The following notes are designed to help you get the best results using sublimatable materials. While these products are designed specifically for color sublimation, proper preparation of the transfer and heat press is critical to achieving optimal quality.
Please refer to the manuals provided with your printer and sublimation supplies for detailed instructions on configuring and troubleshooting your system. In preparing full color sublimation transfers it is essential to disable color matching from your graphic design software. You should utilize the color correction solution designed for your printer and brand of sublimation ink. The colors of the sublimation transfer may appear washed out. This is normal and the desired result of color adjustment for the transfer process. Equipment and conditions do vary, therefore the suggested times are given as good starting points from which you may experiment and find the conditions that give you the best results from your system.
Remember to peel the transparent protective film off of the surface of the substrate (if applicable) and check to see that you are working with a clean, lint-free surface.
Temperature and Dwell Times:
A temperature of 400 degrees F is recommended for all products. Use moderate to heavy pressure – it should require some effort to close your heat press. Time and temperature may vary depending on your heat press and the thickness of the blank material. Dwell times can be increased or reduced in 5-15 second incremements until you find the duration which results in the clearest image. Please refer to the documentation from your ink supplier for more information on temperature and dwell times.
Although pre-cut blanks can be purchased through your distributor, FR Plastic sheet stock can be cut, routed or beveled either before or after sublimation using carbide toling. We recommend using either a router bit designed for acrylic or a mult-tooth saw blad designed for plastic. Ask your engraving supplier about bits designed to cut FR Plastic material.
We do not recommned shearing of FR Plastic. The fiberglass content of this material will damage your shear blade. Also, we do not recommend laser cutting because of the amount of charring that occurs on the edge of the plastic.
Hardboard products may be cut using laser engraving equipment. The peel coat or masking should be left on the product until after cutting. Consult your user manual or laser engraving equipment manufacturer for power settings for your machine.
Storing Finished Products:
Special care must be taken when storing or packaging finished sublimated products. If sublimated pieces are placed in direct contact with other sublimatable materials or with any type of synthetic material, the inks will migrate from the sublimated piece to the synthetic material over time. Do not stack finished pieces face-to-face, either when hot or cool. Do not wrap finished pieces in shrink wrap or place them in plastic bags for shipping. We recommend that you use a paper sheet between stacked items, or wrap pieces in paper for shipping.
A blowout refers to an image whose colors have been “blown out” of its borders and appear smudged. The primary causes of blowouts are uneven heating, overheating and excessive pressure. Heat press accessories, such as a rubber pad or a Teflon sheet covering a transfer held in place with heat-resistant tape will prevent a blowout of your image by lessening the variance in temperature across the surface. Anytime you choose rubber pads instead of a Teflon sheet to prevent a blowout, increase the temperature 25 degress and the dwell time in 15 second increments until you achieve optimum color.
If everything is set correctly and you still have trouble, your transfer may be shifting. Sometimes a “double image” results when the transfer moves across the sublimatable surface while it is still hot, usually when the press is lifted or while removing the transfer from the sublimation surface. To prevent this, it is recommended to always use a transfer sheet that is larger than the surface you are sublimating onto. Ideally, the paper should have enough overhang to secure it to the backside of your sublimatable blank with heat resistant tape. Do not tape to the foiled edge of a plaque or paperweight as it may pull the foil off when removed. If possible, allow the piece to cool slightly before removing the transfer and tape.
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