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Re: Does any one know how this is done.

What is the difference between dye sublimation and simple screen printing?

Is there a big difference in the cost of one vs. the other?

thank you
 

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Screen printing involves making a black and white hardcopy of the print image on a vellum paper or transparent film. Next a screen is selected and coated with a UV sensitive emulsion. The hardcopy is then placed on the screen and exposed in ultraviolet light for about 3.5 minutes. Once exposed the screen is power washed removing the emulsion hidden by the black image on your hardcopy, then the screen is placed in a rack to dry.

Now you can finally start the screen print process.
for each color in your design, there will be a separate screen needed.
the screen is loaded onto the actual screen printing turnstyle and the non print areas are masked off with tape. Ink is then loaded onto the screen evenly across the top of the design.
The garment is loaded onto the pallet and the screen lowered onto the garment. Next pull the squeegee from top to bottom applying even pressure. The ink will transfer thru the open mesh area and onto your garment.
Finally the garment must be ran thru the curing oven to dry. There is still a lot more involved in screen printing, but you get the idea!

A lot of work to print a one color shirt design.

Sublimation printing is a digital process transfer type printing.
The art is created in say Corel or Photoshop. Next the transfer is printed in reverse image on a special transfer paper suited for the substrate you are printing on. Next the transfer is placed image down on the substrate in a heat press at 400 degrees F for 15-60 seconds(Dependent upon the substrate). The transfer paper is removed and the item cooled. That is basically it! Sublimation inks are actually a dye that switches to a gas form at 400 degrees f and adheres to a special poly coating on the substrate. This coating is the key to this process.

Another alternative is the direct to garment printer. It works the same as sublimation but without the transfer paper process. It too requires heat to cure the inks. Start up is quite a bit higher than sublimation, but the savings can be seen very quickly. Return on your investment can be as short as 1 yr.
 

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Screen Printing is an Analog Process that requires screens and different colors of ink on a manual process.

Digital Dye Sublimation is a digital process. No screens or setups are required. No film positives are required. You print out your images on a high-release ink jet paper. Then you heat press the garment.

Sublimation is only good for 100% Poly Shirts which are a big part of the wicking or moisture management market. Cotton cant be done with dye sub. That being said you would be surprised how far some dye sub shirts have come. We have some on our site.

If you are looking for short run full color production dye sub may be for you. If you need cotton then it just wont do.

Good luck.
 

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so what kind of printer would a person use ? the same epson that use durabrite ultra ink? or is it a differnt printer with differnt type of ink?
 

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I know this is an ancient post, but where do you guys get good poly tees for sub printing? Does it have to be 100% poly or can it be a blend? If blend, how much cotton can you have for it to work?
 

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Re: Does any one know how this is done.

dye sub requires light (preferably white) background) - print on transfer paper at about 5 to 7 cents a sq inch, heat pressed. screen requires 4 or more screens at $25 each, setup registration, etc, but ink costs are very low. If doing one offs on white - 12x12 dyesub a little over $7, screen $100+. however if your are doing 20 plus items the screen starts getting the advantage on cost. I doing 500, then screen is far cheaper than dye sub. dye syb is a dye, needs a light colored background - screen is a pigment ink and can be done on any background color. what you use is dependent on your need.
 

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We run various processes including dye sub for many large prints circa 16" x 20" and the paper costs are about 7 cents a square foot. Dye sub is quick and clean but only great on light coloured substrates. Every process has its pros and cons, that's why most larger shops have some diversity in the processes they support. It's the ink prices that are the bulk of the dye sub costs - but it's still competitive for smaller runs and provides a great means to make very quick print changes - for me it wins for its versatility and punchy results on lighter substrates.
 

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Maybe a screener can do a COMPLETE costing of screen printing when comparing DYE SUB vs silk screening.

Let's look at a comparison
To be fair both prints are 12"x12" 8 colors white shirt.
50 shirts 100 ,300, 500 shirts

Please use ALL cost. I will do dye sub and others can chime in for screening cost.
Please state equipment cost for 8 color printing Set up cost, printing cost/labor, ink cost including waste, clean up cost. Burning 8 screens total cost. film. Shirt cost cotton but a nice one to compare to fit and feel of poly.

For dye subbing one 15"x15" heat press $99. Pro world or less.
TRANSFER outsoursed at .50 each. .10 kraft paper.
Labor to finish per shirt .19 each at $15. per hour
Shirt cost 100% poly $4.00

$4.79 Finished Shirt $99. for equipment.
So the final cost is $4.79 per shir 1-500 Please note to total cost of equipment is $99. for heat press.

This will be interesting.
 

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What kind of poly shirts do you use? What dye sub suppliers do you use? Conde, Best blanks, etc...?
I use Conde and Coastal but I import some of my supplies as well. I use 3 wide format printers. One Maxi press operated with air twin platens 40"x64". 4, 16x20 press as well. I developed our own paper so we could see thru it for lining up transfers and getting the cost down.
I'm sorry that no screeners have commented on true costing. Equipment, Labor to make a screen and material cost of screen, Shirt cost, ink cost, heater cost of operation, Labor to print and set up cost Cleanup cost and space cost, repair cost. I do not blame folks for not wanting to look at all the real cost, Sometimes when the WHOLE cost is looked at, it's like Halloween, it's scary.
 

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Hi there.

Does sublimation have to be done on 100% polyester or can it be done on cotton which is polyester mix (eg can sublimation printing be done on a tshirt which is say 80% cotton and 20% polyester?)

Thanks
Cheryl x
 

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Subs can be printed on cotton poly mixes the higher the poly mix is the brighter the image will be. a good mix is 60 poly 40 cotton.
 

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I know this is an old thread and Dave suggest the $99 heat press but you have to buy like $500 in transfers to get that price. A ok heat press starts out at $500-$600 but a good heat press starts out at $1000+. I do both dye sub and screen printing and comparing the 2 with a white shirt would be a fair comparison but compare the 2 on a black shirt. Or a cotton shirt or, a black hoodie.

Yes screen printing equipment is expensive. I'll put my cost out there but these are what I paid for used equipment.

M&R sidewinder 6/6 $3000. 12ft conveyor dryer free plus I made $700 selling all the stuff I bought with it. Exposure unit $500. Washout booth $100. Roller frames $25. Emulsion, ink, chemicals and tape per screens $5. Squeegees $10-$20 ea. being able to print on a black shirt and meet your client needs. Priceless.

I not against either process and I recommend using Dave for dye sub transfers. Soon as I am out if ink that's what I'm doing. I got a sample and cut it up and pressed on multiple items and all of them were great.
 
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