Common Mistakes When Using Sublimation

Many users have had great success with sublimation; they have achieved consistent results every time.  The images are bright, vivid, and match the colors that they have desired.   A few users have had some problems with their images and here are some of the most common mistakes made when using sublimation.  We have duplicated mistakes purposely so that you can compare with our results!

Nozzle Check problems
If the color of your image is off.  For example, if your image has a red tint, or other color tints, there’s a high chance that it is because your nozzles are not firing properly in your sublimation printer.

At the beginning of the day, I always print a nozzle check before I start any jobs as this will ensure that all nozzles are firing.  We suggest daily nozzle checks to prevent virtually all clogs.

Here’s a comparison between a perfect nozzle check and one that isn’t.

Here is a comparison between a print with a perfect nozzle check and one that has a nozzle check problem.

Nozzle print Comparison
The top picture resembles the colors of the original photograph and the bottom one is no where near the original colors

Fixing this problem is very simple.  If your nozzle check isn’t perfect, just clean your nozzle head through your OEM printer driver or through the power driver that you downloaded. And then, perform another nozzle check.  Sometimes it may require more than one head clean to clear the clog.

Check to make sure you are using sublimation paper.

Sublimation requires special sublimation paper for the sublimation inks to release properly when heated.  It is easy to mix up sublimation paper with normal paper as they are both white and feel very similar to one another.  Most standard sublimation papers are only coated on one side (however there are some that are coated on both sides).  You can compare the two sides of the paper to tell sublimation paper and plain paper apart.  The coated side is usually brighter than the uncoated side.  With plain papers, both sides will be the same brightness.


Here is an image of a mug sublimated with normal plain paper.

Printing on the wrong side of the paper

You may be printing on the wrong side of the paper.  As stated above, the coated side of the sublimation paper is brighter than the uncoated side. So be sure to print on the brighter side

If you are printing on the wrong side of the paper, you will get the same result as when you use plain paper.

 

Follow the instructions for your product

Most imprintable blanks will come with their own instructions.  Please follow them carefully.  Each type of blank may have a different set of instructions.  If unsure, please confirm the instructions with your vendor.

   
Here is a comparison between using just the right amount of heat, too much heat, and not enough heat,

As you can see images using too much heat turns the image a bit brown and in some cases the image and text on it will appear pixilated.  And images with insufficient heat will appear faded.

Using the wrong inks


If you accidentally installed the OEM inks that came with your printer instead of sublimation inks, this is what you will get.

Sublimation is an easy to learn method to print onto a variety of substrates including 100% polyester clothing, bags, ceramic mugs, tiles, plaques, etc.  But the instructions have to be followed accurately to achieve consistent results.  Also the setup of your sublimation printer has to be correct.  Sawgrass (A Manufacturer of sublimation inks) has posted excellent videos of how to setup your sublimation printers.  Here are some useful links below for your reference.

Sawgrass Sublijet-R Technical Support
Sawgrass Sublijet-IQ Technical Support

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188 thoughts on “Common Mistakes When Using Sublimation

  1. Pingback: Sublimation Paper and Common Mistake in Sublimation Printing

  2. robert macauley

    can any one help pls? I am using sublimation paper, ink and mugs! but not getting any image on the mug at all… tried using 180C 200C AND 220C 180SECS 200 SECS AND EVEN 300SECS! HAS ANYONE GOT ANY IDEAS?

    1. Hi Robert,

      If you are not getting any ink to sublimate to the mug using your stated temperatures and times, most likely the mugs do not have a polyester coating. As you can see in my post, even with normal OEM (original Equipment Manufacturer) inks, you will still see the yellow on the mug. This is because most OEM inks when heated will leave a yellow or red sublimation dye on the polyester coated mug. However with a mug that has no polyester coating, nothing will sublimate onto the mug, not even the yellow or red. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-565-5686

  3. robert macauley

    Thank you! you have just comfirmed what i thought, only needed confirmaion due to i bought 36 mugs stating sublimation printable white ceramic 10oz and also 11oz mugs stating the same from a diffrent suppyier. so the chance both mugs is at fault were little! but even thought that if it were the paper or using wrong side would still show up a faded image! thank you again!

  4. Rob

    is it possible to use a sublimation printer is a dual role purpose? Meaning printing on Sublimation paper and regular inkjet paper for non sublimated prints?

    1. You can use a sublimation printer for dual role purpose, however this is the not recommended. It is best to use two separate printers. One for the Regular inkjet paper and one for sublimation paper. The reason we don’t recommend it is because the OEM inks and sublimation inks shouldn’t mix. Which means that whenever you switch the inks, you have to ensure that there are non of the previous inks in the lines. This often means that you will have to flush out all the previous inks to switch to the new ink. It is cheaper to buy yourself sublimation printer and a normal inkjet printer, than to switch the inks on the one inkjet printer. This applies more to the desktop Ricoh machines that have ink tubes.

  5. Edy

    I recently bought a ricoh sg3110dn I’ve made a mistake of installing the OEM inks… I have then installed the sublimation ink but when I heat the mug is becoming yellow that’s because of the wrong ink I know. I’ve tried Sawgrass powerdriver but no lucky. How can I flush off the OEM ink. Anyone can help?

