T-shirt dye sublimation printer

Digital printing

For the manufacture of a single copy of a thing, a good solution would be to digitally print the pattern directly onto the fabric. With its help, you can apply a print to any type of fabric. It will be distinguished by rich colors and resistance to washing and fading in the sun.

By the way! The method is quite time consuming and is not suitable for the manufacture of large batches of clothing.

Possible ways to print on fabric

t-shirt, sublimation, printer

Using a printer

Using a dye sublimation printer will make the print even more durable. In this case, the paint does not create a film on top, but is absorbed into the fibers of the fabric. This T-shirt can be safely washed and ironed. The main disadvantages of this method are the long time spent on printing, and the impossibility of drawing a pattern on cotton fabric.

Important! It only works with synthetics.

What prints can be made?

In choosing a theme, everything is limited only by imagination. This could be:

  • Printed image found on the web or drawn in a graphics editor.
  • The T-shirt can be manually painted with regular paints with or without a stencil.
  • Finally, you can create an abstract drawing.

But for a 100% realization of an idea, a T-shirt must meet certain requirements. It is desirable that the material is at least 80% natural fibers, usually cotton. It will peel off synthetic fabric, and some techniques require the use of an iron, which can damage it. It is also desirable that she sit freely. So the drawing is less susceptible to deformation and mechanical stress.

Important! Before applying the pattern, the thing must be washed, dried and ironed.

How to make T-shirt prints in different ways

What to do if your favorite T-shirts are bored or out of shape? You can go and pick new ones. But there is also a more original and unusual way. to arrange them with new drawings to your taste. This will not only breathe new life into things, but also make them truly unique. Methods for applying prints to fabrics exist not only in industry, but are also available at home.

Thermal transfer printing

Drawing an image using this method has a number of obvious advantages. It can be used by a person who absolutely cannot draw. The drawing is online, printed on special paper and transferred to a T-shirt using a hot iron. It will have clear contours and bright colors. The thing with it can be washed at temperatures up to 30 ° in the inverted form, it can withstand up to 25 cycles. The downside will be the need to buy not the cheapest paper.

Equipment for creating drawings

The list of required materials will depend on the choice of a specific technique for applying the image. Inside the T-shirt, you need to put thick paper or something similar. This is necessary so that the fabric is straightened and does not move during operation. If the drawing is applied with paints, then a backing will be needed to prevent the appearance of stains on the back.

When using thermal transfer printing, you will need special paper for printing the image and a color printer. For hand-painted T-shirts, acrylic paints are suitable. They are water-based, odorless and will not damage fabric. They will need brushes and a pencil to mark the outline. To work with stencils, paint in the form of an aerosol is used.

If such an activity is considered as an idea for a business, then equipment will be required more efficient and expensive. This will require a heat press and sublimation printer, as well as consumables for them. The workplace must be equipped with a computer for preliminary preparation of a drawing for printing.

With your own hands

The first and foremost prerequisite for handcrafting a product is the ability to draw. The paints themselves are quite bright, mixing them, you can get almost any shade. The image is fading-resistant. You can copy it from somewhere or come up with it yourself.

For schematic ornaments or inscriptions, a stencil would be a good solution. This option is more difficult to print, since the paint must evenly saturate the fabric and it is difficult to achieve this without some training. You need to work with it quickly, without drying out. over, it takes quite a long time. In addition to drawing directly, the T-shirt will have to dry within 24 hours.

Using the technique of applying abstract drawings using spray paint or using knots will require pretreating the fabric with a solution of salt and soda. It is quite caustic, so you definitely need to work with gloves.

T-shirt printers

Printers are used to print images, lettering or logos on T-shirts. It is based on direct imaging technology. The process is carried out using a T-shirt printer, which is filled with a special water-based ink with high brightness. The fabric remains breathable after applying the image. The print does not fade or crack.

When printing on colored fabric, a substrate is applied with white ink, and a color image is printed on top of it. To print a T-shirt, it is mounted on an electronically controlled table.

To carry out work at large textile enterprises, they use printers equipped with a computer, a system for pretreating fabrics, as well as high-speed heads. Their productivity reaches 80-100 items per hour.

The printing process is carried out using a computer equipped with Windows and graphic editors. The whole process is completed in a few minutes.

Preparation of the desired image in a graphics editor;

Fixing the product on the desktop;

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Drying the product in a special heat press unit.

Printers attract with their ease of use and maintenance. They are characterized by high productivity and a relatively small production area.

