February '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 5 5 black coating that the laser can burn off. e downside of this process is that it can get damaged over time, says Ross. Make Your Mark Design has a couple of Epilog laser engravers that use a rotary device to rotate drinkware during the pro- cess. If the drinkware has a handle on it, "Sometimes you need to put something in the drinkware to weight it down, so it won't skip while moving," he explains. "If nothing is in there it might not quite turn as well as it should." e company runs Mimaki UV printers with kebab attachments. Because of how they are designed, the machines can't han- dle drinkware with handles. With sublimation printers, it is imper- ative that a shop buy a mug press. ey can be cured in a conveyor oven if the mug is wrapped in a silicone sleeve to provide pressure on the transfer, but Ross says it is much easier to just purchase a clam shell heat press. Out of all the processes the Colorado shop uses to decorate drinkware, sublima- tion ends up being the most economical, Ross says. "You can get a kit to convert your existing inkjet printer and then you need a mug press that you can get for a few hundred bucks. You can do it in your house. It doesn't take up a lot of room." Sublimation can be labor-intensive with multiple steps and supplies needed, says Inkcups' Barron. "Additionally, there is a lot of waste with plastic and paper. at being says, dye sublimation is a great option for smaller companies just start- ing out as consumables are not too expen- sive and there are a wide variety of heat presses available," he says. "Once a com- pany grows, they may outgrow this pro- cess as it quickly becomes cumbersome." Sublimation also has the lowest learn- ing curve. Other processes, such as UV and laser, require users to learn how to use either RIP software or a program such as Adobe Illustrator that offer line art or vectorizing. UV machines can be cost-prohibitive because UV technology is more expen- sive, Ross says. "Cylindrical UV printers can print up to 8.66" onto a vessel using CMYKWV on a

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