Sublimation printing is a great way to add custom images and graphics to a wide variety of products. But in order to do sublimation printing, you'll need a few key items, including a heat press. In this blog post, we'll explain why you need a heat press for sublimation printing, as well as what type of heat press is best.
What is Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation printing is a digital printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as fabric, metal, ceramic, glass, or plastic. The process begins by printing your design onto sublimation paper using either an inkjet or laser printer. Then, you place the paper onto your substrate (the material you're printing on) and use a heat press to transfer the ink from the paper to the substrate.
Why You Need a Heat Press for Sublimation Printing
While you can use an iron to do sublimation printing, it's not going to give you the same quality results as a heat press. A heat press evenly distributes the heat and pressure over the entire surface area of your design, which ensures that your design comes out looking its best. Additionally, commercial-grade heat presses are designed to withstand repeated use, meaning they'll last longer and hold up better over time than a standard household iron.
Types of Heat Presses
There are three main types of heat presses - clam shell, swing away, and draw. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Clam Shell Heat Presses
Clam shell heat presses are the most popular type of heat press on the market. They get their name from the fact that they resemble a clam shell or jaws. Clam shell heat presses have two plates - a top plate and a bottom plate - that open and close like a clam shell. The advantage of clam shell heat presses is that they are often smaller and more compact than other types of heat presses, making them easy to store and transport. They also tend to be less expensive than other types of heat presses. The downside of clam shell heat presses is that they can be difficult to use on larger garments, and it can be hard to apply even pressure with a clam shell press.
Swing Away Heat Presses
Swing away heat presses are similar to clam shell press in that they have two plates - a top plate and a bottom plate. However, the bottom plate on a swing away press is hinged, so it can be swung away from the top plate. This gives the operator more room to position the garment on the bottom plate, which makes it easier to apply even pressure when pressing. The disadvantage of swing away heat presses is that they are often larger and more expensive than clam shell heat presses.
Draw Heat Presses
Draw heat presses are designed for use with smaller garments such as t-shirts, infant clothes, patches, and towels. They have one large platen (the pressing surface) that slides out like a drawer. This design makes it easy to position the garment evenly on the platen for consistent results. Drawer-style heat presses are also typically very easy to use and require little operator training. However, because of their small size, they are not well-suited for use with larger garments. Another potential drawback of draw-style heat presses is that they often do not have as much pressure as other types of heat presses, so they may not be able to achieve the same quality results.
Sublimation printing is a great way to add custom images and graphics to a wide variety of products. But in order to do sublimation printing, you'll need a few key items, including a printer and heat press. Luckily, we've got you covered with printers. Click the button below to check out our list of the best sublimation printers on the market.