    1. Hi Edy,

      You must call sawgrass. They normally will send you a prn file that you print until all the OEM inks in the lines are flushed out. Or they will tell you to do a set number of head flushes to get rid of the OEM Ink.

      When you loaded the OEM inks into the printer, it filled the lines with it. So it will take a significant number of prints/flushes to get rid of the OEM ink in the lines.

  6. Annie

    Hi I am having trouble with my sublimation prints, i have tried printing on mugs and the picture is faint and is lighter at the bottom than it is at the top. When i took the transfer paper off the cup the design still looked perfect way better than what actually got printed.

    1. Without a photo to see and based on your description, I would say that there isn’t enough heat. The lighter at the bottom is caused by insufficient pressure. If you need more help, please call us at 1-800-565-5686

  7. Sara

    Hi, Can I use the Sublimation ink and paper in my ordinary printer? And also can I transfer the image using iron on tin boxes?

  8. Not all inkjet [printers are compatible with sublimation inks. We also do not recommend hand iron with sublimation. We recommend to use only heat presses for sublimation. This is due to the consistent heat and pressure that a heat press can provide.

    1. Generally with sublimation you will need a specific printer to run sublimation inks to use sublimation for digital decoration. If you are using a printer that has pigment or dye based inks you can use our transfer papers. However transfer paper is a completely different technology than sublimation but you will be able to decorate shirts and mugs with transfer papers as well

  9. Pavan Chandak

    I have Epson L800 photo ink printer, can I change to sublimation ink for transfer pepper printing purpose & again we can change sublimation to normal photo print ink

    1. Only certain printers can be converted to sublimation printers. The printer needs to be a piezo head printer in order for it to be converted to a sublimation printer. In addition, you will need to find a third party supplier that has cartridges or chips that go with the printer. Also you will need to either make a color profile or find someone that has a color profile for the printer and sublimation ink combo. If you want to do sublimation, my advice is to buy a sublimation printer package. It comes with everything that you need to get started. Also it is highly recommended to buy from a vendor that provides excellent support so that if you run into any trouble, you can rely on them.

      Right now there are two leading sublimation printer combos out there.
      Epson SureColor F6070 or F7070
      Virtuoso SG400 or SG800

  10. Nicole

    I have the Ricoh SG 3110DN … I am using the correct paper and metal, and the image prints correctly onto my transfer paper. However, in the middle of a job, the blue ink on my transfers quick transferring. I hadn’t changed cartridges, comp files, or settings…I am using same paper and metal, but my blue isn’t transferring to the metal anymore. On transferred fine…the next messed up. I called customer service, ran checks/cleans, switched out cartridges, etc but nothing has helped…ink isn’t expired until 2016 and I’m using the correct kind of ink…any ideas what is going on or what would fix it?

    1. If you can call customer service and send them a photo of your final result. They will be able to help you once you send a photo of the final result. Thanks

      1. Nicole

        I called customer service and spent all day on the phone with them…they couldn’t figure it out.

  11. ali

    Hi,

    Last days, when I printed an image with red color, it was leaving stain blue color in the corners of the image, nozzle checked and i cleaned head but still same, do you have any idea what that is? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi, sorry to hear that you are having problems. I wouldn’t be able to say what it is until you send a picture. The best way to get support is to call us at 1-800-565-5686. Thanks.

  12. Hello,
    I have successfully sublimated an image to my mug using correct paper and ink,
    yet the colours are quite not right, the grey turns to a light magenta,
    and generally the the colors are not that strong.
    I have an epson l110.

    Please advise regarding this issue

    1. With sublimation, you will need a profile to correctly color match the inks with your printer. Your ink supplier should be able to send you a program to color match or send you the icc profile for your graphic design software

  13. teri

    when printing your sublimation image from the printer, what paper setting should be used? IE…..photo, glossy, matte, plain paper, etc…

    1. This actually depends on what color management you are using. Most sublimation users have a color management system for their sublimation inks. For instance if you are using sawgrass inks, then you will use their power driver and it will allow you to choose what substrate you are printing for. If you are using wide format sublimation printing, you should use the RIP settings that are recommended by your vendor. To summarize it is best to use the setting recommended by your vendor to best match the color profile that was sent to you.

  14. Dew

    Hi my images aren’t coming out anywhere near as bright as the design.
    They are more pastel. I have it on temp 310 for 4 mins could that need adjusting
    Thanks

  15. James hendrickson

    I find that putting the mug into lukewarm water will keep the color bright. This will cool the mug & stop the heating. (Put mug is slowly)

  16. When I print my design I get a full colour image, when I sublimate onto my mug after the allotted time, I peel away the paper and the image is just yellow. Any thoughts what this could be? I don’t know where to start with making corrections to process?

    1. It’s because the ink in the printer is not sublimation ink. Normal OEM (original Equipment manufacturer) ink leave a yellow/red dye when heated.

  17. jim

    Using a Ricoh sg3110dn and finding when I want to print any shade of pink comes out deep red. And in general colours are not matching those on screen. Have tried letting Photoshop handle colours but no difference. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. It depends on what brand of ink you are using. Sawgrass Ink has their own powerdriver for color management. Normally you would turn off color management in photoshop if using sawgrass ink and let the power driver do the color management. Also please remember to select the substrate in the driver before printing.

