Can You Use Sublimation Ink For Regular Printing?
Can you replace your conventional inks with sublimation inks? After all, they are used on t-shirts, mugs and glass surfaces, so they are quite versatile.
Well, you can’t argue with the logic. However, there are a few important points to consider before you change cartridges. If you are not properly informed about your printer and the compatibility of its inks, you may end up ruining it.
So can you use sublimation inks for conventional printing?
The short answer is no.
It’s not a good idea to use sublimation ink for conventional printing. Most printers don’t support sublimation at all.
However, some printers are capable of sublimation printing or can be modified into dye sublimation printers.
How does a dye-sublimation printer work?
In some printing processes, dye-sublimation printers have replaced inkjet and laser printers. Progressive equipment gives a higher-quality image due to a different operating principle. For example, inkjet equipment prints with liquid ink and laser equipment prints with dry powder.
New shades are produced by superimposing dots of four primary colors: cyan, yellow, magenta, and black. These dots can shift, blur, which degrades the quality of the picture. In an inkjet printer, the ink often dries out; in a laser printer, there is a problem with mixing powders.
A dye-sublimation printer does not have these disadvantages. It uses special ribbons with dye in three colors (cyan, magenta, yellow). Under the influence of temperature (the device is equipped with a heating element), the dye transforms from a solid to a gaseous state. This eliminates the stage of transformation into a liquid.
The process is called sublimation, hence the name of the technology.
The higher the heating temperature, the more saturated the pattern. The pores of the material are opened more, the dye penetrates deeper into it. To obtain an image in muted, lighter tones, it is necessary to lower the temperature.
The gaseous “cloud” consists of dyes of three colors. They are mixed in the right proportion with the help of an aperture, which acts as a kind of filter, sifts out unnecessary vapors. The selected shades are transferred to the working material.
On a dye-sublimation printer prints with a resolution not exceeding 300 dpi, but the colors are very realistic, since the mixing is not on paper, and in the device itself under the influence of temperature.
Printing vivid pictures
Sublimation printer can print the most vivid pictures
Scope of use
Equipment is used in print shops, photo studios. It can print brochures, souvenirs, magazines, photos, posters, plastic cards. Application areas of dye-sublimation printers are diverse because of the versatility of devices and the possibility of working with different materials.
Dye-sublimation printer is suitable for printing on a variety of media. This can be:
- metal, and so on.
However, there are some limitations. For example, sublimation ink is poorly fixed on natural fabrics. At the same time they are perfect for synthetics. When working with glass or stone requires pre-treatment of the surface with a special polymer.
For large-format products, there are sublimation plotters
Advantages of sublimation printers
Dye-sublimation devices are quite expensive, but their purchase is justified by these advantages:
Printing durable images – the dye penetrates deep into the material, a protective layer seals the image, prevents fading, abrasion.
Higher image quality at a lower resolution when compared to laser and inkjet devices. This is possible due to the blending of colors before they hit the work surface.
Ease of use. Most models are equipped with displays on which the working information is displayed.
The possibility of working with different materials.
The devices are not without disadvantages. For example: the high cost of both the device itself and consumables. Some time ago, another disadvantage of dye-sublimation printers was considered the sensitivity of the dye to ultraviolet light. Today, manufacturers use special compounds that protect the ink from sunlight, so the printed picture remains bright for a long time.
Improved mechanism for feeding the ink in a dye-sublimation printer.
Overview of printers: from history to the present
The creator of sublimation, as a type of printing, is considered the Frenchman Noel de Plasse. As an employee of a textile company, he noticed that some dyes were able to change from solid to gaseous without changing to a liquid intermediate state. This happened when the ink was heated to 190 degrees Celsius.
This discovery was made in 1957, but it was not of practical use until 20 years later, when personal computers began to spread all over the world. It was then that the first dye-sublimation printer appeared.
Mass production of the device was launched in the USA. They were followed by Europe and Japan. The first sublimation printers printed with graphite dyes. The price of equipment was very high and only large companies could afford to buy it. Today, this technique has improved significantly. The range is represented by amateur and professional models. For printing, a special film is used, the format of which corresponds to the format of the media.
The printing mechanism in a sublimation printer
Sublimation equipment has different formats. It prints images in A4, A5, A6 sizes. The main manufacturers of printers are Mitsubishi, Epson, Canon and Sony. The first two are focused on professional equipment for the corporate segment. Sony products are suitable mainly for private use. Canon’s range includes both professional and amateur devices.
