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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. One of the biggest criticisms of conventional sublimation onto garments (other than ink monopolies), is the lack of variety in polyester garments, when compared to cotton. This limits the range of sublimation garments we can offer to customers.

I am curious as to why if the Chromablast system is capable of sublimating direct onto cotton, more people haven't moved over to this system.:confused:

Cotton shirts are more readily available, can be purchased from a wider range of suppliers and with a significant cost saving. With the exception of sport orientated clothing, the general opinion is that cotton tees are much preferred over polyester garments.

I have read about the 'overprint' disappearing after one wash? In practical terms would this mean the item would have to be washed before it could get sent out? Is it this, or some other reason why people are still sublimating onto polyester tees.:confused:
 

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David is correct. Chromablast is not sublimation. After pressing, it has a "feel" while sublimation does not. Chromablast wears and fades like other transfers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi. Thanks for that guys. The people that sell my sublimation materials have recently sent me details of the Chromablast system, with one of my orders. Their literature which originates from Sawgrass is as follows;

"Where the ink chemistry and the media coating chemistry touch, there is a cross-link reaction under heat and pressure that chemically bonds the image to the cotton. The cross-link creates a very strong and nearly permanent bond. Remove the paper and the image area is tattooed into the shirt itself".

It is the latter part of that wording "tattoed into the shirt itself " that gives the impression it is some sort of sublimation process. If it is only a glorified transfer sytem, then the wording is very misleading. The Chromablast ink is over £60 ($120) for 55ml per colour, so it would be a very expensive transfer process.

If it does wear and fade as Ed suggests, then it would not be commercially viable to use.

The one good thing about these forums, is that you can get independent opinions from people that have actually used, or had experience of using products, rather than reading the sometimes misleading and inaccurate literature put out by some manufacturers.
 

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I think the problem with Chromablast is that you are still limited to white and lights. Haven't used it but thats my understanding. If it is the case then it would have to be a product that is far superior to the other transfer papers that are out there to justify it's cost. If anyone has more info please ad to the post. Would love to hear from someone other than a salesperson trying to sell me the system.
 

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I think the problem with Chromablast is that you are still limited to white and lights. Haven't used it but thats my understanding. If it is the case then it would have to be a product that is far superior to the other transfer papers that are out there to justify it's cost. If anyone has more info please ad to the post. Would love to hear from someone other than a salesperson trying to sell me the system.
I have ordered a sample on a cotton shirt previously from them, and you still have the polymer window over the design to deal with too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Anyone that has practical experience of using Chromablast recently, your comments would be more than welcome on this topic. Also if anyone is using Chromablast alongside sublimation, your comparisons between the two systems would be of great value to people on this forum.

Unlike sublimation, there seems to be much less clarity about what Chromablast actually is.
 

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Ok, I am at the Chicago ISS Show this week and have been printing sublimation and ChromaBlast. ChromaBlast is an acceptable product for a white t-shirt just like most transfers for a specific market...but it still has a hand to it. The ink does have some binders in it, but it also uses a low polymer transfer paper to seal the ink to the shirt that creates a hand. I do have a white ChromaBlast shirt that I have washed over 20 times. The print has held up just like most of the other light transfers. Unfortunately, the shirt has bad filbiration (which is not ChromaBlast ink) and has made the design look worse than it is.

There is a post on this forum from Adriatic Blue where we did some transfers using colored bamboo fabric. You can definitely see the polymer window on the colored shirt. The window does decrease and is not noticeable on a white shirt... but is on any color shirt.

And yes, ChromaBlast is a light transfer application ...so it does not work on dark colors with color distortion. But, sublimation is a light transfer application as well. Ultimately, a ChromaBlast transfer can be around twice the cost or more as a standard inkjet transfer depending on which paper and ink you are using.

Hope this helps.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the clarification Mark. If it still has a hand, then it offers no real advantage over the better quality inkjet transfers.

Diversifying off the subject slightly, but if people have managed to 'cobble together' a cheap DTG system from an old inkjet printer, then apart from the obvious need to use a transfer paper, aren't manufacturers missing a massive opportunity in the market place?
 