The working principle of the sublimation printer

A dye sublimation printer is a device with which you can print any images onto textiles. Such equipment is durable, high-performance and has high-quality color reproduction.

Thermal sublimation is a process of rapid heating of a dye when the liquid phase is passed. The solid dye is converted to vapor. The lower the amount of dye, the higher the resulting photographic color latitude will be. On a special lavsan tape there is a pigment of each color. Printing on a sublimation printer takes place by pulling the ribbon under the thermal head.

Digital printing contributes to obtaining a high-quality impression, which is retained after multiple washes. For its implementation, inkjet digital printers equipped with industrial printheads are used.

Printing made with a digital printer is similar to printing with a conventional printer. The drawing is transferred to the product using a printed element.

How to print on T-shirts and what equipment you need

To apply an image on fabrics, use:

Thermal transfer. It is carried out using thermal transfer films (papers) and a thermal press;

Sublimation. It is applied using special printers;

Direct printing. Performed by special printers.

With the development of printing images, inscriptions and logos on souvenir products, as well as on textiles, various equipment began to be used to make prints.

Various printers for printing on T-shirts;

Heat presses for t-shirts

Heat presses are a special press with a flat heating surface. It is used to apply various images to fabric, as well as ceramics, metal, etc. The image is transferred to any surface when exposed to pressure, temperature and time.

Thermal presses for T-shirts are divided into 2 types:

Vertically hinged (the press plate rises up. This type is the most common and convenient in production);

Swivel (The plate of the heat press rotates relative to the working table).

Laser (use a color laser printer and special transfer paper);

Stencil (performed in mirror order, on special paper);

By means of a film (a special film with an adhesive layer is glued to the fabric).

With the help of the listed equipment, it is realistic to perform high-quality application of the desired image on T-shirts.

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Sublimation equipment

Thermal transfer technology is based on transferring an image to a textile base through an intermediate carrier. If you apply a pattern to synthetic fabric, you get a textured, durable print. On cotton, images are quickly washed off when washed.

  • a computer with a package of graphic programs for creating layouts;
  • sublimation printer;
  • heat press flat.

The dye sublimation printer can be replaced with a regular digital one. When buying, you just need to clarify whether it is refueled with sublimation ink.

The drawing is printed on sublimation paper. It does not absorb paint, prevents it from spreading and forms a clear image with an even surface.

The product is sent to a heat press. Under the influence of high temperatures and vacuum, the paper burns out, and the sublimation ink is firmly soldered to the fabric. The work uses the same types of heat presses as for digital direct printing.

Textured design looks great on T-shirts and other clothing

Direct Printing Devices

The technological process involves 2 main devices: a printer and a heat press. First, they develop a layout of the picture on a computer. in a graphic editor.

Then the item is placed in a direct printer. The image is transferred from the digital source to the textile. The paint quickly penetrates the fabric and lays down in an even layer. The picture is bright, with precise contours, is visible from both sides and does not fade for a long time.

Famous brands: HP, Brother, Epson, JETEX, DreamJet, Power Jet. Most in demand are direct printing machines that create drawings in A4 and A3 sizes.

The price of equipment operating on mixed materials of light colors starts from 100 thousand rubles. Printers for printing on natural cotton fabrics cost 400-650 thousand rubles. Models working with both white and colored textiles cost the same amount.

Large printing houses use industrial textile printers

Optional equipment

A flat heat press (also called a flatbed) is used to fix the pattern. Textiles (for example, a T-shirt) are laid on the work surface and pressed with a plate that heats up to 220-250 degrees. High pressure and temperature fuses the dye into the fabric.

According to the opening mechanism, flatbed presses are vertically folding and rotary. In the first case, the plate rises up. In the second, it moves to the side relative to the table.

Heat presses also differ in the dimensions of the heating plate. The most popular formats are 380 x 380 and 400 x 500 mm. They can be used to apply images to different types of flat surfaces: clothes, scarves, towels, bed linen.

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When buying, pay attention to the power of the press, methods of regulating pressure and temperature, types of processed materials. Check the plate for smoothness and uniformity of heating.

A simple manual unit costs 15-35 thousand rubles. Automatic control raises the price up to 100 thousand rubles.

Popular heat press brands: HIX, Insta HTP, AcosGraf, Sefa, ZnakPress, Transfer Kit.

Iron on fabric

Iron-on technology is the simplest of all types of textile printing. The design for clothing is created manually from individual elements of an adhesive film. Then the fabric is placed in a heated press, which fixes the application. Use the same heat presses as for direct printing. At home, you can fix the picture with an iron.

