The Basic Difference Between Dye Sublimation Printing and Inkjet Printing

                             The Basic Difference Between Dye Sublimation Printing and Inkjet Printing

    sublimation paper
    Dye sublimation printing is, by definition, the sublimating of dye in fabric. The way it works is like

this. First, a transfer paper is printed on a digital printer that is set up with CMYO dye cartridges rather

than your typical CMYK inks. CMYK, or four color process printing (4CP is the shorthand version of

CMYK which stands for cyan-magenta-yellow-black) is used in surface printing of materials, including

direct-to-fabric printing, but does not become part of the fabric like dye sub printing does.
    dye sublimation ink
    Dye sublimation uses dyes, and a CMYO dye cartridge set that replace the black in CMYK printing

with an “Overprint Clear.” The inkjet printer that is set up to print dyes (this cannot be done

interchangeably without a significant amount of know-how and expense, so once a printer is set up to

print dyes, it is usually not converted back to standard CMYK inkjet printing) prints a mirror image of

whatever it is that needs printed on a treated dye-accepting paper known generically as “transfer

paper.”
    large format printer
   This paper is now “married” to a piece of polyester or another synthetic fabrics (polyester is the most

common due to its versatility in look and usage – from stretchable trade show booth fabrics to

garments to outdoor flags and a whole lot more) and then it is fed through heated rollers that combine

heat – about 375°F or 210°C – with pressure to expand the cells of the fabric and convert the dye to a

gaseous state.

   The dye is sublimated into the open pores of the polymeric synthetic material, and as it cools again,

traps the sublimated dye within the cells of the fabric. Because the dye became gaseous, it does not

create a dot pattern during the sublimation process like inkjet printing will on fabric or vinyl or other

rigid plastic substrates, rather it creates a continuous tone print much like how photographs are

developed and look.

  sublimation printer


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