has the same advantages over Epson printers; better printability (ink flow, less clogged printheads), speed and color. Color management for the SG400 is provided with PowerDriver 4.

 

 

 

 
 

What currently available Epson desktop printers are compatible with SubliJet Inks?

 

Workforce 30 - It has the lowest start-up cost for an Epson printer.

Workforce 1430 - It uses CMYK SubliJet ink bags and prints on paper as large as 13"x19".

 

 

ACP understands the price difference between the Epson 1430 and the SG800, and how that makes the Epson 1430 extremely attractive for setting up a sublimation system. We still believe that the SG800 is the best solution for desktop sublimation printing.

 
 

 
 

What currently available Large Format printers are compatible with SubliJet Inks?

 

Sublimation ink for large format inkjet printers, supporting Mimaki, Roland, Mutoh and Epson printers, is designed for applications that require printable widths of 24" up to 74". Developed for the professional business user, these printers provide quick, cost effective, sublimation transfers for customized t-shirts, decorated apparel, promotional products, interior signage, POP design, carpet graphics, tile murals, tradeshow graphics, sporting goods, etc. Large format printers support either cartridges or a bulk feed ink systems. Mimaki, Roland, Mutoh and some of the older Epson printers use bulk feed systems that allow inks to be purchased by the liter. Large format printers that use bulk ink usually require the use of RIP software for color management. ACP suggests and supports Ergo Soft. ACP Technologies currently suggests the Mutoh VJ628 24" large format printer.

 
 

 
 

What are the minimum Computer \ Software requirements for printing sublimation transfers, and what problems could be caused by using an older system?

 

Effects of using a computer system that is below the minimum recommended system requirements:

 

1) Print speeds may be longer and therefore less economical to run.
2) Larger graphic files may not print properly or at all.
3) The computer may get 'hung up' or "time out' during the processing of the print command.
4) Graphic design programs may be much slower to use.
5) Print spooling may not work properly because of lack of computer or printer memory capacity.
6) Graphics may not print correctly. Images may be cut off.
7) Longer print times can lead to more room for error - i.e. nozzle drops or banding.

 

The bottom line is that the minimum and recommended system specifications for new printer platform / PowerDriver solutions have increased dramatically. The more applications that are open and running at one time on a computer will greatly affect the efficiency and ability to run / print from graphics programs. Printing performance is maximized by using the latest hardware and software systems available.

 
Printer Minimum RAM Recommended RAM Processor Speed Hard Drive  Free Space
SG400/SG800 2 GB > 4GB Dual Core, 3 Ghz > 1 GB
         
Epson WF1100 1 GB > 2GB Pentium 4, 3 Ghz > 1 GB
Epson WF30 1 GB > 2GB

Dual Core, 3 Ghz

> 1 GB

 

As for software, there was a major upgrade to the print engine in CorelDRAW X3. We have seen intermittent printer printing issues with users who are using a version of CorelDRAW that is older than X3.

 
 

 
 

My work is seasonal. Do I have a problem if I do not use my printer for six months?

 

Unfortunately, there is a problem allowing an inkjet printer to sit for extended periods of time without printing. The problem is inherent to inkjet printers in general, and not just an issue for SubliJet inks. The shelf life for SubliJet inks is six months in the printer. When ACP gets ink from Sawgrass, the SubliJet R ink use by date is usually 10 months out, and SubliJet E ink is about 14 months out. With that said, SubliJet inks will not automatically fail to perform six months and a day after they have been installed in the printer, but it is always best to use them before their use by date. Inks that are past their use by date could possibly cause color management as well as printer issues. SubliJet E inks should be replaced at a maximum of nine month in the printer.

 
 

 
 

Since my work is seasonal, and I only need to print transfers a couple of times a year, what should I do?

 

Fortunately, as long as you have a heat press, ACP can print your transfers for you. We do this because there are companies that do not print enough transfers to justify the cost of purchasing and maintaining a sublimation printer. We hate to see someone purchase a printer and set of inks, then never use it. We would rather start you off by providing your transfers, then when business warrants a printer, you can  purchase the printer.

 
 

 
 

What are the limitations of SubliJet / ArTainium / Sublime inks??

 

SubliJet / Artainium / Sublime inks transfer well to light colored, synthetic surfaces such as polyester and acrylic coatings. They do not transfer to natural surfaces such as cotton, or dark colored surfaces. Over long periods of time sublimation inks have limited color-fastness when exposed to direct sunlight.

 
 

 
 

Does SubliJet work on 100% cotton T-shirts in addition to polyester T-shirts?