      If you are using mac and using sawgrass ink, you need to leave color management on but select the icc profile. A list of the instructions can be found on sawgrass’ website.

      1. jim

        Thank you for quick response. I am not using Sawgrass ink and just the Ricoh driver. What I cannot understand is print a photograph it prints OK, try and print some text written in photoshop (as well as other graphic programmes) and black prints brown and as said pink prints deep red and all colours do not print correctly. We need to print text on T.Shirts so is a real problem.

      2. Your sublimation ink manufacturer should provide an ICC profile for you. If they cannot provide you with one, you will need to make your own profile. This is one of the advantages of Sawgrass ink. They will provide you with the color management as well as ensure that the color in their inks are the same for every batch with acceptable tolerances.

        What you described is exactly what happens to users who don’t use an ICC profile. Photographs will mask the color inaccuracies better. Once you are doing solid colors you will notice the color inaccuracy much easier. Color inaccuracies occur more in black, greys, dark blues, reds, and all neutral colors.

    1. The Original Inks that come with the Epson 1800 will not work for sublimation as those inks are not designed for sublimation. However if you bought a Epson 1800 sublimation package that came with sublimation ink it would work.

  18. Shane nicholls

    My partner and i bought a complete sublimation kit (printer + heat station) we had to order the paper and ink seperate from this deal we set the printer up works fine set the heat press up that also works fine we tried to print to fabrick for my grandparents anniversary but wouldn’t transfere went to office quipt local office supplies store and bought the iron on transfer paper 40 bucks fo 10 sheets and worked fine bought another lot of sublimation paper thinking that was wrong but did the same we are now going to order another lot of ink incase they gave us normal printing ink by mistake this process is taking a long time to set up.. How can we tell if our ink is normal printing ink or sublimation ink????? Please help

    1. There are three things to consider for sublimation:
      1.) Need Sublimation Ink
      2.) Need Sublimation Paper
      3.) Fabric/substrate must be coated with polyester or made of polyester
      Usually with normal inks, it will not transfer to the fabric/substrate at all and will leave a yellow or magenta shadow on the substrate. If you are using the wrong paper, but the right sublimation ink, the sublimation inks will transfer to the shirt, however you will not have a complete transfer as normal paper would not release all the ink onto the substrate. If you are not using 100% polyester fabric or a substrate that is coated with polyester, usually nothing will transfer, you might get a very very faint image. Hope this helps.

  19. lisa

    can anyone tell me how to get a picture onto a log ? ive tried ink jet and sublimination with heat press its almost there just not quality ?

  20. L Mike

    Hey expert,
    I want to start this business and i want to begin with a mug heat press which i have already bought, my worry is the printer to use,
    I dont know if any of these printers will work. They are photo printers
    pixma ip100 and canon selphy cp910.

    can you shed for me some light on those or i can buy any cheaper printer as long as its inkjet?

    thank you

    1. Hi Mike,
      If you are planning to do mugs using sublimation, you will require mugs with a polyester coating. Regular mugs normally don’t have a polyester coating on it so I would recommend that you find a sublimation mug supplier. Regarding the printer used for sublimation. You cannot use any printer. You will need a printer that uses piezo head technology. Many desktop printers sold at your local office supply store are not suitable for sublimation. For sublimation to work, the special sublimation inks you buy will also have to be compatible with your printer. So what I suggest is that you buy a sublimation package that includes the printer, the sublimation inks, and the color profile required. We recommend the virtuoso SG400 or the SG800 sublimation package.

      Hope this helps

  21. Carly

    Hi, I’m having a problem with the inks coming out too dark onto the paper… therefore printing onto mugs too dark.. any ideas why this is happening?

  22. sewan

    im using sublimination paper and ink in ricoh printer but the images are very pale reds come out a pink colour etc when i heat transfer. what am i doing wrong please

    1. There maybe two issues with your setup. Depending on your image and your description of your problem, I think you should do a nozzle check to ensure that all your nozzles are firing. If the image is very pale red and reds are pink, it’s likely that your yellow is clogged Please check that the yellow is firing. If you still have the problem then it would be your color management.

  23. Fru

    Hi, I have a problem. When I print the photo on sublimate paper it come out that black is not really black (more gray-blue-dark) And when put on the mug is look like not very vivid color. I have an epson wf2510. Any suggestion?
    Thanx

    1. I would say it is your color management. If using sawgrass inks, please use the powerdriver or the macprofile that came with it. If you are using another sublimation ink, then please ask your vendor for the ICC profile that should come with the ink.

  24. andy

    what size do I need to b able to get three pictures on an a4 for mugs, also how do I do picture is there also a programme you need to get? many thanks

    1. Most sublimation users use CorelDraw or photoshop to print their images. These programs allow you to resize and mirror your images. Also if you are buying sawgrassinks, there is a new online program that is included in your sublimation packages. It is called creative studio.

  25. Duncan munhuweyi

    Hello I just wanted to ask the difference between a 4 colour and a 6 colour sublimation quality on a mug… and which one is best to start with a small mug printing business in terms of quality and please if possible help me with pictures of the two for comparison…

    Thank you!

    1. More color means more color accuracy, however more colors means that you have to stock more ink. It really depends on your business. More color will have more accuracy and is preferred for photography. Unfortunately I no longer have a six color printer in our office, so I can’t show you the difference.

