Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '19

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32 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 9 Sublimation I magine driving a car with no destina- tion in mind or a plan to get you there. Unfortunately, that's how many folks currently approach sublimation deco- rating. Once they finally get frustrated enough to stop the car and ask someone for directions, time and money have been lost on an unnecessarily bumpy road. How can you avoid this all-too-common mistake? Before even getting on the road, seek out a sublimation partner that is dedi- cated to your success and take advan- tage of their wisdom and experience. It doesn't cost more to partner with an expert manufacturer/integrator that can put you on, and keep you on, the road to sublimation success. Many years ago, I published my sublimation road map: "101 Tips and Tricks for Sublimation Success." The following highlights a few tips that I feel are especially helpful to those new to the sublimation industry. TO PLAN FOR SUCCESS AND REDUCE FAILURE By David Gross David Gross is the president of Condé Systems, Inc. For more than 25 years he has developed and built the Mobile, Alabama based company into the premier source for printers, substrates, and con- sumables serving the graphic art, photography, prepress, and desktop publishing industries. FACT BOX/LEARNING RESOURCES Estimated Cost of Entry: Desktop sublimation systems range from $1,300 for a small desktop printer, portable heat press, and acces- sories to around $3,500 for a large desktop printer, manual swing- away heat press, and accessories. If you want to produce mugs, you can add a mug press for $750. Educational Resources: Trade shows, pricing spreadsheets (available through various manufacturers and distributors),, Facebook forums. Space Needed for Setup: I suggest locating the sublimation printer near the operator's computer. The heat press, however, should prob- ably be placed in a well-ventilated room due to some unpleasant smells that occasionally occur during pressing. Make sure the heat press has adequate power or even a dedicated 20-amp circuit. Next to the heat press, a desktop or table is needed as a work area and a place to hold a roll of uncoated butcher paper, Pro Spray, heat tape, scissors, lint roller, and a few other accessories. I suggest lots of drawers and/or storage containers for miscellaneous supplies and products. I recom- mend full spectrum light bulbs to see colors properly. Time Needed to be Proficient: Focusing on the pressing, you can quickly become competent with most products in one day. The trick is to practice. I recommend that you pur- chase starter kits and fabric to prac- tice. After that, the majority of your time is spent on graphics creation and sales/marketing. ROAD TO SUBLIMATION SUCCESS: 5 Tips When getting started in sublimation, you need the basic things like a heat press, printer, inks, etc., but don't forget about training, software, and other consid- erations that will keep you on the road to sublimation success. (Image courtesy JDS Industries)

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