 

Sublimation inks do not have the ability to imprint cotton. If you must imprint cotton, then you will need to use a transfer paper. ChromaBlast, a paper / ink solution from Sawgrass, is an excellent choice for light colored fabrics. We also support a transfer paper we call Fab-U-Trans. It can be printed with sublimation inks, and transfer quite well on 100% cotton. ACP can provide you Forever Subli-Dark, and Subli Flex, the only transfer papers that has been specifically created to be used with sublimation inks. The Forever papers can be used on both dark and light colored 100% cotton fabrics.

 

 

What type of fabric can be used with SubliJet inks?

 

SubliJet should be used with light colored Poly-Performance fabrics. ACP provides Vapor Apparel, both Poly-Performance and Micro fiber, wearables for decoration with SubliJet inks. These products can be digitally imprinted with full color, photo quality graphics that will be dyed into the fabric. The permanency and quality of the image is superior to that of traditional screen-printing or transfer papers. You will not be able to feel the image on the fabric and it will not crack, peel or fade. Because SubliJet uses sublimation dyes, fabric should be at least 65/35 polyester / cotton. If you must use a 50/50 shirt, then the ACP Support department has some tips and tricks to sublimate 50/50 fabric with an image that has approximately 75% of the vibrancy of a sublimated image on 100% polyester fabrics. A sublimated 50/50 t-shirt will never, repeat never, look as good as a 100% polyester t-shirt imaged with sublimation, but we have customers who successfully sell 50/50 sublimated t-shirts and their clients are happy.

 

 
 

Do I need special transfer paper with SubliJet?

 

SubliJet utilizes heat activated sublimation dyes, consequently no special transfer paper is required. Some people in our industry call the paper we use with SubliJet inks "Transfer Paper." It actually isn't, because the paper itself has no transfer qualities. To be more precise, the paper is a carrier. It needs to carry and release the appropriate amount of sublimation dye to produce the correct image with our color management software. Paper is extremely important to us, and all inkjet paper will not provide optimal transfer quality. ACP strongly recommends, and only supports, the use of paper recommended by Sawgrass

 
 

 
 

Can I use both OEM and SubliJet inks in my printer?

 

Please do not! If you need to remove your SubliJet inks for any reason, please contact us and talk to an ACP representative before you do. Once you install SubliJet inks into your printer, for all practical purposes, you dedicate it to printing SubliJet. If you decide to upgrade to a different printer, you can reinstall OEM inks. It is not advisable to switch back and forth between OEM and SubliJet inks on the same printer. If you need to print with OEM Inks, it is best to purchase a second printer.

 
 

 
 

What does it cost to print with SubliJet inks?

 

To operate your SubliJet system profitability, it is important to have a understanding of transfer cost for each print job. In determining true costs, consider the amount of ink used for a specific artwork design, the cost for paper plus your time. Using baseline costs of goods for each project allows you to maximize your profit. Also realize that the per print cost for an entry level printer will be higher than a production printer. One of the most important factors in determining which printer platform you invest in, is how much you will be printing.

 

What does it cost to print with SubliJet-HD cartridges in the Sawgrass SG800?

 

Medium Coverage Example

Image Size  SubliJet-HD SG800

8” x 10” T-shirt image $ 0.51
5” x 7” Plaque Image $ 0.30
3” x 4.5” Mug Image $ 0.09
 

The image cost shown in this table is for ink only and does not include paper. The sample image used has an approximate 50% coverage. Actual results will depend on specific artwork, firmware, RIP and color management settings. Numbers are approximate for comparison purposes only and do not constitute a guarantee performance.

 

What does it cost to print with SubliJet-HD cartridges in the Sawgrass  SG400?

 

Medium Coverage Example

Image Size  SubliJet-HD SG400

8” x 10” T-shirt image $ 0.59
5” x 7” Plaque Image $ 0.35
3” x 4.5” Mug Image $ 0.10
 

The image cost shown in this table is for ink only and does not include paper. The sample image used has an approximate 50% coverage. Actual results will depend on specific artwork, firmware, RIP and color management settings. Numbers are approximate for comparison purposes only and do not constitute a guarantee performance.

 

What does it cost to print with SubliJet-HD cartridges in the Mutoh VJ628?

 

Medium Coverage Example

Image Size  SubliJet-HD Cartridge

8” x 10” T-shirt image $ 0.19
5” x 7” Plaque Image $ 0.11
3” x 4.5” Mug Image $ 0.04
 

The image cost shown in this table is for ink only and does not include paper. The sample image used has an approximate 50% coverage. Actual results will depend on specific artwork, firmware, RIP and color management settings. Numbers are approximate for comparison purposes only and do not constitute a guarantee performance.