Let’s take a look at a few popular models:
- Canon Selphy CP910. The printer is suitable for printing photos – it takes 47 seconds per photo. It implements the option “printing without margins”. Photo paper is used as the consumable material. The maximum format is A6. The model is equipped with a wi-fi module, a slot for MMC and SD memory cards (you can print directly from the media). It is compact and can work from the built-in battery. Of the disadvantages – few opportunities for image editing, the high cost of consumables.
- Epson SureColor F7170. Printer for professional use. The maximum resolution is 720×1440 dpi. Works with DS Transfer Adhesive Textile and Multipurpose consumables. Suitable for drawings on textiles, interior printing, clothing.
- Sony DPP-FP67. Positioned as a technique for home use, but its characteristics are enough to use in a small office. The device is mobile and compact with the weight of 1 kg. Prints without margins, almost silently. It takes about 63 seconds to create one image. The main drawback of this and other Sony models is the difficulty in acquiring consumables.
- Mitsubishi Electric CP-D90DW. A professional desktop-type device. The maximum printing format is 15,2 x 22,9 cm, resolution – 300×300 dpi. The printer can print a 10×15 picture in less than 8 seconds. Among the disadvantages – high cost.
Can I use dye-sublimation ink for regular printing?
This means that conventional water-soluble inks that we use to print documents and photos cannot be used for dye sublimation printing. They are suitable for office or photo paper, but not compatible with hard materials and fabrics.
How is sublimation ink different from regular ink?
Sublimation inks are used to create souvenir and other images on fabric, ceramics, porcelain, etc. by printing directly on the material or through an intermediate paper medium. Pigmented inks, on the other hand, are used to print documents or images that are resistant to moisture and light.
What printers can be used for sublimation?
Notably, ink manufacturers today can offer universal ink kits that fit almost all Epson printers with equal success, both 4- and 6-color printers. Conclusion: Only Epson printers and only high-quality dye-sublimation inks are suitable for dye-sublimation printing.
What to print sublimations on?
It’s sublimation and direct printing. Sublimation printing on fabric is a method of transferring an image from the media to the fabric by dry sublimation. The image is printed by an industrial printer on special paper, and then by ironing at high temperature is transferred to the fabric.
What is the difference between sublimation and thermal transfer paper?
For sublimation use inkjet printers for thermal transfer printing suitable and laser devices. However, each type needs its own type of paper. Special types of paper also need to transfer images to fabrics in dark and light shades in the case of thermal transfer printing. There is no such thing with sublimation printing.
What is sublimation ink?
Sublimation ink is an ink that is a water-based sublimation dye. Dyes Dyes are virtually insoluble, resembling pigmented inks.
What paper to use for sublimation?
The best print quality comes from InkTec dye-sublimation paper.
How is dye sublimation printing done?
The wet method is done with an inkjet printer on fabric followed by baking. The print surface is pretreated with a polyester primer (primer). Sublimation ink is used for direct printing.
Dry printing with a laser printer on paper. It is used in household printers.
What do you need dye-sublimation paper for?
Sublimation paper is an intermediate medium that is used to print on metal, plastic, glass, ceramics, and other materials. Structure: a loose printed substrate and impermeable substrate. It is characterized by heat resistance, weakly absorbs ink and gives it away during transfer, up to 97% yield.
What is the best ink for photo printing?
Therefore water-soluble ink is the best for printing photographs, making reproductions, printing colorful booklets and documents. Pigmented inks – unlike water-based inks, they use a solid pigment (very small particles of solid matter) as a dye.
What are the differences in printer ink?
According to the type of the coloring substance inks are divided into dye-based inks (the coloring substance dissolves in water), pigmented inks (the pigment does not dissolve in water, forms a suspension) and the intermediate type – quick-drying inks. Pigmented inks are considered water-resistant, they are almost insoluble in water.
Can My Regular Printer Support Sublimation?
Yes, your regular printer can support dye sublimation printing when you use the right type of paper and ink. Dye sublimation printing is a printing method that uses heat to transfer dye to a substrate, such as paper or fabric. The substrate must be coated with a substance that reacts to heat, such as polyester. When the substrate is heated, the dye is converted into a gas and combined with the polyester coating.