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Sublimation printing is a great way to get unique, customized prints, but it can be tricky to get the hang of at first. There are a few common issues that can crop up during the printing process, but with this guide you’ll be able to troubleshoot and fix them in no time!.
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So let’s take a look at some of the most common sublimation problems and how to solve them.
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- What is Sublimation Printing?
- 8 Common Sublimation Issues and Fixing
What is Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation is a printing technique that uses heat to transfer dye onto paper, fabric, or other materials. The ink is first printed onto a sheet of transfer paper, and then the paper is placed on the item to be printed. Once the two are sandwiched together, they are passed through a heat press, which applies high temperatures and pressure.
This causes the dye on the transfer paper to turn into a gas, and as it does so, it bonds with the fibers of the material. As a result, the image is burned into the fabric and will not fade over time. However, if exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time, sublimated prints can begin to fade.
Therefore, it is best to display sublimated prints indoors where they will be protected from UV rays. With proper care, sublimated prints can last for many years without losing their color or vibrancy.
8 Common Sublimation Issues and Fixing
Now you’ve learnt what sublimation printing is. So let’s take a look at some of the most common sublimation problems like banding, ghosting, transfer lines, ink smearing, fading, blurring etc. Let’s discuss each issue in detail along with its fixing.
If you notice horizontal lines across your print, this is likely due to banding. Banding occurs when the ink isn’t laying down evenly on the substrate, and is usually caused by a clogged print head or an issue with the printer settings.
How to Avoid banding?
The first thing you should do if you notice banding is to clean your print head. You can do this by running a cleaning solution through your printer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If that doesn’t solve the issue, check your printer settings. Make sure the printhead is set to the correct width for your substrate, and that the line spacing is set correctly. If you’re still having trouble, try printing a test file to see if the issue is specific to one file or if it’s a general problem.
- Transfer Lines
Transfer lines are another common issue, and they occur when the substrate isn’t being heated evenly. This can be caused by a number of things, but the most common culprit is a dirty or damaged heat press.
How to Avoid Transfer Lines ?
To fix this issue, start by cleaning your heat press. If that doesn’t solve the problem, check the pressure settings and make sure they’re set correctly for your substrate. You may also need to adjust the temperature or heating time. Once you’ve got the settings dialed in, try printing a test file to see if the issue is resolved.
You can also watch this video guide for removing transfer lines.
Ghosting is a common issue when printing on dark-colored substrates. It occurs when the ink doesn’t adhere properly to the substrate, and it results in a faint image that’s not as vibrant as it should be.
How to Avoid Ghosting?
There are a few things you can try to fix ghosting. First, make sure you’re using the correct transfer paper. If you’re using a light-colored substrate, you’ll need to use a dark transfer paper. Second, increase the pressure on your heat press. And finally, try increasing the temperature or heating time.
Still not resolved, check out a detailed guide about Ghosting and How To Fix Ghosting?
- Fade Prints
Fading can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is improper curing. When prints are cured properly, the ink is locked in and won’t fade over time. But if they’re not cured correctly, the ink can start to fade relatively quickly.
How to Avoid Fade Prints?
To prevent fading, make sure you’re curing your prints according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves running them through a hot dryer or heat press for a specific amount of time.
- Blurry Transfers
If your prints are coming out blurry, it’s likely due to an issue with the transfer paper. When choosing a transfer paper, make sure you select one that’s designed for use with sublimation inks. Some papers are only meant for use with solvent inks, and they won’t work correctly with sublimation inks.
How to Avoid Blurry Transfers ?
Another common cause of blurry transfers is incorrect heating or cooling. If the substrate isn’t heated properly, the ink won’t bond correctly and it will result in a blurry print. And if the substrate is cooled too quickly, the ink can start to bleed and produce a fuzzy image. To avoid these issues, make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for heating and cooling times.
- Output Colors are incorrect
If the colors in your prints are coming out wrong, it’s likely due to a problem with the color management settings in your software. Color management ensures that the colors you see on your screen match the colors that are printed.
How to Avoid Output Colors are incorrect ?
To fix this issue, start by checking the color management settings in your software. Make sure they’re set up correctly for your printer and substrate. If that doesn’t solve the problem, try calibrating your monitor. This will help ensure that the colors you see on your screen match the colors that are actually being printed.
- Moisture Issues / Small Dots
Moisture can cause a number of issues, but the most common is ink bleeding and small dots on prints. This occurs when the ink absorbs moisture from the air and starts to spread. As a result, you’ll see blurry or smeared prints.
How to Avoid Moisture Issues / Small Dots?
To prevent moisture issues, make sure you’re storing your substrate in a cool, dry place. And if you’re not going to be using it right away, seal it in an airtight bag to keep the moisture out.
- Extra Ink
If you find that your prints are coming out with too much ink, it’s likely due to a clogged printhead. When the printhead gets clogged, it doesn’t dispense the ink evenly, which can result in prints that are too dark or have too much ink.
How to Avoid Extra Ink ?
To fix this issue, start by running a printhead cleaning cycle. This will help clear out any dried ink that’s clogging the printhead. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to replace the printhead.
How do you troubleshoot a sublimation printer?
Sublimation Transfer Has Streaks or Banding Transfer Lines
and many other issues we have discussed above
Why does my sublimation look faded after pressing?
Fading can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is improper curing. To prevent fading, make sure you’re curing your prints according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves running them through a hot dryer or heat press for a specific amount of time.
Why is my sublimation coming out with lines?
Transfer lines are another common issue, and they occur when the substrate isn’t being heated evenly. To fix this issue, start by cleaning your heat press. If that doesn’t solve the problem, check the pressure settings and make sure they’re set correctly for your substrate.
There are a number of common issues but 8 Common Sublimation Issues | How To Fix Them | Ultimate Guide that can occur when printing with sublimation inks. Some most common issues are banding, ghosting, transfer lines, ink smearing, fading and blur transfers. But fortunately, there are also a number of ways to fix them.
By following the tips in this article about 8 Common Sublimation Issues | How To Fix Them | Ultimate Guide, you can ensure that your prints come out looking their best.