View Full Version : Sublimation defect

Uma Duffy
09-08-2007, 11:24 AM
We have just started sublimating plates for plaques along with other items and we seem to have the same problem cropping up repeatedly. Maybe someone can offer advice. Whenever we sublimate metal, we have a mottled effect across the entire plate. It looks like we spilled something on it and it dried all blotchy. This is on the bare area of the plate, not on the actual sublimated area. At first I thought we were heating residual adhesive from the protective coating on the metal. But I'm not so sure. It looks like we should be able to shine things up but no amount of rubbing or scrubbing with cleaners seems to help. Clearly, we're doing something wrong. Is it too much heat, too long under the press? We use Artainium Ink, GK16x20 swing away, Epson 1800. We know the metal is for sublimation. We welcome any suggestions for getting a bright, shiny, clean finish on metals. I tried to get a pix of the rejected pieces but the defect just doesn't show up clearly in photos. ( the photos actually look great!).

Stephen Beckham
09-08-2007, 8:53 PM

What kind of metal are you applying it to? I can not get white to work with anything - I always get the splotches (Webster just rolled over) when I work with the white. Even the new Dynasub seems to have the problem. I figure it's me - but when it doesn't do it on the silver or the gold dynasub - I have to wonder...:confused:

Uma Duffy
09-10-2007, 12:03 PM
I have the same problem on both the white and gold sublimation metals. I have tried a variety of sources...which leads to believe the fault is with my technique ( or lack thereof). On the white, which was completely covered by the sublimation design, I could see the splotchiness :eek:all over. Not the smooth shiny finish I'd hoped for. But on the gold, I could see the blotche not so much on the text as on the bare metal. I gotta get this figured out if we're going to offer sublimation as a choice or alternative to engraving.

Mike Null
09-10-2007, 12:44 PM

I am far from expert on this topic but you might try lowering the pressure to "light" and experimenting with a shorter press time. Are you removing the plastic covering from the metal?

Be sure your paper is free of humidity--dry it under the press for a few seconds.

It is strange but I always got great results on mugs and fabrics and frp but metals were strictly hit or miss.

Stephen Beckham
09-11-2007, 6:46 AM
Uma - here's another shot in the dark... I've known that my little heat press has been acting up, but I got a confirmation yesterday. Our local middle school does sublimation for a money maker (for special education) and to teach the kids something fun to do.

Their printer jammed up so they came to me to fix/finish 30 plaques by this morning (Tuesday). I'm backlogged and couldn't do it overnight so I offered to just print the pages out for them for cheep and let them do the pressing.

My heat press did a horrible job on a test run. I gave her the second half of the sheet and suggested she try it at her office. She did and it turned out great. Same sheet of paper - same print out - different press....

One other note - I have to blow through the plastic with my laser toner. When I'm up and running with the inkjet - I'll peel the plastic away first.

Uma Duffy
09-15-2007, 10:47 AM
Thanks everyone.... I think there may be something to the pressure issue. I still don't feel confident that I'm setting the correct amount of pressure when I switch from a thin metal to a thicker plaque board. I need to develop a feel for it and right now at least ,I think I've been inconsistent with pressure. Moisture may be an issue, too. You can see the ocean from our shop and it's always humid on the coast. We know to remove the plastic protective cover... and to give the bare piece a moment or two under the press before sublimating. I know I'd benefit from a class/workshop on technique. If anyone hears of one in New England, be sure and post it!