  26. AntonvE

    I have been sublimating before with vivid colors and almost spot on with my fully calibrated system. Now after a year i started everything up again, using the same substrates, printer and new ink. I print a yellow to reddish woodgrain and on the paper it seems okay, but after sublimating it is blue-ish instead of red. Anyone know why this happens? On some reason it’s only with this grain others i had no problems with. The image is made in photoshop on rgb workspace, like all my other images and than i print from Adobe lightroom also with same settings like everything. All other photo’s come out great, but this woodgrain that does not have any blue in it turns out blue.

    1. If you do see some sort of pattern like for instance there is more blue hue to every image you print, then I would look at your color management and nozzle checks. But if it’s only doing that for the one image, and your setting seemed to be dial perfectly for the rest of your images, you might be better offer just to manipulate the color in Photoshop for that specific image.

      1. It seems to be just this image. The strange part is that the image has no blue in it but it does have some grey and ive put a white transparency over the image. On top are dark red letters which come out the printer like they should or atleast i am used to. Just when i transfer it to unisub coaster the result is blue and the red seems to stay put on the transfer paper. And the complete red letters come out like a dark brown/light balck. I tried pressing a little longer but than i get some fading in the image.

  27. Naomi Worrell

    Hello there,

    I was wondering if you could help me, I have just bought the heat press mug machine, I have the white mugs the dye sublimation transfer paper, but on trying to print, it just wont transfer it kind off slightly leaves a yellow like burnt tinge to the paper… I have watched loads of tutorials made sure I followed all instructions correctly… I just have no Idea… could it be the ink or my printer… its a prixma canon MG2450 or have I got the wrong paper… I’m at a loss. If you could give me any ideas I will be very relieved.

    Naomi

    1. For sublimation to work, you need the following. Sublimation Inks, Sublimation printer, substrate with polyester coating and sublimation paper. If any of these are missing the process will not work.

      Without seeing the photos of the result, it is very hard to diagnose what is wrong with it. I would suggest you call the manufacturer to troubleshoot your problem.

  28. Greyt

    My finished mugs got some tiny black spots. When I first tried using my 3d sublimation machine, I set the timer to 8 mins, 200 deg C with just one mug inside. The picture on the mug did not transfer properly. The second attempt was with 4 mugs inside, 200 deg C for 14 mins. It came out alright but I noticed some black tiny spots around the white area. Any suggestion how to fix this glitch? Thank you in advance.

    1. Susan Mckinney

      when I was using an old C88 printer, when the nozzles got partially clogged it would spit black dots. almost invisible to the eye on the paper if you don’t look close, but when sublimated it really showed up.

    1. Yes, if you can find a transparent phone case that has the polyester coating applied.

      We supply transparent phone cases with metal insert. The metal insert is white for sublimation printing.

  29. Stela

    Hello, I’ve read the article and some of the comments and I was wondering if you can help me with my problem. Sometimes when I make color changing mugs the black colour became brown / like copper/. I’ve tried to change the temperature and color from the program but on some mugs it still come out brown.

    1. I haven’t sublimated to color changing mugs before, however with sublimation to normal mugs, when black turns brown, it is usually caused by having too much heat applied to the mug. What I would suggest is to lower the time you are cooking your mugs.

      Brown could also be not enough heat.

  30. clare

    Hello. Can someone please help me. I have with sublimation for some time and I am now setting up myself. I’ve got an Epson 1500w printer which is what I use at work etc….. the images are coming out with a yellow/green tinge. I have cleaned the heads used both sides of the paper and is still coming out tinged…… xx

    1. After cleaning the heads, i would do a nozzle check to make sure that the heads are not clogged still. If the nozzle check is good, then I would check your color management. Do you have an icc profile installed in your graphics program? The vendor you bought the inks from should have given you an icc profile or color management software

      Sublimation ink usually does not match the color profile that came with your original printer driver

    1. Depends on your mug and mug press. The vendor you bought your mugs can give you a starting point. Also check your mug press instructions. Different models of mug presses will require different temperatures and time. If you are using a convection oven, it will take longer than a mug press.

  31. David

    Hi, I have been using sublimation for a few years with no problems until now. Images when transferred are off colour, yellow and dark. Have done all nozzle & head checks and looks fine. I use the powerdriver to print. Have changed inks recently and doubled checked that they are correct. Noticed that two new ones I put in has expired by three months. Do you think that this could be the problem?

    1. Yes it could be due to expired inks. One of the reason why manufacturer’s put expiry dates on inks is because once it passes the expiry date, there is a much higher chance that the colors will not stay consistent.

      Depends on how much you have printed since the inks where installed. Normally it takes a bit of time for the printer to use the inks in the lines before getting to the new inks that are installed.

  32. Hazel Evangelista

    Hi. I have a sublimation paper (yellow), can I use my EPson L1300 printer with pigment ink. I will use this to my Katsa Canvas bag. Will the result be okay.

    1. No, sublimation paper only works with sublimation inks. The key to sublimation is in the sublimation ink.

      However you can use heat transfer paper with pigment ink. We have tested our inkjet heat transfer paper with canvas bags and have had good results.

  33. Sunny

    Hi, I am confused between 3 printers for sublimation…
    Epson L805 vs Ricoh 3110 DN vs Sawgrass SG 400. Can you please help me in choosing one? Thanks in advance.

