If you’re familiar with dye sublimation printing, you must have heard about heat press. Heat press is the backbone of the dye sublimation printing process. In order ensure optimal printing performance, the heat press must maintain proper temperature during dye sublimation printing.
Defining heat press and its function
A heat press is a machine used in dye sublimation that helps transfer a graphic or a design on a substrate. It can transfer a variety of substrates, including but not limited to, t-shirts, mugs, ceramic tiles, mouse pads, plaques, coasters, and more.
With heat and pressure, the graphic is printed on a substrate. But, setting the right temperature and pressing technique for a certain amount of time can ensure that the graphic is permanently embedded into the substrate.
Heat presses work well in dye sublimation printing because traditional laminating devices do not have the same heating capacity. Most dye sublimation transfers require up to 400° F heat temperature, which is not possible with many standard devices.
Choosing the best heat press
Heat presses are available in multiple sizes, styles and prices. There are manual and automatic models in the market. When choosing a heat press, you need to determine your needs first. What type of products do you want to press? How much size of press do you prefer? Do you want a press with a pressure gauge to monitor the pressure level? For printing of t-shirts, caps, tiles and mugs, small format press is the best option.
Understanding dye sublimation printing
In dye sublimation printing, a heat-sensitive dye prints a graphic on a special transfer paper. The transfer paper is placed on a garment and then inserted in a heat press.
When the paper is heated to a certain temperature and pressed with a significant amount of pressure for some time, the ink is transferred to the base material (substrate).
Dye sublimation ink is deeply embedded into the surface of the material. It’s worth noting that dye sublimation printing works well on some items, such as polyester fabric. This is because the fabric can withstand the press’ heat. On the other hand, when printing other materials like mugs, coasters, mousepads, etc., they should be coated with a special polyester coating and UV coating (to protect from the sun’s rays). Without these coatings, it will be difficult to produce good quality printing results.
Heat press transfer is a simple, effective and affordable technique for transferring graphics to fabrics and other materials.
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