Question: Can you please describe how dye sublimation printing works? Which kind of printer is commonly used? Is it just like heat transfer printing?
Answer: Wow! All excellent and related questions to the dye sub and heat transfer printing of fabric, one of my favorite methods to print fabric as well as other items, even if this answer will deal mostly with polyester fabric.
First, there are two varieties of heat transfer paper. One uses ribbon so transfer color into a transfer paper, as well as the other is the same basic printing method as digital printing except there are differences between ink and dye. And also the same printers can be utilized, however, not interchangeably due to the differences between dyes and ink.
Inkjet printing uses, typically, what is known the “four color process” printing method. The 4 colors can also be known in shorthand as CMYK ink colors. CMYK stands for Cyan-Magenta, Yellow, and Black, which in any combination will print almost any color, excluding neon colors or metallic colors, but the majority colors within the photo spectrum.
Due to the limitations of CMYK inks, additional colors happen to be put into some printers that happen to be now known as 6 color digital printers, having added a mild cyan plus a light magenta to achieve a number of the harder colors to produce from the printing process. Some printers have even added orange and green cartridges too.
Dye sublimation printing is slightly different. The dyes used are like ink, however with some differences. The ink set for dye sub printing can be another four color process (best known in shorthand as 4CP), however the shorthand version is CMYO, or cyan-magenta-yellow-overprint clear. Where will be the black, you may wonder? It will be hard to create a full color spectrum without black!
To spell out where the black went, or rather more accurately, where it comes from in CMYO dye sublimation printing, I need to look into most of the way it works. As stated previously, a regular 4CP laser printer is necessary to print dyes at the same time, however the dye needs to be printed on a treated paper cleverly named “transfer paper.”
An image is printed in reverse (or mirror printed) on the sublimation ink. The paper is matched to a part of fabric. The material should not be an organic fiber due to the process that will be explained momentarily. The material typically used most of the time is polyester as it is a versatile fiber that may be intended to look like everything from an oil canvas to a sheer fabric to a double-sided knit material that could be made into a double-sided flag or banner.
Once the paper is matched for the fabric, it is run through heated rollers at high-pressure. The rollers are heated to merely under 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 210 degrees Celsius. As the fabric passes through the heated rollers, 2 things happen. First, the pores or cells of your poly-fabric unlock, while simultaneously the dye on the paper is converted to a gaseous state. The gas impregnates the open cells which close while they leave the heated rollers. This results in a continuous tone print which can not be achieved utilizing an computer printer because of the dot pattern laid down through the inkjets.
If an item such as plastic or aluminum is coated having a special polymeric coating, these products can even be printed. Besides banners and posters and flags, other items which can be commonly dexupky33 with dye sublimation heat transfer printing are clothing items like T-shirts, table covers, sportswear, ID cards, and signs.
Some benefits of heat transfer film is the image is a part of the fabric, therefore it doesn’t remove like ink on the outside of fabric or some other materials and may not fade for several years. The dye cannot build-up on fabric like t-shirts either. Everyone had worn a printed shirt where ink felt enjoy it was very stiff at first glance in the material, as well as over time that it will start to flake off. This will not happen with dye sublimation.
Other advantages are that this colors may be more brilliant than other kinds of printing due to the technique of dye sublimation and also the continuous tones which can be achieved once the dye converts to some gaseous state. Because in printing garments the material is printed just before the shirt or jacket is constructed, the graphic can go to the side of the fabric which can be not achievable typically with screen printed shirts.