Dye Sublimation Printing Services

Dye Sublimation Category Image

Dye sublimation printing is a digital printing technology that we use to incorporate full-color artwork that works with apparel and a library of hard good products. In order to transfer the image from the paper to the substrate, it requires a heat press machine process that is a combination of time, temperature and pressure – each at varying degrees, depending on the layer. This application will transfer the sublimation dyes at the molecular level into the substrate. The most common dyes used for sublimation activate at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Illustrated Temperature Gauge for Dye Sublimation

Examples of our Dye Sublimation work

Dye Sublimation Frequently Asked Questions

The most common process lays one color at a time, the dye being stored on a polyester ribbon that has each color on a separate panel. Each colored panel is the size of the medium that is being printed on.

During the printing cycle, the printer rollers will move the medium and one of the colored panels together under a thermal printing head, which is usually the same width as the shorter dimension of the print medium. Tiny heating elements on the head change temperature rapidly, laying different amounts of dye depending on the amount of heat applied. Some of the dye diffuses into the printing medium.

After the printer finishes printing the medium in one color, it winds the ribbon on to the next color panel and partially ejects the medium from the printer to prepare for the next cycle. The entire process is repeated four or five times in total: the first three lay the colors onto the medium to form a complete image while the last one lays the laminate over top. This layer protects the dyes from UV light and moisture.

Dye Sublimation can be used for a variety of apparel items and hard goods. Our custom dye sublimation services can be used for drinkware, signs, socks, phone covers, kitchen and home decor, jewelry, camping cups, coasters and much more. With dye sublimation printing, the sky’s the limit.

At Giant Robo Printing, we take our time crafting your order while also taking your time into account as well. The standard turnaround time for prints is 7-10 business days. In terms of the dye sublimation process there are multiple factors that affect the speed. The use of multiple heads can speed up this process, since one head can cool down while another is printing. Although print times vary among different dye-sublimation printers, a typical cheap home-use dye-sub printer can print a 6″ x 4″ photo in 45 – 90 seconds. More heavy-duty printers similar to the ones we use can print much faster; for example, a Sinfonia Colorstream S2 dye-sublimation printer can print a 6″ x 4″ photo in as little as 6.8 seconds. In all cases, the finished print is completely dry once it emerges from the printer.

When it comes to dye sublimation printing, a common concern is whether or not the design will stand the test of time when washed. Printing service providers that take less time with quality control blindly ship out their products. At Giant Robo Printing, we take the extra time to make sure our designs are properly placed and cleaned. As colors are embedded in the fabric, rather than printed on the surface, images on fabric won’t fade or crack even after multiple washings.

Dye Sublimation printing offers some advantages over direct to garment printing, also known as dtg printing. For dye sublimation, the prints are dry and ready to handle as soon as they exit the printer. Since the thermal head of the printer doesn’t have to sweep back and forth over the print media, there are fewer moving parts that can break down. The whole printing cycle is mess-free as there are no liquid inks to clean up. These factors make dye-sublimation generally a more reliable technology over direct to garment printing. (Interested in learning more about our custom DTG printing services? Click here to view our service page)

How to order dye sublimated products from us

Does dye sublimation fit your project description? If so, we ask you to please fill out our quote request form, where you can let us know exactly what you want and we can put together a proposal with a quote and mock-up. This will save you time and headaches in the long run, as we can streamline the design and set up process.

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