The film is printed on a conventional digital or inkjet printer. Vinyl, velvet, suede are also used as consumables.

How a fabric printer works?

The list of printing equipment includes professional and versatile equipment. The printer that prints on fabric belongs to the second group. Images on white and colored textiles are bright and durable. Different materials have their own technology and suitable equipment.

Screen printing machines

This technique of taking an impression is based on creating a drawing using special stencils, each of which corresponds to a specific color. First, the digital image is split into parts by shades. Then, on separate sheets of paper, the silhouette of the drawing is printed in one color and covered with a photo emulsion.

After that, a stencil machine is connected to work. Several actions are performed sequentially on it:

  • transfer the drawing to a frame with a stretched mesh;
  • pull textiles on the machine;
  • a stencil with ink is placed on top and pressed through small cells.

One printing unit is provided in monochromatic presses. Two- and multicolor models are carousel-type devices. On them, you can simultaneously cover several things with a pattern without changing the stencils. Each paint is in a separate section and is pressed through its own mesh.

The paint can be applied to the working area with a brush or roller

By the level of mechanization, stencil machines are divided into 3 types:

  • Manual control. Simple device, convenient operation, can be used at home. Not suitable for large print runs. The minimum price is 35 thousand rubles.
  • Semi-automatic. Cost from 70 thousand rubles. Increased productivity. the process of printing and removing products is automated. The overlay of products is done by hand. In the intermediate stages, the textile printer provides drying of the ink on the clothes.
  • Automatic. Professional screen printing equipment with high performance. All processes are automated and do not require manual labor. The minimum cost of equipment is 150 thousand rubles.

Well-known manufacturers of stencil equipment: Fusion, Chameleon, Economax, Kruzer, Sidewinder.

The ink should dry after each color is applied and at the end of printing. In addition to manual and semi-automatic fabric printers, you need to purchase a chamber or tunnel type dryer. Conveyor dryers are expensive (from 250 thousand rubles) and are suitable for large industrial production.

Auxiliary technology for stencil technology:

  • stencil machine;
  • exposing device;
  • washing booth for processing mesh frames.

In general, the kit will cost 150-200 thousand rubles.

Review of flagship models of textile printers

Compact fabric dye sublimation printer with print width 64 “(1626 mm). Recommended for large print runs. Works with high density inks that provide deep blacks and economical ink usage. Equipped with a built-in drying system.

  • Resolution up to 720 x 1440 dpi allows photo-accurate prints.
  • Productivity. up to 58 sq. meters of fabric per hour.
  • Built-in double-row printing containers hold 1.5 liters of ink each, compartment for collecting waste ink. 2 liters. Large volumes of containers save time on equipment maintenance.
  • 6.5cm LCD screen for easy process setup and monitoring.
  • Estimated cost of the Epson SureColor SC-F7200 sublimation printer. 1 million rubles.

Professional printer for all uneven surfaces of textiles. Works with water-soluble ink. Designed for direct printing on light and dark-colored products from natural and mixed fabrics.

On white textiles, makes impressions with CMYK colors in 1 or 2 passes. Images are bright and vibrant. Adds white paint to the color model when processing dark materials.

  • Table size. 356 x 406 mm.
  • Resolution. from 600 x 600 to 1200 x 1200 dpi.
  • 8 printheads.
  • Average cost of a textile printer. 1.3 million rubles.

Manual stencil carousel machine for drawing patterns on textiles Small-sized design for 4 print heads and 4 tables. Maximum frame width. 78 cm.

There are options for printing baseball caps and numbers. A lock frame is provided for working on lined garments. Price. 240-300 thousand rubles.

An overview of another novelty. a printer for direct printing on textiles PrintBot:

How does a sublimation printer work?

In some printing processes, dye-sublimation printers have replaced inkjet and laser printers. Advanced equipment provides a better image due to a different operating principle. So, inkjet technology prints with liquid ink, and laser. with dry powder.

The new hues are created by superimposing the dots of the four primary colors: cyan, yellow, magenta, and black. These points can shift, blur, which degrades the quality of the picture. Inkjet printers often dry ink, in laser printers there is a problem with powder mixing.

The dye sublimation printer is free from these disadvantages. For printing, special ribbons with dye of three colors (cyan, magenta, yellow) are used. Under the influence of temperature (the device is equipped with a heating element), the dye changes from a solid state to a gaseous state. In this case, the stage of transformation into a liquid is excluded.

