Awards & Engraving

April '18

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42 • A&E APRIL 2018 tographic and fine art reproduction with archival quality; and FLEX, which adds expanded gamut and true fluorescent capa- bilities to traditional CMYK. All of these ink sets have achieved G7 Master Qualifica- tion for a second year, which means that when used with the correct profiles, color is consistent from substrate to substrate. If you're looking to go really big and offer cut-and-sew sublimated garments or all-over prints, you're looking at a signifi- cant investment in equipment and space. Mimaki, Mutoh, and Epson all make printers for sublimation production at 44-inch widths and wider. You will need a much larger heat press for these kinds of prints, or a calendar press, which would work with the printer to press designs right onto the fabric you're working with. Though primarily used with textiles and garments, these are also good choices for large-format signage and hard substrates. Note: The Sawgrass systems include Virtuoso Print Manager, a print software designed to work with the chemistry of Sawgrass ink sets, specific types of sub- strates, and transfer media. This software recently underwent a major upgrade based on feedback from end users. HEAT PRESSES In the world of heat presses, we always recommend buying the largest press that will accommodate the largest substrates you want to potentially make. Because a heat press will be the most expensive part of your sublimation investment, you don't want to have to buy another one down the road to accommodate larger products that you grow into. If you have a heat press already, you're well ahead of the game. A mid- to high-quality heat press from a known brand that offers a lifetime warranty and support is the ideal purchase. Brands such as HIX, Hotronix, and Geo Knight are solid choices with a lot of variety in what they offer. Some cool things to look for in a heat press are laser alignment systems, which make getting your artwork lined up much easier; a sliding lower platen, which enables you to get closer to your transfer and sub- strate during production; auto closing and opening features; and of, course, digital pressure sensors. NEW WAYS TO SUBLIMATE Sublimating garments has always been restricted to polyester fabrics because poly- mers are needed to create permanent col- oration at the chemical level. Also, due to effects of UV light on color, sublimated signage and images have been restricted to indoor use. Understandably, this has been limiting for many product decorators. In response, various manufacturers of subli- mation products have responded with a number of new ways people can use sub- limation for garment and sign decoration. The Reveal-S transfer film has been on the market over a year now, and really flipped the script for sublimation. This type of media enables users to print digitally from a sublimation printer onto the transfer, and then use a heat press to imprint the design onto cotton fabric. You're still using sublimation ink, but the chemistry of the transfer film is where the magic happens, enabling sublimated col- oration to bind to cotton threads. It works best with white- and light-colored fabrics, as you are still working with semi-transparent sublimation inks and vector images, rather than bitmap images. Condé is the main distributer of Reveal-S in the U.S. TAG (thermo adhesive graphics) paper is also gaining popularity. This is a micro- fiber flock material that you can sublimate onto and then adhere your design to fabric. One of the advantages of this media is that you can add sublimated designs not only to cotton, but dark cotton colors. The transfer doesn't color the threads of the fabric but acts as a transfer that adheres to the surface of the shirt. JDS Industries carries TAG transfer media. It is recommended to buy the largest press that will accommodate the largest substrates you want to potentially make. For those interested in a larger printer, the VJ628 offers a 25-inch width.

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