    1. I’ve only had experience with the Ricoh 3110 and the SG400. I haven’t used the Epson L805. The SG400 is an upgraded model from the Ricoh 3110. I would use the SG400 over the Ricoh 3110.

      1. Sunny

        Thank You for the reply… Is there any difference in Print Quality?, bcoz the refill gel/cartridge ink for SG400 is three time more here in India.

      2. In North America, the Ricoh 3110 has been discontinued. So getting a replacement printer would be a bit difficult. One of the reasons we ask customers to get the latest model is because there are plenty of replacement parts/printers available. And also eventually a customer will have to switch to the new model which requires new set of inks. So we advise them to buy the newest model to avoid all the hassle that comes with buying a discontinued printer.

  34. Marleen

    Hi. After i put the mug in the mug press after the time when i pull it out. The image is not vivid. And not printing will

    1. This could be caused by a number of factors. The temperature may not be high enough, the time not enough, your color management is in correct, or you have printed on the wrong side of the sublimation paper. You will need to describe your situation more to be able to pin down what could be causing this.

  35. Brooke

    Can someone help. Using my new heat press, sublimation ink.and sublimation paper with temp of 200 degrees and 330 seconds. Some mugs are coming out perfect whilst others are “bleeding” with the ink seeping/rising above the printed text while the mug is still hot. I have found that placing the mug upside down and turning every 30seconds until cool helps control this but It’s not completely solving the issue. If anyone has experienced this or can help if really appreciate it. Thanks.

    1. There are three reasons for why you are getting this:
      1.) You are pressing the mug for too long
      2.) You need to dunk the mug in warm water immediately after pressing to stop the sublimation process
      3.) You have moisture in your sublimation paper. Use a new pack of paper or dry the paper in the heat press before printing in your printer.

    1. It’s hard to say without seeing a photo. Dirt may cause tiny dark spots. I would suggest, you wipe the tile before printing and see if this occurs again.

      1. If the dark spots don’t show up when you printed onto the paper and only shows up after heat transfer, then I would say it is dirt on the tile. You may or not be able to avoid the dark marks by cleaning the tiles before sublimating. Other than that I would use new tiles.

  36. Kostas

    Hello,I’m new into sublimation,I’ve bought epson l130 printer with piezo electric heads,sublimation inks and paper.my question is this: after the heat process (200 celsius for 180 sec),i tried to wash/test the mugs with the hard part of the sponge and after a few times I see scratches not only upon the design but all over the mug,is it something I’m doing wrong with anything or is the mug quality (2 different mug suppliers). thanks in advance

    1. If you are able to scratch the mug where there is no ink and while the mug is cold. It is most likely the quality of the mug coating being too thin or being of poor quality. Polyester coated mugs are quite scratch resistant when they are cold.

  37. Rene

    Hi when printing I am getting no print image at all the paper is just printing out blank but going through the motions like its printing thanks

    1. Have you done a nozzle check to see if the head is firing off any ink?

      If the nozzle check doesn’t print anything or there are missing patterns, that is probably the problem.

    1. If you see the problem when printed on the paper before transferring to the mug, it would be because the nozzle head is partially clogged and requires a head cleaning or it could be your color management. If the print is fine on the paper but an orange red tint is showing up on the mug, then it may be that you are using too much heat. Try to reduce the time the mug is cooked. Overcooked sublimation inks will show a reddish orange shade especially on areas with blacks and greys.

  38. Mehdi

    hello and thanks for the this blog.

    i just bought a ricoh 3110 with sublimation ink sublijet R and a 3d sublimation heatpress.
    the problem we had is that when we print the ink wont dry on the sublimation paper, it wont stick on it and when we touch it or put it on the mug, the result is always a bleeding text or logo.
    please i need your response we tested like 20 mugs ( we changed the mug, the heat press, we tryed to dry the sublimation paper, the result is always the same . can you please help me.

    thank you,

    1. Try a new pack of sublimation paper. Also ensure in your color management settings you have selected the right type of paper. It could be either moisture on the paper or the profile that was selected was incorrect (the profile you use should match the paper and the substrate you are printing on).

  39. sek

    Hi iam facing problem in the roll heat transfer press, We are using polyester lycra fabric, when the fabric alone is feeded into the machine , the fabric runs in same position. when the printed sublimation paper is feeded along with the fabric , the fabric and paper goes off of the belt after 10 or 15 metres .pl advise

  40. Phil Scott

    Hi, is it a certain type of printer you need to print the images correctly or will any printer do ? is it just a certain type of ink you need to install into your regular printer ?
    thanks

    1. Yes it has to be a certain type of ink for sublimation to work. Regarding the printer, it has to be a piezo head printer. Not all desktop printers use the piezo head technology. If you plan to get into sublimation, I would recommend getting a sublimation system that includes the compatible printer and ink along with the color management software.

      1. Phil Scott

        ah thanks, can you reccomend best place for printer and ink, also whats the best computer prgram to use for printing images/designs ect ?

      2. We recommend using Sawgrass or Epson. If you are looking for a desktop sublimation printer, Sawgrass is the best place to go because their inks are always consistent and they provide color management software. If you are looking for a wide format sublimation printer, then I would go with the Epson Surecolor F6200 or the F7200. Again consistent ink and very good color management software that comes with it. Ink cost is much cheaper for wide format sublimation printers, however the initial investment is quite big.

