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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have been thinking about getting into dye sublimation for decorating T-shirts, mugs and other items. For those of you already in the sublimation world, what do you guys think of the starter package from Pro World. I was looking into getting the Virtuoso Sg800 with the vacuum press so I could do other things like mugs, lattes, phone cases, etc, etc.


It was either this or embroidery and we decided to look into sublimation for now.


Thanks in advance for the advice.
 

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Hi. The first thing to realise is that sublimation isn't an exact science and not always the easy, profitable process that suppliers and youtube videos make it out to be. Expect long hours of tearing your hair out before you find equipment and techniques that work for you.

Personally, I wouldn't put too much faith in a vacuum press. A decent mug press or halogen oven with silicone wraps will achieve results the same, or better, than a vacuum press and won't cost as much.

Also, seriously think about what inks you will be using. Sawgrass inks are well overpriced and overhyped, and really no better than some third-party inks. Ink will be one of your most expensive consumables.

For mugs, quality of coating is the most important issue, followed by distortions, tapers, pinholes etc. Competition is fierce in all the markets you have mentioned so be prepared to make very small profits, meaning you will have to sell loads of stuff if you are planning making a living from this.
 

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Knowing what we know now and the few experiences we've dealt with....

If it was me starting out with only those 2 choices, I would start with embroidery, first. Get you a used Tajima EMB machine. 1 head is rare (because they're great machines), but if you find one, snatch it. Then have a Tajima tech come and do maintenance on it so it runs without issue, like new (not like it shouldn't run great as is... it should).

Here is a list of techs: technicians | Madeira

I wish we started with screenprinting before sublimation. Not because we have constant issues with sublimation, but because we have clients that have more products that could use screenprinting.

We had clogging issues (Epson with CISS) when we first started years ago, but figured out how to get it working great for us. We've been doing great since. Like @webtrekker said, don't put much faith in those vacuum presses. Start with a mug press or even a convection oven with silicone wraps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice. We wanted to get into embroidery about a year ago but we just could not afford the machines at the time. We wanted to make sure we purchased a good quality machine and from what we could gather it seemed like we just could not afford the good ones. Right now we are just doing screen printing and vinyl applications. All our caps are heat pressed vinyl applications. We just cannot get the $$ to purchase an embroidery machine. We only do this part-time. I have a fulltime job and my wife and I do this as a side business.
 
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