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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Some beginner questions on mug presses. Just trying to understand how everything works.

Looking at videos of mug presses it seems like a lot of people are using sublimation printers and pressing that on. I am not planning to purchase a sublimation printer. Can I work with a vinyl cutter and produce prints to be pressed onto a mug?

Another wondering is what type of blanks to buy. Will I be tied into buying from the same company that made the press? Or can I find other cylindrical mugs and press on them?

Also, does anyone have an opinion on these products?

12x15pro combination packet from HPN $855

15x15 black combination packet from HPN $850

I need a t-shirt press too, and those seem like good values

If I get a t-shirt press separately, I was looking at this Wala mug press:

Wala 7 in 1 mug press $345 Then I would probably buy a $700 flat press so it would be $1,045 for both.

Thankful for any input...
 

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You can certainly use vinyl on a mug but it will only be of use as an ornament, Vinyl will not survive many washes.

Any mugs of a suitable diameter for the press can be used. For sublimation (if you decide to go that route in future) you'd need specially coated blank sublimation mugs.
 

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You can certainly use vinyl on a mug but it will only be of use as an ornament, Vinyl will not survive many washes.

Any mugs of a suitable diameter for the press can be used. For sublimation (if you decide to go that route in future) you'd need specially coated blank sublimation mugs.
thank you , so vinyl is out of the question. Im planing to purchase the DK3 which sublimation printer should I purchase?
 

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thank you , so vinyl is out of the question. Im planing to purchase the DK3 which sublimation printer should I purchase?
I can't really advise you on which sublimation printer to choose as I only use Ricoh SG3110DN printers myself. A few things to bear in mind though are:

  • The cost of the inks. Sawgrass inks are very expensive and many compatible inks do just as good a job for far less money.
  • Most Epsons will take sublimation inks. You need a printer with a piezo-electric print head so Canon etc are out of the question. To be honest, Epson, Ricoh and Sawgrass are the three main contenders.
  • Think about what you will be doing. A4 is ok for mugs, but for t-shirts and larger items you should be thinking of A3 or larger.
  • Sublimation can be very difficult to get right when you start off. It takes a while to get the right settings for printer and press and you may lose quite a few mugs in the initial stages. Happens to all of us, don't despair!
  • You will probably need the correct ICC profile installed in your graphics software to match the inks you are using in order to get the correct colours. Reputable ink suppliers should provide you with a free profile.
 

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I can't really advise you on which sublimation printer to choose as I only use Ricoh SG3110DN printers myself. A few things to bear in mind though are:

  • The cost of the inks. Sawgrass inks are very expensive and many compatible inks do just as good a job for far less money.
  • Most Epsons will take sublimation inks. You need a printer with a piezo-electric print head so Canon etc are out of the question. To be honest, Epson, Ricoh and Sawgrass are the three main contenders.
  • Think about what you will be doing. A4 is ok for mugs, but for t-shirts and larger items you should be thinking of A3 or larger.
  • Sublimation can be very difficult to get right when you start off. It takes a while to get the right settings for printer and press and you may lose quite a few mugs in the initial stages. Happens to all of us, don't despair!
  • You will probably need the correct ICC profile installed in your graphics software to match the inks you are using in order to get the correct colours. Reputable ink suppliers should provide you with a free profile.
Thank You Im only going to print black color so which printer is the best? as you said inks are expensive, why do you only use Ricoh SG3110DN?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses!

Is sublimation prints the only thing that works on mugs? are there any other options? I'm just trying to figure out if I can avoid buying a sublimation printer since that is a big extra cost.
 

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Thank You Im only going to print black color so which printer is the best? as you said inks are expensive, why do you only use Ricoh SG3110DN?
I have 2 Ricoh SG3110DN's and they've served me well for a number of years so I've never had the need to change to anything else. I use compatible, refillable inks from City Ink Express in the UK and the prints are perfect for the designs I sell (well, used to sell, I'm retired now!).
 

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Thanks for the responses!

Is sublimation prints the only thing that works on mugs? are there any other options? I'm just trying to figure out if I can avoid buying a sublimation printer since that is a big extra cost.
Your only options are:
  • Sublimation
  • Vinyl (not recommended)
  • Screen printing
  • Stencilling
  • Sandblasting (also known as Sandcarving).
  • Waterslide Decals. (not recommended unless under the glaze before firing the mug)
Of these, I would say the best methods of producing a permanent, dishwasher and microwave-proof print on a mug are Sublimation or Sandcarving and you will need additional equipment for both of these methods.
 

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Thank You Im only going to print black color so which printer is the best? as you said inks are expensive, why do you only use Ricoh SG3110DN?
For $199 you can buy an Epson ET-2720. That's large enough for mug printing. It is an EcoTank, so no carts/chips to hassle with when using 3rd party inks. Cobra, Cosmos, InkOwl etc make sublimation ink that works in Epson printers. Just be sure to "exercise" it at least once a week to avoid clogging nozzles.
 

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Heat transferred vinyl will not last long on mugs. If you are reselling these mugs, don't do it.

If you don't want to spend the money for a dye sublimation setup, then the next best thing is infusible ink. It comes on transfer paper like vinyl, cuts in your cutter like vinyl, but is as permanent as dye sublimation. Cricut make it, and maybe others. It is multiple times more expensive than dye sublimation, and still requires poly coated products, like dye sublimation, but it saves you from purchasing a new printer and dye sublimation ink.

The 3rd best option is commercial grade permanent sign vinyl, like Oracal 651. You still need a cutter for it, but not a heat press.
 

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Thank You Im only going to print black color so which printer is the best? as you said inks are expensive, why do you only use Ricoh SG3110DN?
I use an Epson F-170 sublimation printer for mugs and tumblers. It's compact, lightweight, and works very well. It's a full color printer which uses ink reservoirs and bottles of ink to refill, which saves a good amount of money. I think you will eventually want to go to full color, and this sublimation printer is under $400.
I made a template so I can find the center of each side of the mug, which makes it easy to print both sides at once.
There are many places to buy blank mugs that are coated with polyester. Johnson Plastics www.jpplus.com is a good reliable supplier and reasonably priced for many sublimation product.
 
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