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I just purchased a Chromablast system (I won most of it, so not a huge investment) and just pressed out an order this weekend on natural colored organic tee's. The window is noticable. I like the print quality OK, but I am a newbie and may not know better.

My question is what is the better quality ink and transfer paper choices? We are having fun with the Chromablast, but when it comes time to refill, that is going to be an issue. We are using an Epson C88.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for sharing the pictures with us. The Polymer window is a lot more noticeable than I thought it would be. It is obvious that you would have to use a contour cutter, or be real nifty with a pair of scissors to use Chromablast effectively.

It has however answered the original question that was asked, 'Why hasn't Chromablast replaced conventional garment sublimation'. Bearing in mind its relative cost, I would be hard pushed to see how Chromablast offered any real advantage of decent quality inkjet transfers.
 

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I made this T-shirt with Chromablast. It had a slight hand until the first washing, now no hand. The picture doesn't feel any different than the rest of the shirt. This pic was taken after 2 washings now. Picture hasn't faded at all, colors are still just as vibrant and the trace around the image isn't noticable anymore, but it was before the first wash. I had trimmed it to about 1/2 inch around the image.

I know now that I need to trim it in as tight as I can. Yeah it's a pain, and expensive at that, but the shirts I've made with regular transfer paper don't come close. Those have a heavy hand and they start to pop off the material after a few times in the washer.

The only faults I can find with it are the cost and that yellowish ring around an image that can be trimmed way back. But that does come out in the washer. I heard that we're supposed to wash the shirts after printing anyhow. Did I hear wrong?

Not sure why the pic is gray, but it's a white shirt. Must be bad lighting (and to think I used the flash on my $400 camera!!!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the pictures Loretta. Nice to see some examples of Chromablast rolling into this thread.

With regards to washing after printing, the official manufacturers directions are 'The overprint area from the media does physically transfer, but washes away because it has no ink to react to in the non-image area. The area around the image has a very light feel that becomes nearly imperceptible after one wash'.

Not quite sure how customers would react to receiving a shirt with distinct overprint area. If selling on EBay for example, you could well end up with negative feedback issues, even if the overprint does supposedly disappear after one wash. I somehow couldn't see a busy print shop washing a 200 shirt order before despatch, nor a customer accepting 200 shirts with overprint on them?

Anyone with experience of Chromablast, you are more than welcome to add your own thoughts to this thread.
 

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I'm not sure how customers would react either. I know if I paid some serious cash for a T-shirt and it came with a ring around the image I'd be a little upset, unless it came with some kind of information or instruction sheet that said to wash it before using to get rid of that ring. Kind of like opening a near empty bag of chips and reading that "some settling of contents may have occured during shipment". Like that much settling happens during shipment...

One time I bought a pair of pants from a catalog that came with one leg 6" longer than the other and the side seams hadn't been sewn together yet! That was the last time I bought from that catalog company and they were a big nationwide company at that time what with catalog ordering and pick-up stores. Funny, I can't even remember their name now, no not Fingerhut either.

You can't sell garbage to your customers and expect to stay in business very long. That would be my fear of send one off to a customer without washing them first. It also wants you to dry them in the dryer. I did and it shrunk my T, but that's cotton for you.
 

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Well, on the sample they sent to me, the overprint never has washed out, and I have washed the shirt at least 10 times now over the last year.

As a consumer, I am not sure what would be worse; receiving a shirt with an overprint on it or getting a shirt someone has already washed.
 

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You've got a point. If it was washed, one would assume it had been worn at some point in time. So we're back to square one. Maybe Chromablast requires lighter pressure or less time or lower temp in order for the overprint not to show up so much for so long.

Now that the sun is shining, I took a closer look and the overprint area around my image is still visible, but barely. You have to know it's there.
 

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I have a swing-away press, but I thought Ts had to have light pressure. Does the heavy pressure make the overprint area more noticeable or less? Wouldn't that scorch it? Also, what time do you recommend for a heavy press on Chromablast?
 

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Heavy pressure will help drive the polymer into the shirt. The excess is less noticeable on a white shirt, but is still visible on a color shirt as shown by the picture above. It does not scorch the shirt. Here is what I use: heavy pressure, 375 degrees F and 37 seconds.
 
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