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The process is called sublimation, hence the name of the technique that uses this technology.

The higher the heating temperature, the richer the pattern. The pores of the material open more, the dye penetrates deeper into it. To obtain an image in muted, light colors, you need to lower the temperature.

The gaseous “cloud” consists of three colors of dyes. They are mixed in the right proportion using a diaphragm, which acts as a kind of filter, eliminating unnecessary vapors. The selected shades are transferred to the working material.

A sublimation printer prints with a resolution of no more than 300 dpi, but the colors are very realistic, since the mixing does not take place on paper, but in the device itself under the influence of temperature.

A dye sublimation printer can print the brightest pictures

Advantages of dye-sublimation printers

Sublimation devices are quite expensive, but their purchase is justified by the following advantages:

  • Printing of durable images. the dye penetrates deep into the material, the protective layer seals the pattern, prevents fading, abrasion.
  • Higher image quality at lower resolutions when compared to laser and inkjet devices. This is possible by mixing colors before hitting the work surface.
  • Ease of use. Most models are equipped with displays that show operating information.
  • Ability to work with different materials.

The devices are not without drawbacks. For example: the high cost of both the device itself and consumables. Some time ago, the sensitivity of the dye to ultraviolet light was considered another disadvantage of sublimation printers. Today, manufacturers use special formulations that protect ink from sunlight, so the printed image remains bright for a long time.

Advanced sublimation ink feeding mechanism

Scope of use

The equipment is used in printing houses, photo studios. It can be used to print advertising brochures, souvenirs, magazines, photographs, posters, plastic cards. Applications for dye sublimation printers are varied due to the versatility of the devices and the ability to work with different materials.

The dye sublimation printer is suitable for printing on a variety of substrates. This could be:

  • paper;
  • the cloth;
  • plastic;
  • ceramics;
  • glass;
  • metal and so on.

However, there are some limitations. So, sublimation ink does not adhere well to natural fabrics. At the same time, they are ideal for synthetics. When working with glass or stone, preliminary surface treatment with a special polymer is required.

Sublimation plotters are available for large format products

Printer review: from history to modern times

The creator of sublimation, as a type of printing, is considered the Frenchman Noel de Plassé. As an employee of a textile company, he noticed that some dyes are capable of converting from solid to gaseous without passing into a liquid intermediate state. This happened when the ink was heated to 190 degrees Celsius.

The discovery dates back to 1957, but it brought practical benefits only 20 years later, when personal computers began to spread around the world. At the same time, the first sublimation printer appeared.

Mass production of devices was launched in the United States. Following them, Europe and Japan joined the process. The first dye-sublimation printers printed with graphite dyes. The price of the equipment was very high, and only large companies could afford such a purchase. Today this technique has improved significantly. The assortment is presented by amateur and professional models. Special transparencies are used for printing, the size of which matches the size of the media.

Printing mechanism in a sublimation printer

Sublimation equipment comes in different formats. Images are printed on it in sizes A4, A5, A6. The main printer manufacturers are Mitsubishi, Epson, Canon and Sony. The first two are focused on professional equipment for the corporate segment. Sony products are primarily suitable for private use. Canon has a range of professional and hobby devices.

Let’s consider several popular models:

  • Canon Selphy CP910. The printer is suitable for printing photographs. it takes 47 seconds for one shot. It implements the “borderless printing” option. Photo paper is used as a consumable. The maximum format is A6. The model is equipped with a Wi-Fi module, a slot for MMC and SD memory cards (you can print directly from the media). It is compact and can be powered by a built-in battery. Among the disadvantages. few opportunities for image editing, high cost of consumables.
  • Epson SureColor F7170. Printer for professional use. The maximum resolution is 720×1440 dpi. Works with DS Transfer Adhesive Textile and Multipurpose consumables. Suitable for drawings on textiles, interior printing, clothing.
  • Sony DPP-FP67. It is positioned as a home appliance, but its characteristics are sufficient for use in a small office. The device is mobile, compact. weighing 1 kg. Borderless prints, virtually silent. It takes about 63 seconds to create one image. The main drawback of both this and other Sony models is the difficulty in acquiring consumables.
  • Mitsubishi Electric CP-D90DW. Professional desktop type device. The maximum print format is 15.2×22.9 cm, the resolution is 300×300 dpi. The printer can print a 10×15 image in less than 8 seconds. Among the disadvantages is the high cost.

Mitsubishi Electric flagship model CP-D90DW

To learn more about the work of sublimation printers, the video review from the Discovery Channel will help:

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