 
 

 
 

What heat press should I purchase?

 

Actually, that is one of the more important decisions that must be made before you start imprinting sublimation transfers. Heat presses should last for a long time,. Once you make the decision, you will have to live with it. Make sure you purchase the correct size, features, etc. That is why we say, " make this decision carefully." 

 
 

 
 

What is the difference between a clam shell and a swing-a-way heat press?

 

A clam shell heat press closes on a hinge at the back of the press, while a swing-a-way press comes straight up and down, then swings away. If you are planning on imprinting thick items (tiles, plaques, etc.), the even pressure over the item that a swing-a-way heat press produces is a must. As long as you will only imprint thin items, (T-shirts, FR Plastic, Metal) where even pressure is not critical, then a clamshell press would suffice. It is our opinion, that the versatility of the swing-a-way press makes it a better choice.

Clam Shell

Swing-a-way

 
 

 
 

What size heat press should I purchase?

 

There is no one heat press fits everyone's needs. ACP supports USA heat press manufacturers: AIT, GEO Knight, HIX, Insta, and Stahls. Give us a call and we will discuss which one is right for you.

 
 

 
 

Does ACP have different printing systems available for the SubliJet user?

 

Yes, ACP has trademarked the term Sublimation Solutions® to refer to the different printing systems we offer. Each printing system has been designed for a specific type of sublimation. All system prices are list. Contact ACP for any special pricing that may be available.

 

The start up cost on ACP's  Sublimation Solutions® Starter printing system is:

Sawgrass Virtuoso  SG400

$359.00

SubliJet-HD Standard Cartridge (CMYK) Set $340.00
Stahl's 11'' x 15" Digital Clam Heat Press $700.00
   
Total $1,299.00
 

The start up cost on ACP's  Sublimation Solutions® Basic printing system is:

Sawgrass Virtuoso  SG400

$359.00

SubliJet-HD Standard Cartridge (CMYK) Set $340.00
HIX Swingman 15A 15" x 15" Swing Away Heat Press $754.00
   
Total $1,453.00

 

The start up cost on ACP's  Sublimation Solutions® Intermediate printing system is:

Sawgrass Virtuoso  SG800

$1459.00

SubliJet-HD Standard Cartridge (CMYK) Set $340.00
Digital Knight DK20S Heat Press $1575.00
   
Total $3,374.00
 

The start up cost on ACP's  Sublimation Solutions® Professional printing system is:

Sawgrass Virtuoso  SG800

$1459.00

Sawgrass Virtuoso SG800 Bypass Tray $208.00
SubliJet-HD Extended Cartridge (CMYK) Set $524.00
Insta i256 16" x 20" Swing Away Heat Press $1950.00
   
Total $4,141.00
 

The start up cost on ACP's  Sublimation Solutions® Professional printing system is:

Mutoh VJ628 - 24" (with stand)

$5048.00

SubliJet-HD Cartridge Set $880.00
Astechnologies -1112 - Electromagnetic Press 20'' x 44" $9095.00
   
   
   
Total $15,023.00
 
 

 
 

Can you give us a brief history of Sawgrass Technologies and "Hybrid" Sublimation?

 

Sawgrass Systems, the inventors of "Hybrid Sublimation" was founded in 1988. In 1990, using Seiko printers, their technology first supported thermal wax printing using a sublimation print ribbon to produce an image. The ribbon was usually about 500 feet long and made of a series of three panels; yellow, magenta and cyan. Sublimation dye was suspended in the wax on the ribbon. When the image was printed, a sheet of paper was fed into the printer where it was aligned with the yellow panel. The yellow panel and the paper were then passed beneath the thermal print head, which caused small dots of ink to be placed on the paper. The same thing happened with both the magenta and cyan panels. Mixing of the three colors produced a full color image ready to be sublimated. Sawgrass supported a second thermal wax printer with the release of the PowerPrint ribbon for the Fargo PrimeraPro printer in 1995. In October '96, Sawgrass released the SubliJet ink cartridges designed to work with the Epson Stylus Pro line of printers. These cartridges took the sublimation the process to its next level. Sawgrass also selected  ACP Technologies as one of its four original SubliJet distributors to help pioneer ink jet sublimation printing. The following is a timeline for supported printers and ink.

