Sublimation Heat Press Settings Unveiled: Your Path to Printing Success

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Sublimation Heat Press Settings Unveiled Your Path to Printing Success

While dye-sublimation stands out as a go-to for customization businesses, nailing down the best sublimation heat press settings continues to spark widespread discussion. With the material and substrate list expanding annually, staying informed on the latest information is crucial, presenting a significant challenge for newcomers to the industry. Luckly, we would provide essential starting figures for calibration and pro tips in this post to guide beginners towards achieving optimal results. Keep reading and prepare for some pleasant surprises in your printing journey.

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Why Sublimation Heat Press Settings Are Important?

The three main and essential settings for any sublimation heat press machine is temperature, time and pressure settings. The temperature and time settings determine how much heat applied to sublimation inks and substrates while the pressure setting determines to how much extend the ink is engaged with the substrates. Getting these tree settings right has vital importance for print success.

Poor Results from Excessive Heating

Setting the temperature, time, and pressure values too high may result in the following issues:

  • Color Fading or Distortion: Excessive temperature can cause the sublimation dyes to overheat, leading to color distortion or fading in the final print.
  • Ghosting or Blurring: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and pressure might result in ghosting or blurring of the image, as the dyes may diffuse beyond the intended area.
  • Wrinkling or Shrinkage: Overly long exposure times can lead to the material becoming wrinkled or even shrinking, compromising the integrity of the final product.

Poor Results from Insufficient Heating

Conversely, if the temperature, time, and pressure values are set too low, the prints might encounter the following issues:

  • Incomplete Transfer: Inadequate temperature and pressure may lead to incomplete sublimation, causing only partial transfer of the dye onto the substrate. This results in a faded or incomplete image.
  • Poor Color Saturation: Insufficient heat can result in poor color saturation, leading to dull or muted prints that lack vibrancy and visual appeal.
  • Adhesion Issues: Low pressure may result in inadequate contact between the sublimation paper and the substrate, leading to poor dye adhesion and potential peeling or flaking over time.
  • Inconsistent Results: Using values that are too low may cause variations in the quality of the prints, introducing inconsistencies and reducing the overall reliability of the sublimation process.

Sublimation Heat Press Settings: Temp & Time & Pressure Chart

Before moving to the sublimation heat press settings chart, explore our comprehensive heat press guide that includes temperature, time, and pressure charts for various heat transfer processes such as DTF, HTV, plastisol, and laser transfer printing. This guide is particularly useful if you use your heat press for multiple printing techniques. In the sublimation section, we’ve compiled a list of settings for a wide range of materials and substrates. It’s worth noting that these recommended settings have undergone rigorous testing and verification with the Galaxy heat press machine and our own sublimation blanks from LOPO tech.

MaterialSublimation BlanksTemperature (° C)Time (S)PressureRemarks
FabricBackpack18060Medium/
FabricWaffle Grid Fabric18060Medium/
FabricMask18060MediumFlatten surface before pressing
FabricPolyester Peach Skin Fabric18060Medium/
FabricPoly PU17080Heavy/
FabricFleece16060Heavy/
FabricT-shirts19545Medium/
FabricFacial Mask19060Medium/
FabricTeddy Bear T-shirt18060Medium/
LinenPillow Case/Xmas Sack21545HeavyExtend time for darker color
LinenOven Mitt21545Heavy/
CanvasOven Mitt18080Medium/
Aluminum SheetPhone Cases/Other Blanks18045Medium/
Aluminum SheetDarker Color/Large Size19050Medium/
Photo SlateSmall Size180300Light/
Photo SlateLarge Size190360Light/
PUPhoto Panel Of Small Size18060Medium/
PUWatch Band18045Medium/
PUDartboard180150Heavy/
NeopreneWine Bag18060HeavyPre-heat to remove moisture
SequinPillow Case18060Heavy/
FeltAir Freshener Ornaments18060Medium/
MDFPhoto Panel18060Medium/
PETNotebook18060Medium/
PETKeychain18060Medium/
GlassCutting Board180180Medium/
GlassCup/Tumbler19050/
CrystalCrystal Cube180160Medium/
CeramicMugs19045Medium/
CeramicCeramic Ornaments180150Medium/
Stainless Steel Bottleby 205B Mug Press175For 25S, flip and press for another 10SMedium/
Stainless Steel Bottleby Sublimation Oven150360/Ensure a tight wrap before pressing
SandstoneCoaster18080Light/
Flip FlopFlip Flop18060Heavy/
CardboardPuzzle18060Medium/
HatsHats18060Medium/
HPPOrnaments18060Medium/
Note: All settings are based on Galaxy sublimation paper and ink.

