Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '18

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S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 8 A Sublimator's Toolbox To get set up for sublimation, Ellston outlines a few basic tools shops should either have or be prepared to purchase: Sublimation printer. These generally come in large- and small-format designs. Depending on what kind of products a shop wants to offer largely dictates which size to purchase. Smaller printers accom- modate promotional products and person- alized goods well, while larger printers sit well in shops offering items like all-over printed apparel, beach towels, and large signage. Volume of orders will also help a business owner narrow down which type of printer to purchase, since higher order volume typically coincides with a large- format printer. Heat press. Similar to the printer, a heat press generally lines up with what a shop's intended product offering will be. For thicker substrates, swing-away presses are ideal, while clamshell designs provide a smaller footprint and work well in smaller shops. A press with an accu- rate digital readout of time, temperature, and, if possible, selectable pressure set- tings all help the production process run smoother. Regardless of bells and whistles, shops should ultimately look for a reliable, high-quality press from a trusted manufac- turer that offers end-user support, even if it means spending more money. "A good heat press is key, and it's one of the last things people think about investing in," says Jeffrey-Andersen. Ink. Seeking out reliable, trusted providers of subli- mation ink is also crucial. Ellston notes that there are a few common choices to consider when shopping for ink: "Small-format printers will likely have a four-cartridge con- figuration—CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). Some small-format printers use smaller carts that can be paired with a bulk ink delivery system, making them more cost effective." Other smaller printers, she adds, operate with gel ink technology which combines the use of a cart with a high-capacity bulk ink system, also making them cost-efficient. With large- The sublimatable mug has been around for a number of years and is a great promotional product or customized gift. (Image courtesy Sawgrass) Smaller desktop print- ers accommodate items such as promo- tional products or per- sonalized gifts. (Image courtesy Sawgrass) 48 Sublimation is a great application for soft goods such as apparel. (Image courtesy Condé Systems) SUBLIMATION

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