 

Year Ink   Printer
1990 Hi Color Ribbon   Seiko 4104 \ 5504
1995 PowerPrint Ribbon   Fargo Primera \ PrimeraPro \ Pictura 310
1996 SubliJet   Epson Stylus Pro, Pro XL
1997 SubliJet   Epson Stylus Color 3000
1998 SubliJet   Epson Stylus Color 800, 850, 1520, Encad, and Mimaki
1999 SubliJet   Epson Stylus Color 900, 9000
2000 SubliJet   Epson Stylus Color 980, 7000
2001 SubliJet   Roland
2001 SubliJMAX (Laser Toner)   QMS MagiColor 6100  Desklaser
2002 SubliJet XL   Epson Stylus Photo 1280, Epson Stylus C80
2002 Natura (Laser Toner)   Xante Colour ScreenWriter
2003 SubliJMAX (Laser Toner)   Tally T8406
2003 SubliJet XL   Epson Stylus C82
2003 SubliJet IQ   Epson Stylus C84, Epson Stylus Photo 1280
2003 SubliJet IQ   Epson Stylus Pro 7600, 9600 Large Format printers
2004 SubliJet IQ   Epson Stylus Pro 4000, Epson C86
2005 SubliJet IQ XG8   Epson Stylus Pro 4800, Epson Stylus Photo R800/R1800
2005 SubliJet IQ   Epson Stylus C88
2005 Natura L'ink   MS 1
2006 ChromaBlast   Epson 4800, Epson R800/R1800, Epson C88
2007 Natura L'ink   Direct Advantage
2007 SubliJet IQ \ ChromaBlast   Epson Stylus C120
2007 SubliJet IQ   Epson Stylus 1400
2007 SubliJet IQ \ ChromaBlast   Epson Stylus 1900
2007 SubliJet IQ   Epson Stylus Workforce 30
2008 SubliJet IQ XG8   Epson Stylus Pro 4800
2008 SubliJet R   Ricoh GX 7000
2008 SubliJet R   Ricoh GX 5050
2009 ChromaBlast   Ricoh GX 7000
2009 SubliJet IQ   Epson Stylus Workforce 1100
2010 SubliJet R \ ChromaBlast   Ricoh GX e3300N
2012 SubliJet R \ ChromaBlast   Ricoh Aficio  SG 3110D / Ricoh Aficio GX e7700n
2015 SubliJet HD   Virtuoso  SG400 / Virtuoso SG800
       
 
 

 
 
Are SubliJet® Inks warranted?
 
Yes, the PartnerPlus program is supported by both ACP Technologies and Sawgrass. It is a comprehensive plan that fully guarantees SubliJet® digital transfer inks against performance issues or defects, and to fully support any printer under original Epson \ Ricoh warranty when used with SubliJet inks. It provides transfer system owners with the following:

1) Real-time product support including: telephone/web/fax based technical and usage support.

2) Sophisticated color management software support and applications tips.

3) Full product warranty against any SubliJet ink /cartridge performance issues or defects.

4) Full support and service of Epson printers under warranty that are used with SubliJet transfer inks. As an Authorized Epson Service Center, Sawgrass is capable of ensuring success with SubliJet inks in supported Epson ink jet printers.

5) 100% satisfaction guarantee for all SubliJet users.

 
 

 
 

What is the difference between Artainium® and SubliJet® Inks?

 

Artainium UV+ sublimation inks have been granted a license by Sawgrass Technologies, holders of the patent that relates to the process of creating sublimation inks for use in a desktop inkjet printer. As one of the original Sawgrass SubliJet distributors, ACP has always stood behind the validity of the Sawgrass patents,  ACP Technologies will offer Artainium® as a low cost alternative to SubliJet®.

 
 

 
,

Why should I choose ACP Technologies as my sublimation partner?

 

ACP Technologies is a full line sublimation distributor. It is what we do, and not a sidelight. Our experience is second to none, but more importantly, our focus is on you, the SubliJet user. If we have to convince you to buy, we will not try. When SubliJet makes sense for you, ACP Technologies is here to support you.  We are a support oriented company dedicated to making our customer base successful using sublimation as a creative tool. When you purchase SubliJet inks from ACP, you become a member of the ACP Subli-Team. As a member of the ACP Subli-Team, any question you have about sublimation, whether its creating the graphic in CorelDRAW, understanding our color management software, using proper times and temperatures for specific substrates, etc., you have an 800 # that you can call to have the question answered correctly. ACP Technologies has become one of the country’s leading sublimation distributors by adhering to this philosophy. Your success is our success.

 

 Testimonials

 
 
 

 


  Customer Service: 1-800-741-2551
 
 
425 Cross St. - Ste 213, Punta Gorda, FL  33950

 
Mon–Fri 9am-5pm EST
 
©2017 ACP Technologies. All rights reserved.