How to Determine the Best Sublimation Heat Press Settings

While the sublimation heat press setting chart offers intricate details and values for a broad spectrum of materials and substrates, achieving optimal results often requires some fine-tuning. Here are key tips for obtaining the best settings:

A. Start with Supplier’s Instructions

Typically, heat press machine and sublimation blank suppliers provide products with accompanying heat press setting instructions. While these settings are proven and tested for the supplied substrates, they may not extend to materials or devices from other sources. If you’re using sublimation blanks or a heat press machine from a different supplier and lack specific setting information, using the provided instructions as a starting point for calibration can save time and effort.

B. Run Tests

Even when you are using the substrates and devices from the same supplier with detailed instructions, it’s also recommended to run few tests until get optimal results before mass production. The other reason to run print tests is to provide guideline for setting caliberation.

C. Caliberate The Settings

After conducting the initial print test, it’s crucial to compare the results with the issues arising from excessive or insufficient heating discussed earlier. Identifying which settings require adjustment is key. It may involve running multiple print tests and calibrating several times to achieve the perfect combination. Once the optimal setting values are attained, be sure to document and save them for future printing endeavors.

Tips for Achieving the Best Sublimation Results

  • Calibrate for optimal results: For the best printing results, take the time to calibrate your equipment. Instead of rushing to achieve perfection, run a series of tests to fine-tune and identify the optimal settings. This patient and methodical approach ensures that you obtain the highest quality results in your printing endeavors.
  • Choose Quality Consumables: Achieving vibrant and durable prints starts with using high-quality ink compatible with your printer and substrate. Equally important is the sublimation paper—choose one like that aligns with your printer and substrate to ensure optimal results. Remember, using inferior paper may compromise the print quality, leading to issues like blurriness or fading.
  • Acquire Additional Substrates: Calibration is rarely achieved in a single attempt. It’s always a best practice to purchase a few extra substrates when buying sublimation blanks.
  • Print with sublimation ink and paper: While sublimation transfers are created using a standard inkjet printer, it’s essential to use ink and paper specifically crafted for sublimation. Ensuring the right ink and paper compatibility is key when printing your designs.
  • Ensure substrates are sublimatable: Sublimation printing exclusively works on polyester-based fabrics and hard surfaces with a polymer coating. Verify that you are utilizing the appropriate fabric or coated sublimation blanks. If you plan to apply sublimation to items like mugs, ceramic plate, or phone cases, remember to apply sublimation coating by spraying and covering the surfaces.
  • Preheat fabric before sublimation: For optimal printing results, it’s highly recommended to preheat fabrics for 5-10 seconds. This helps eliminate moisture from the fabric, ensuring the print adheres well to the material and maintains its vibrancy over time.
  • Use a Teflon sheet: Employ a Teflon sheet to cover your sublimation paper and substrates. This prevents direct contact with the upper heating platen, avoiding the risk of scorch marks on your prints.
  • Use Heat-resistant tape: Use heat-resistant tape to secure your design in place during pressing. This prevents transfer paper movement and eliminates ‘ghosting’ for a seamless image transfer.
  • Settings for T-shirt printing: For T-shirt printing, prioritize lower temperatures to minimize the risk of garment damage. Opt for the lowest temperatures possible during the printing process.
  • The cardinal rule: In sublimation printing, remember this basic rule: for a longer press time, use lower temperature and lighter pressure. If your press time is shorter, opt for higher temperatures and firmer pressure. It’s all about finding the right balance for successful sublimation results.
  • Enhance Colors: When printing, choose high saturation modes like “vivid” to make your colors stand out and look vibrant. This setting ensures that your designs appear lively and eye-catching, making a strong visual impact.
  • Allow ink to dry: Note that inks may take longer to dry, especially for large designs or those with extensive darker color blocks. Exercise patience to ensure thorough drying before proceeding with cutting to avoid potential smudging or transfer issues.
  • Embrace Practice: Perfecting your skills takes time, especially as a beginner. Don’t expect flawless results right away—practice consistently to improve and achieve perfection over time.

