You may have read about the sublimation process in your school. This refers to a chemical process that can turn a solid into a gaseous compound almost instantly. In this article, we are going to talk about the high-tech printing process of sublimation. Here, you need fine-quality ink and heat to transfer a design to material. In the case of photo panels, the ink of the transfer paper turns itself into the gaseous form, and finally, it appears on your chosen material. In this case, this chosen material is the photo panels made of plastic, aluminum, polyester-coated sheet, vinyl sheets, etc.
How to do sublimation printing?
This outstanding printing methodology allows you to create personalized photo gifts on your own. You will need a sublimation printer, thermal tape, ink, non-stick sheet, and gloves. We are quite certain that the below step-by-step guide will help you grasp this modern-day printing process.
Creating the design
First, you need to set your mind on what design or image you want to transfer to the photo panels. You can hire a graphic designer to help you with the design. Once you get a satisfactory photo or image, you need to mirror it.
Loading the printer
Now, arrange for sublimation dyes and load them into the printer. If you want, instead of chemical ink, choose such an ink, which is water-based. Thus, the final printing output will remain nature friendly. There is no bar on the use of different colors.
Heat press and thermal tape
Next, you need to switch on your heat-press machine. Here, you can use thermal tape as the heating element. When the heat of a certain temperature is applied to the heating element, the ink is transferred to the photo panel. Ink is poured into the pores of the material.
Using the non-stick sheet
After placing the main item in the heat machine, it would be better if you cover it with a non-stick sheet. It will keep leaking at bay.
After the heat pressing is done, you can peel off the item from the machine. This sublimation printing provides some high-quality output after peeling.
What are the advantages of sublimation printing?
This new-age sublimation printing technique shows no color restriction. You can use multiple colors on your photo panels. Here, you can choose all types of shapes and sizes of images. The sublimation printing technique provides a finely detailed output on the photo panels. The sublimation printing is quite soft to touch, and you won’t get to see any raised part on the printing. These photo panels can last for years without any sign of scratching. Here, the ink undergoes some chemical reaction with the chosen material. Like Supacolor designs, the sublimation printing on photo panels also doesn’t crack, peel or fade with time. This printing technique is also quite cost-effective. The sublimation printing on photo panels features no glare at all. Last but not least, if you choose the right panel, you will get to see high-resolution images post sublimation process.
Is there any disadvantage of using sublimation printing on photo panels?
No, we can’t think of any disadvantage of sublimation printing. But, be careful while selecting the material. Another thing, you need to adjust the size of the design and the photo panel. In case the photo panel is bigger than the design or image you have chosen, some of the areas will remain white. People generally term this problem as “white creasing”. Also, keep the sublimated photo panels away from moisture and excessive heat. This way, you will be able to value your money, and the sublimated photo panels will show a high level of durability.
Why is Sublimation printing better than screen printing and heat transfer printing methods?
It is believed that sublimation printings cost way less than screen printing. In the case of sublimation printing on photo panels, you will just have to bear the setup cost. You will get to see sharp edges in the output of screen printing. The sublimation one provides a much better high-quality photograph. There is no chance of the sublimation printing output getting scraped off, but it is a concern for screen printing.
The dye-subs are quite expensive. So, in comparison to the heat transfer process, the sublimation printing technique is much too expensive. The quality of the output is better for the sublimation printing technique as it requires specialized printers. But, heat transfer printing takes place with the help of standard printers only. For heat transfer, the transfer always remains an external layer on the material used. But, in the sublimation process, the ink is completely absorbed by the material, and it is finally considered as a permanent part of the material you have chosen.
What temperature is used for sublimation printing on photo panels?
You need to set a temperature on the heat pressing machine depending on the ink you are using. The sublimation dyes generally activate themselves at a temperature range between 380 degrees Fahrenheit and 420 degrees Fahrenheit. But, it has been seen that you need to use a lesser amount of temperature for water-based inks.
What printer should you use for sublimation printing on photo panels?
The inkjet printers are capable of creating good photos. But, if you require HD quality and durability from the photo panels, you should invest in a special Sublimation photo printer. These printers use transparent films. The gradation of these printers is quite good. If you are using a Sublimation photo printer, you should shop for a good photo panel. At least, the surface of the panel needs to be smooth and moisture-free.
So, if you wish to gift your loved ones good photo panels this year, start learning about the technique of sublimation printing. You can hang these photo panels on the walls or place them on top of the table. You can even sell them. We are hopeful that the aforementioned information will come in handy while you choose to do sublimation printing yourself. If you have any questions on your mind, you can ask them in the comment section below.