There’s lots of talk these days about converting inkjet printers to sublimation printers. It’s cheaper and lowers the cost of entry point for getting into decorating products with sublimation. But what are the pros and cons? Why do the folks at Heat Press Nation only recommend Sawgrass printers when there are other options out there?
Here at Heatpressnation.com we have carefully considered all the available options for sublimation. “What do we recommend for sublimation?” Every time we revisit this question, we arrive at the same conclusion: we wholeheartedly recommend Sawgrass sublimation printers and inks for anyone interested in sublimation printing. There are many reasons, but since we’re into lists, we present our Top 5 Reasons To Choose Sawgrass:
1) Warranty, Support, Design
Most major printer manufacturers (Epson/HP/Canon/etc.) do not make sublimation printers. They make regular inkjet printers that some users load with 3rd-party sublimation inks. Should you encounter any issues printing properly, it’s very likely your printer’s manufacturer will not be able to provide tech support. Also, if these inks cause any malfunction in your printer, those issues would not be covered by the printer’s warranty.
Sawgrass produces both their printers AND inks specifically for sublimation. So should you have any issues with your printer, you’ll have both warranty and technical support provided by the leader in desktop sublimation! It’s also great to know you have a machine that was actually designed for sublimation printing, rather than hacked for sublimation printing.
2) Processing Print Jobs
Using 3rd-party sublimation inks with a regular inkjet printer requires downloading and installing print profiles, then testing and adjusting your settings until your sublimated colors match your original design. This is not an issue for experienced users, but definitely adds to the learning curve for those who are new to sublimation.
Sawgrass’s Virtuoso Print Manager is an easy-to-use print management software that not only gets you the truest, most vibrant colors on every transfer, but will also have your printer’s output optimized specifically for the paper and substrate being used. Additional features like image nesting, hot folders, customizable presets and more make this a powerful RIP-like software. Did we mention this comes FREE with your Sawgrass Virtuoso Sublimation Printer?
ALL sublimation printers require that you print every 1 to 3 days to keep the nozzles on the print head from drying/clogging. On converted inkjet printers, this has to be done manually, which is not a problem if you have a lot of business and are printing constantly. If you’re not printing daily, or if you travel for several days at a time, this may present an issue.
Sawgrass Virtuoso Printers have an automatic self-maintenance feature that processes a tiny amount of ink through the printer as necessary. This means your Sawgrass printer is always ready for your next job. It also eliminates the downtime (and wasted ink) of having to perform head cleaning after head cleaning after leaving your printer alone for a few days. You can literally “set it and forget it” until your next print.
4) Design Software, Sourcing Quality Licensed Graphics
“Where do I get free designs that I can use for products I’m selling?”, “What program should I use to make my designs?” - These are very common and legitimate questions for folks who are just getting started with sublimation. Experienced users are likely using Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw, or a combination of those programs. Also, finding nice, free, commercial-use graphic elements can sometimes be harder than finding a needle in a haystack!
Sawgrass Virtuoso users have FREE access to CreativeStudio, Sawgrass’s web-based design program. This program is very user-friendly and comes loaded with thousands of FREE graphics that are licensed for both personal and commercial use. Not only that, but there are templates available for many of your favorite and most popular substrates. (Want access to thousands more unique, on-trend graphics and artwork from top designers around the world? Upgrade to CreativePass+ for the absolute latest and greatest artwork for all of your projects
5) Worth The Investment
Most people are sold on the low cost of 3rd-party sublimation ink. But without a print optimization software like Virtuoso Print Manager, the printers are using way more ink per print than a Sawgrass Virtuoso printer. Because Sawgrass VPM optimizes the printer's output, you get the most possible prints out of your ink cartridges. This means that the cost per print on an inkjet conversion printer is usually within a few cents of a true sublimation printer. On a sublimation mug that you sell for $14, a 10-cent savings on ink (which is an extremely generous estimate), only represents 0.7% of the total sale price. So for less than 1% of your sale price, you can upgrade to the best of the best in sublimation products. That’s an investment worth making in our book.
In conclusion, we agree that Sawgrass is the only option for sublimation printing. However, after much research and testing, it is clear to us that Sawgrass the best option for sublimation. This is especially true for those who are new to sublimation printing and decoration, and/or those who are doing this as a side business and may not have lots of spare time and energy to figure out an inkjet conversion.
If you have any questions about sublimation or would like to talk to a sublimation pro to see if a Sawgrass Sublimation Printing System is right for you, please feel free to give us a call at (800)215-0894. One of our friendly sales representatives will be happy to help you out. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.