Safety Precautions When Using Heat Press Machines

  • Avoid Burns: Never reach into the heat press when it’s connected and powered on – the risk of severe burns is high.
  • No DIY Modifications: Do not attempt to open the housing or modify the machine on your own.
  • Prevent Liquids and Metals: Keep liquids and metal objects away from the inside of the heat press to avoid damage.
  • Fire Safety: Keep liquids away from the heat press, wires, and sockets to reduce the risk of fires and electric shocks.
  • Grounded Power Socket: Ensure the power socket is grounded and protected by a ground fault protection switch.
  • Disconnect When Not in Use: Unplug the machine if it’s not going to be used for an extended period.
  • Child Safety: Never operate the heat press near children and never leave it unsupervised when switched on.
  • Safe Cord Handling: Never pull the cord to disconnect; instead, grasp the plug and pull.
  • Avoid Overloading Circuits: To prevent circuit overload, avoid operating other high-voltage equipment on the same circuit.
  • Check for Damage: Do not use the heat press with a damaged cord or if the equipment has been dropped.
  • Ventilation: Keep a window open in case harmful fumes are released during operation.
  • Monitor Time: Stay within the recommended time limit to ensure safe and effective use of the heat press.

FAQs

A. What heat press setting for puff vinyl?

Adjust your heat press to 320°F or 160°C; for a puffier result, you can increase it to 340°F. Apply high pressure for a duration of 10 seconds. Additional details could be found in this post.

B. What heat press settings for screen print?

When working with screen printed transfers, the optimal settings can vary based on the type of transfer you are using. Here are recommended settings for different screen printed transfers:

Rough/Low Heat Transfers

  • Temperature: 325-350°F (163-177°C)
  • Pressure: Heavy
  • Duration: 5-7 seconds

Soft/High Heat Transfers:

  • Temperature: 350-375°F (177-191°C)
  • Pressure: Heavy
  • Duration: 7 seconds

For more detailed settings and insights tailored to various transfer techniques, check out our Ultimate Heat Press Guide.

C. Are heat press shirts good quality?

Heat press shirts are virtually indistinguishable from those purchased at local stores or online shops. The primary distinction lies in the printing technique employed to apply designs to the shirts. Sublimation printing, in particular, stands out for its exceptional durability and excellent soft hand feel, devoid of any plastic sensation. Therefore, unequivocally, heat press shirts boast good quality.

D. What heat press setting for canvas?

Canvas is commonly crafted from cotton, linen, or a blend of both fibers. To determine the optimal heat press settings for canvas, identify whether it is made of cotton, linen, or a blend. Refer to our recommended settings chart for cotton or linen, adjust as needed, and conduct a few tests and calibrations to pinpoint the ideal settings for your specific canvas material.

E. Will heat press marks wash out?

If you are asking about the washability of sublimation designs, in dye-sublimation printing, vibrant and enduring prints are achieved as the ink is heat-transferred into the fabric’s fibers. Notably, high-quality dye-sublimation prints exhibit exceptional washability, ensuring that colors remain vibrant and the print stays intact through multiple wash cycles. With proper care for both the printed design and the shirt, the colors can retain their vibrancy for years to come. Apart from sublimation, both DTF (Direct-to-Film) and screen printing are renowned for their exceptional washability and durability.These methods ensure vibrant, enduring designs, making them ideal for applications where long-lasting quality is crucial, such as in apparel and promotional items.

Conclusion

While discovering the optimal sublimation heat press settings might seem daunting for beginners in dye-sublimation, our comprehensive temperature, time, and pressure charts, along with helpful tips, equip you for the customization journey. Through consistent practice and calibration, even newcomers can achieve professional-level prints. If you find the post beneficial or have insights to share with the community, feel free to leave a comment.

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