        You can go to both of their company websites and search for a local distributor near you.

  41. Mondella Benton

    Is Ricoh ink with the number GC21C, 21K, etc. sublimation ink? I am using a Ricoh GX7000 printer for sublimation.

    1. sorry I can’t comment on this as the numbers may not be the same in the next batch. If you are buying sawgrass sublimation ink, it usually has the sawgrass logo or the sublijet logo on the cartridge if that helps.

  42. kim

    hi hoping you can help I have had no look else where I have been having trouble with my prints I’m using all sublimation ink blanks ect I print using ricoh sg2100n and majority of my prints have all got a orange tinge to them its like there is just tooo much saturation in the pictures but all of my images do this I have tried adjusting time temp every thing pictures fine except this high saturation stuff its drving me mad please help

    1. If there is a orange tinge in your photos, it could possibly be that all your print heads aren’t firing. Try a nozzle check and make sure all the color patterns are printing. If they are not, then do a heat clean.

  43. terry walker

    in need of help. for some reason all of our sublimation designs are having a red bleed around the text and image. what can be done??

    1. I can’t really tell without seeing the image. If the image has a red bleed after heat pressing to a substrate, it is a sign of too much heat being applied. Normally bleeding on the edge of lettering and the edge of an image can usually be solved by doing one of the following:

      1.) Lower the press time. We have found that sublimation times need to be adjusted slightly when the seasons change depending on your location.
      2.) Try to cool the substrate quicker (doesn’t work for all substrates, more for ceramic). For example if you do not cool a ceramic mug immediately after pressing, the sublimation process continues until the mug is cooled and thus this will sometimes result in colors bleeding on the edge.

      1. dee

        Hi there ! I would like some assistance of possible .im trying to print on crystal . First time I printed , it was perfect . Now that im trying again the text looks faded . Im printing one piano top 190° for 270 seconds . Any idea on what im doing wrong ? Thanks kindly !

      2. If it looks faded, you could be printing on the wrong side of the sublimation paper. Or the pressure isn’t enough. There are other causes, but based on your description, the two I have mentioned are probably the most likely causes.

  44. Ellie Leaman

    Hello I’ve recently bought a richo 3110DN but it wont print black, it comes out grainy and greyish. I’ve done nozzle checks, head cleaning and flushing but its still not working any suggestions? Thank you.

  45. Dee

    Thanks for that . I was printing on the wrong side of the paper . It has helped a bit but the text is still not 100% black and bold. It looks slightly faded still and a bit patchy . I have made sure that it is taped firmly . Any other ideas as to what I could adjust . Thanks so much for you time !!!

    1. I would say try more time. It looks like it isn’t getting enough heat if all the blacks in the image are faded. If there is a specific spot that the blacks don’t transfer, that is more likely to be a pressure problem or there is cold spots on the heat platen.

  46. ash

    Just got myself a Ricoh SG3110 DW started it up and at first it the prints where coming out a bit faded. The black was more brown. No matter if I changed the temp or time this didn’t changed.

    Now all the prints coming out of the printer are really faded and grainy

    Any help?

    1. If the black is brown when transferred to the substrate, it means you are applying to much heat. Try to turn down the time. Blacks will turn brown when too much heat is applied.

      Regarding your prints being faded and grainy, I would say you are printing on the wrong side of the paper. For the Ricoh SG3110DW, you load the paper into the paper tray with the printable side face down.

  47. Rerum Arts & Design

    Hello!
    I was trying to print something on a ceramic tile. I am sure I was using the right side and kind of paper, right ink right temperature and right ceramic tile because it worked with the previous ones, I just didnt like the color. Blue always turns out to be violet. So what I did was change the Color profile in adobe photoshop (i just saw it somewhere on the internet) and when i printed and heat press, it wont transfer. Can changing the color profile affect the heat press transfer? Thank you!

  48. pravin

    Hallo!
    I was trying to print on mug, i am sure i was using the right side and kind of paper, right ink right temperature and right mug but dose not sublimate anything on mug. pls help me 😦

    1. hi,

      If nothing is printing onto the mug. The most likely cause is the mug does not have a polyester coating.

      Even with the wrong ink and paper, something will sublimate.

  49. Coco P.

    Hello, I want to use the laser print method.
    Do I still have to buy white sublimation mug?
    Can I take a clear glass mug and give it an etch bath?
    Can I use a plain clear glass mug?
    Thank you.

    1. If you want to use the laser print method, you would have to use mugs that are coated but doesn’t necessarily need to be coated for sublimation. We’ve successfully tested a lot of items with our laser hard surface paper, however due to the large variety of imprintable hard surface items out there, I would recommend you do a test first to make sure your item works.

      1. Rosa

        I inherited a Yescomusa 5 in 1. No manual. I am so discouraged. Haven’t seen black. Just brown. Maybe someone has a manual they can look up the temperature for me. I can’t find anything on the Internet.

      2. If it is brown, it may be applying too much heat. If there is no manual and no one knows about the press, you would have to do testing on your own. I would do 360F. Then just try different times. Eg. 50 second, 100 seconds, than 150 seconds, etc. You change your time depending on your result from the last press.

