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Sublimation Process Information
We try to teach and inform with our web sites, as well as give information about our products. If you are just starting to learn about sublimation, take a minute to read about how and why it works. It's not "magic", it's simple science.
First, we provide so much depth on this site, that you will have a firm foundation of sublimation business knowledge, no matter what type of sublimation business you eventually start.
Second, is because this site mainly deals with single color sublimation. While full color sublimation is exciting and profitable, single color sublimation continues to be a solid moneymaker for thousands of sublimators in the awards, gift, sign, embroidery and ad specialty business.
There is much to be said for keeping operating costs low and profits very high as you start up a new venture and start building a customer base.
One of our customers explained his thoughts, very clearly. This was not a testimonial letter to us, but a response to someone else on a web message board (reprinted by permission)-
"HP lasers (printers) using Alpha Toner... best blacks I've seen or tested... easiest most versatile printers... and BIG money makers...if my color printers ever make me the money these lasers have produced, I'll retire early." Russ Neff, Aladdin Awards, Haggerstown, MD.
The Dye Sublimation Process
Laser printed sublimation transfers are produced by special dye sublimation toner cartridges, using an ordinary laser printer. The actual transfer process itself occurs because the dye sublimation toner cartridge contains a heat sensitive dye that will change from a solid to a gas and back to a solid (when cooled), without a middle step. This transformation process is called subliming. The process is similar to dry ice "melting" into a vapor, without ever being a liquid. This is one of two elements that make sublimation possible.
As we stated above, sublimation toner by itself is one of two elements. Dye sublimation toner cartridges produce transfers, but sublimation must be done on polymers, polyester or polymer coated materials. Dye sublimation toner cartridges will not work with natural materials, like cotton for example. Here's why. Transfer and polymer material (like coated metal, tiles, polyester, etc.) are put together in a heat press. During the heating time the "pores" of the polymer open up and the toner, which has changed into a gas, goes into the polymer. When both come out of the heat press and cool, the toner gas changes back to a solid and now becomes part of the material. Natural materials have no "pores" to open up, so the gas cannot penetrate.