Last Updated on: 26th November 2021, 09:48 am
Sublimation printing machines come in various sizes and functions based on industrial or home production purposes. If we look into home production, i.e., desktop sublimation printers are categorized into adaptive or integrated systems. It comes with sublimation ink to print a graphic on standard paper.
However, the sublimation ink is chemically different. While the ink works well, the printer does not know about the process and characteristics of the ink.
Therefore, you cannot expect the printer to work on it automatically, especially the maintenance of the ink and cartridges.
The most significant setback you find in the image quality where to get white lines on the image due to clogged print-head nozzles.
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The first step to keep in mind is the owner’s manual. Every printer is different, so the equipment and maintenance procedure may vary for each printer or its model.
So, make sure that you have gone through the owner’s manual to eliminate all sublimation printing problems.
5 Maintenance Tips for a Smooth running of Sublimation Printer:
The essential steps you should follow to get high-quality sublimation printing on your garments are as follows:-
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01. Clean nozzle-heads regularly:
For all sublimation printers and models, clogging of print heads is a common issue. Therefore, the most important aspect is keeping the print heads clean.
If you regularly print, you can easily clean the print heads by letting the ink flow through the nozzle heads.
But, when you do not print for a few days, the sublimation ink dries in the nozzle-heads and causes the head to choke.
So, there are adaptive sublimation systems like Ricoh SG 3110DN where you need to perform the manual operation of cleaning print-heads.
However, integrated sublimation systems like Sawgrass VJ 628 automatically perform the head check without your intervention to keep your ink flowing smoothly. But, you have to switch ‘ON’ the printer to do so.
Blocked print-head problems:-
The most common problem due to clogged heads is streaks on the printed image. Moreover, you may find the same issue due to low ink levels in the cartridges.
Therefore, perform regular checks to prevent clogging of heads.
Post head cleaning operation:-
After you perform the head cleaning, check for the printed pattern to confirm the issue is resolved. If not, repeat the same head cleaning procedure to remove the clogged ink from the nozzle heads.
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02. Prevent Wastage of Ink in sublimation printing machine:
Maintenance of the sublimation printer results in excessive wastage of ink. Every day when you clean the machine, it needs a certain amount of ink to use. As we discussed above, using the ink flow to clean the nozzle heads.
To prevent ink wastage, waste collection tanks. Some printers have built-in tanks like “Virtuoso SG400 Sublimation Printer” to store all the discharge ink.
Therefore, you may keep a separate storage container or built-in ones. You need to take the necessary steps to manage the wastage of ink.
03. Influence of Temperature on sublimation ink:
Sublimation inks require certain temperature and humidity specifications for proper and dry-free storage.
The recommended temperature for storage of sublimation ink ranges between 15 to 25 degrees Celsius, and the relative humidity should be more than 35%.
However, excess humidity causes moisture to accumulate on transfer paper and substrates.
When the transfer paper or the substrate comes in contact with the heat press, it causes moisture to turn into steam and affects the image quality after sublimation.
Therefore, you must maintain a suitable temperature and humidity in your workshop using an air exhaust machine or any indoor moisture controller.
04. Keep your Workshop clean:
Try keeping your workshop clean and dust-free—all precautions keeping your transfer paper clean, especially during printing.
If any dust or moisture(as discussed above) falls on the transfer paper, it affects the print quality, and you get a low quality, dull, and in extreme cases, a blurry image.
Once the transfer paper falls on the floor and catches dust on it, it is no more usable for printing.
However, mistakes happen when the transfer paper accidentally falls on the floor and gets dirty. To be prepared for such, you must place some cover or container that holds the transfer paper and prevent its contact with the floor.
05. Caution! With refillable ink cartridges:
If you are using a refillable ink cartridge, you should be very careful while refilling it.
Dust:- When dust gets into the ink cartridge, then everything is spoiled. Besides poor print quality, it may cause the ink delivery system of your sublimation printing machines to choke and damage.
Air Bubbles:- You may prevent dust from entering the ink cartridge, but air bubbles can pose a serious problem when you manually fill ink cartridges.
The best way to prevent air bubbles by filling ink in small volumes and shaking it up to settle and remove any air voids or bubbles.
Finally, you must perform regular maintenance of sublimation printing machines following the common issues and DIY tips and solutions discussed above.
Moreover, if you own modern sublimation printing machines, it becomes easier to maintain if loaded with an automatic cleaning feature.
In conclusion, you must address the common issue of clogging print heads if you are not printing regularly. With regular maintenance, your sublimation printer runs smoothly retains fair print quality.
Can you use sublimation transfers more than once?
No, you cannot use sublimation transfers more than once. Because the more times you use the same sublimation paper, each successive print will become more faded than the previous one.
Can you sublimation print on polyester?
Yes, you can do sublimation printing on 100% polyester for the best results.
Which fabric material is best for sublimation printing?
Polyester, nylon, Lycra, spandex, and all elastic fabrics are best for sublimation printing.