  50. alicia

    Hi, hoping someone can help me, i printed images out using a ricoh sg2100n printer using sublimation ink and paper but when i’m transferring it onto my t-shirts it is really faded and i can barely see the image on it. What am i doing wrong? i read some where maybe i’m printing on the wrong side of the paper or the pressure is wrong on my pixmax heat press.
    Any ideas guys?
    cheers

    1. It could be a number of factors. Faded image could be the result of the following:
      1.) Not all nozzles are firing. Do a nozzle check to see if this is the case
      2.) Wrong paper or wrong side of paper.
      3.) Not enough heat. Try more heat. Add some more time to the press time to see if this changes anything
      4.) Color management. If you are not using a color profile or color management software will cause some images to be faded. How much fade is ink dependent.
      5.) For sublimation inks to work, you need to be transferring to a substrate that is made of polyester or coated with polyester. Transferring to 100% cotton will not work. Check the shirt tags to ensure it is 100% polyester

      I am sorry I can’t be more specific as you gave me very limited information. A photo of the result would help a lot. I suggest you call the vendor you bought the inks from and send them the picture so they can diagnose it for you.

  51. Neil Kearney

    Hi, please help someone. I’ve been printing mugs for 6 months at work and net has a problem. I decided to invest in a mug press and Ricoh printer myself for home. I’m using correct inks and time and pressure, but when I print a picture or text on the mugs at home I’m getting what looks like smudges of ink on the remaining white parts of the mugs. This has never been a issue at work. I have tried lowering and reasing pressure and time but still had no luck

      1. Neil Kearney

        Hi thanks for the reply. Since posting this question, I have managed to work out that the sublimation paper I got free with the printer was nothing but a load of rubbish. I’ve used some of the more expensive paper and it’s worked perfect 🙂

  52. Uuganbayar Baasanjaw

    Hi, i’m completely new to this. I’m having problem with getting images transfered on phone cases(glossy). 190C, 6 minutes as thr vendor suggested. Used sublimation ink, sublimation paper i bought from the vendor as well. But I’m getting nothing on the cases at all, could be wrong side of the paper but at least there should be a bad image right?

    1. If you are getting nothing after pressing for 6 minutes. I would say it’s more likely that the phone cases are not meant for sublimation. Even if your inks or paper are not for sublimation, you would likely still see either a faded image (wrong paper) or some yellow being transferred (wrong ink). Hope this helps

      1. Neil

        Might sound silly but have you pulled the plastic cellophane off the phone case ?
        Sometimes it looks like there isn’t any on there but get a scalpel blade and scrape the corner and it will come away.

      2. I’ve done that so many times. However the sublimation ink would normally go right through the plastic and you would still get some sort of image.

  53. uuganbayar baasanjaw

    Could this be the printer? I refilled the sublimation ink to the printer which is Epson L350. I was doing test for the sublimation machine. Heated up to 190C and vacuumed 6 minutes and nothing appeared on the case. Case is supposed to be the sublimation case.

    1. It could be the printer. But it’s highly unlikely. A very common mistake desktop sublimation users make is putting in the wrong ink. However even if you have loaded the Original Manufacturer’s Ink (OEM), you will still get a little bit of yellow or red on the substrate. This is because most desktop printer inks have a bit of yellow sublimation dye in them. So when heat is applied that yellow dye will show on the substrate.

      You mentioned it was a vacuum sublimation machine… Could that machine not be at temperature? Is there a way to measure the temperature of the machine with a external device instead of using the digital screen it has?

  54. Uuganbayar

    Hi, thank you for your reply.
    I asked the vendors and showed them operation video. They provided me another video and it turns out I was doing it wrong. I managed to get some image on the case but no where near perfect but that’s a start. Now I’m confident if I use Epson L800 with the OEM ink and sub paper, I can get the right image.

    1. Sorry it is not oem ink. I just want to make sure that everyone using desktop sublimation isn’t using oem ink. Most desktop sublimation systems are using third party sublimation inks. Most of the time users will discard the OEM ink that comes with the printer and install a third party sublimation into the printer. Exception being the sawgrass virtuoso printers which have only sublimation ink in the box. I am glad you solved your problem.

  55. Viral Shah

    Hey, I use sublimation ink, epson printer L805 for 3D sublimation covers. I dont get the right colors on my cover. White turns to light yellowish, light blue turns to light greenish and not the rich black color too. Please help me out.

  56. Kimberly

    There is a shiny side and a dull side to the sublimation paper, which side do I print on? The instructions state the coated side…which one is the coated side, shiny or dull? Also, I tried printing on the dull side, cut the image out and heat pressed it to a garment, there was a clear film in the areas that were not part of the printed image that pressed on to the shirt…is that normal? beginner here….sorry.

    1. There are many different brands of sublimation paper. It’s usually the shiny side or the brighter white side. Some sublimation papers are coated both sides so that you cannot print on the wrong side but they are normally more expensive than the one side ones.

      If you are getting a clear film, i would check with your vendor to see if they sent you the right paper. I know that light transfer paper will leave a polymer background and this is exactly what you are describing.

  57. Hanna

    hi, i never use my ink for awhile or months but it is unplugged from the power and from my computer. I put it inside the box, now when i tried to plug it, it wont power on what is the problem and how can is fix it? huhu coz i need to print 6 mug design for tomorrow’s deadline for my guest souvenir…please i need asap help..thanks.

