Serial Number: R739C839500
Ace: Needed (Makerhub@georgefox.edu).
Location: The Hub
Sublimation is a digital printing process that uses heat and pressure to embed ink into a fabric or surface to produce an image. It utilizes a special dye and a molecular bonding process to apply and permanently adhere HD images, graphics and photos to polymers and polyesters at a sub-surface level.
Other printing processes utilize chemicals called binders to bond their inks to the surface of a product. Binders are present in the ink and/or paper (for transfer processes.) Over time, the binders will break down and the ink will crack, peel and fade. In contrast, because sublimation bonds at a sub-surface level rather than on top, it provides a high-quality image that won’t crack or peel. And in the case of apparel, it will not fade when washed.
With sublimation, images can be applied to thousands of different products including mugs, signage, bags and apparel, and to many different materials including ceramics, wood, metal, polyester and glass.
For fabrics, sublimation dye only adheres to polyester. Cotton/polyester blends are ok to use so long as the polyester content is at least 50%. Keep in mind that the sublimation dye will not bond with the cotton, so the resultant image will have a slightly more faded or "vintage" look when using cotton/polyester blends.
The user manual link below is technically for the SG500 and SG1000, but similar principles will apply.
Sublimation Printer User Manual
- Transfer Paper - Paper that absorbs the ink from the printer and is used to transfer the ink to the garment.
The Sawgrass SG400 acts much like a typical ink printer. You will need to load the proper software and select the SG400 printer. The correct paper will also need to be loaded into the printer paper tray. One side of the paper is meant for printing while the other side is not meant for printing; double-check the paper orientation to avoid printing on the wrong side.
Demonstrate you can setup the software and printer. You will need to produce a transfer using the Sawgrass SG400.
Producing a transfer
- Open the software you wish to print from (Adobe or Inkscape software).
- Create or open your desired design.
- Power on the SG400 printer and give it some time to power up. The printer can take several minutes to warm up.
- Make sure the image is a mirrored (left/right) if you want to read the text on a surface or keep the image direction correct.
- Make sure the image size is smaller than the size of paper you are printing on. The largest size paper is 8.5" x 11."
- You will need to select 'print', and make sure you are printing to the Sawgrass 400 printer.
- The printer should start printing and produce a sheet of paper with your image on it.
- You will need to setup the heat press to complete your image transfer.
This is a fairly safe process. When using the heat press avoid making contact with the hot plate to prevent burns.
Sawgrass printers are unique in the fact that they have an auto-maintenance program that ensures the printer is always ready to print without any quality issues. If you turn off the printer, the auto-maintenance program will not be able to operate, which could lead to printing issues.
Banding is usually caused by a blockage in the print head preventing the ink from being properly dispersed to the paper. Perform a nozzle check to see if this is the case. If so, then you should perform a head cleaning to try to correct the problem. These functions can be accessed via the control panel on the printer or through Sawgrass Print Manager. Low ink levels can also cause banding. Always ensure that you are not low on ink. Learn more in our Knowledge Base, or contact Sawgrass Technical Support.
Color management is an important aspect for all forms of digital printing. In terms of sublimation, there are several factors that can affect the color including the printer, the ink, the paper, and the substrates. Sawgrass created Sawgrass Print Manager to address these issues and provide tools to help ensure the accuracy of the color output. If you are having issues, contact Sawgrass Technical Support for assistance.
It is possible to sublimate a print more than once, but every instance after the first time will be significantly faded. It is recommended that you only sublimate a print once.
Keep the printer plugged in and clean. Do not unplug the printer as this could damage the printer by preventing the head cleaning process.
Specific Maintenance Tasks
|Maintenance Procedure||Frequency||Done By|
|Replace Ink Cartridge||As needed||Technician|