Choosing the Right Sublimation Printer

Simplify the purchasing process with this basic list.

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Adding sublimation is a positive step to take, but there are plenty of decisions to make to do it right. Technology has made it easy to bring sublimation in-house via the digital transfer process. Theoretically, all that’s required for the job is graphics software, a printer, inks, paper and a heat press.

The first step is to decide what processes the printer will be performing. If sublimation is the goal, find out which printers work with that process. Ink manufacturers must tailor their products to work with specific printer platforms, limiting the universe to the models they support. Don’t think you can run out to the local office supply store and arbitrarily grab any printer off the shelf. It should be noted that most office supply stores offer transfer paper designed to work with standard printers equipped with standard ink. Paper ink is not the same as sublimation ink.

Reading the specs for most printers can be like reading a mortgage contract-confusing and overwhelming. To simplify the process, its best to make a list of basic functions for comparison as follows:

  • Size of printing field
  • Number of ink colors
  • Durability
  • Speed
  • Price

Notice price is at the bottom of the list. Though everyone wants maximum performance for minimum price, it’s not a very realistic expectation. Don’t sell yourself short by making price the most important consideration. This usually wastes money in the long run. 

-Jimmy Lamb, Sawgrass Ink

Jimmy Lamb

Jimmy Lamb has 25+ years of product decoration business experience, as well as extensive knowledge in many facets of digital decorating and embellishing including business startup, applications, techniques, marketing, sales, mobile, production and management. Currently, he works with Sawgrass Technologies as the manager of communication and education, where he has been instrumental in developing its educational seminars and webinars.

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