    1. Sorry, there is no fix to your problem. Like any inkjet printer, if you have not used it for months, it’s likely that the heads are clogged. You can either pay to have the heads replaced or buy a new system. Putting it inside the box does not prevent clogging.

  58. Debra LeV

    I have a brand new Epson 1430 printer with brand new ink, using sublimation paper, printing on the correct side and pictures are coming out blotchy/blurry. Any ideas? I can send a pic, if you can send me an address.

    1. It could be many things causing the bluriness. First, I would check the quality of your image. Is it 300dpi?
      Second I would check how much heat you are applying. Normally if you are applying to much heat, it would become blurry. Check the black areas, if you see brown, then you are probably applying to much heat.
      If the first two solutions aren’t the problem, than I would do a head alignment and a feed adjustment and hopefully that would fix it for you.

  59. I am not sure if anyone still checks this post but I have a problem. I was doing mugs for awhile and they were perfect. But now when I press them they have a faint blue box where the paper is behind the image. It just started a few days ago and I am so upset because I have orders to get out but the box is noticeable. I am using the same mugs and the same paper I have always used. I hope someone can help me 😦

    1. Check your file. Maybe there is some blue in the white areas that you are not seeing on the screen? I’ve made that mistake before when I took an image from a customer and printed it not realizing that the white areas had some color in it.
      Secondly I would check your color management, make sure all the setting are correct.

  60. innaboxdesign

    Hello,

    My mugs print fine and the images are perfect except one small problem. The ink at the top of the mug sometimes runs. This is before washing and just after pressing. I have no idea why! Help would be appreciated!

    1. I’ve had this problem before. You need to dip the mug in warm water to cool it off immediately to avoid the problem.

      Explanation: The ink at the top of the mug is running because the ink is still sublimating while it is being naturally cooled. You want the inks to stop sublimating immediately after you take it out of the press, otherwise the ink will sometimes move to areas where you don’t want it, such as the top of the mug.

      You don’t want to dip it in cold water as that may cause the mug to crack if you have very tiny pin holes in the mug as cold water would get in and expand quickly, while warm water would expand much less but would still cool the mug to a level where the inks will stop sublimating. You only do this with ceramic mugs, don’t do this with glass, plastic, or metal.

      Ceramic absorbs an incredible amount of heat and thus it takes quite a while for the ceramic mug to cool on it’s own, while something like metal will cool very quickly on its own.

  61. Ryan Aloisio

    Hello, Im not having problems printing. Im having trouble with ink going on to the product. I know im printing on the right side of the paper. I know that I have the right temperature. Im putting a picture onto a white shirt. The problem that im having is, a very faded picture. Ive never had this issue. The paper that I remove from the shirt still has 99 percent of the ink on the paper. Normally, there is very little ink left. Any help is appreciated.

  62. faidh

    Hye. i already doing mug printed for a gift. Little business just for a cup of coffee 🙂 hehe. But, may i know, can i switch to heat the mug using oven instead of using heatpress machines? Someone please help me. just want to know, if yes, how long the time should be.

    1. Yes you can switch from a mug press machine to an oven. However, if you switch to an oven, please make sure you use a convection oven. You do not want to use a normal oven. The difference is that a convection oven heats all areas more evenly, while a normal oven does not heat all areas evenly.

  63. Julius Alisin

    Hi im in new in sublimation printing. i having problem in my outcome… mostly if i make a mug all picture of the skin is like reddish or brown. any one can help me with this. i try to lowering the temp and the pressure of the mug press but i getting the same result…

    1. Have you already done a nozzle check to make sure all nozzle are firing?
      Are you using any color management software?

      Do you see the color shift on the paper before it is heat pressed onto the substrate?

      1. Julius Alisin

        Print quality on the paper is perfectly fine.. maybe the temp and time i having a doubt..

  64. ruby cresencio

    Hello. Can somebody suggest a good brand of sublimation paper for umbrella printing? A paper that can identify the printable side. thanks a ton.

  65. wendy

    I have been printing on a Ricoh 3110DN for 3 years. No issues with color, ink, paper, heat transfer. All of a sudden, one day prints and sublimated beautifully, the next day, I can get anything right. I checked settings, and printing on the correct side. Here’s the thing, I have been using the same images files for 3 years, now my blues are transferring red, or purple, everything looks pink. It prints correctly, clear, crisp, colors are the same way as before this issue. There is nothing visibly wrong with the transfer.

    I have flushed the heads, cleaned the heads, new paper (printing on the correct side) replaced ink, tried different temps on heat press, different pressures, and different times, basically all the same result. This is happening on everything, mousepads, metal plates, plastics.

    I used an old transfer from a month ago, and transferred perfectly. So heat press and temps fine. I had an extra heat transfer from last week before the sublimation issue, and it is fine. I am really at a loss. Nothing printed this week is transferring correctly.

    What am I missing, one day it works great, and the next morning, sublimation issues by the ton?

    1. If the print on the sublimation paper is fine, then, it may not be the color management. If you say, everything looks pink, try to print something that is red or pink. If that is transferring fine, then I would say it is the ink. Either, the cyan is not a sublimation ink, or in the rare case, it could be the cyan ink is expired, not the correct color, or defective.

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