How does a sublimation-printer work

How Does a Sublimation Printer Work

Sublimation printers are a type of wide-format printer that is used for printing on materials such as plastic and vinyl. It works by using heat to transfer ink onto the material. Which then becomes dyed in the process. The dye won’t come off and will also be resistant to scratching or fading. Because it’s part of the material itself. What is the process like? How Does a Sublimation Printer Work?

How do you get started with designing your custom shirts and other apparel? This blog will discuss how these printers work and what they’re capable of doing.

How Does a Sublimation Printer Work

A Sublimation Printer Works heats your choice of color ink that is often made of wax. The heat then turns the ink into steam. Which can be used to transfer onto different media like fabric or paper. It does not use a ribbon to print characters and graphics, unlike a laser printer.

Sublimation print works based on sublimation which is the process of transforming solid powder into a gas without passing through the liquid stage. The ink used in sublimation printing is dye-based. It is used in powder form. 

The ink absorbs into the fibers of the paper and does not fade easily due to the heat and pressure applied during the printing process. As a result, your photographs can last for many years. Sublimation printers use three main parts which are the printhead, heating element, and fuser roller.

The printhead has a cartridge that holds the ink which is then heated up and pushed onto the media to produce a print. The heating element mainly consists of ceramic plates as it needs to be resistant to high temperatures. The fuser roller also uses heat along with pressure to fuse or adhere all three colors together.

To make your prints last longer, you need to take special care of the print media. To make your photographs look beautiful and professional, contact a reliable sublimation printer supplier who can assist you on how does a sublimation printer work.

What are the Parts of a Sublimation Printer?

Sublimation Printer Works are also called dye sublimation printers and they print images on different surfaces by using heat and pressure mechanisms. The special feature of this device is that it uses thermal dye technology that delivers high durability and vibrant color prints on different surfaces. Thermal dye sublimation involves the transfer of heat-sensitive dyes from a ribbon to paper.

The main parts of a sublimation printer are listed below:

  • Feed Assembly – The feed assembly holds the media in place while printing is being executed.
  • Media Carriage – The media carriage holds the heat-sensitive thermal print media. The carriage is moved horizontally by a belt that passes through a pulley inside the printer chassis.
  • Ink Supply Assembly – It consists of a cartridge and two bars, which supply ink to the print head.
  • Control Panel – This panel provides buttons to select different options in the printer. It also displays error messages, cleaning instructions, etc.
  • Print Subsystem – The actual printing process involves moving of print head back and forth across the media while applying pressure and heat for color development.
  • Platform – This is one of the most important parts of a sublimation printer, which holds the media in place.
  • Fuser Assembly – This assembly applies heat to permanently fuse the dye on print media. The fuser assembly consists of a pressure roller, a heating element, and a cooling fan.
  • Input Tray – The input tray stores media until it is picked up by the feed assembly of the printer. Sublimation Printer Parts.

Different Types of Sublimation Printers How Do They Work

Are you looking for a way to expand your business? If yes, then a sublimation printer can be an ideal investment. These devices use special inks to transfer images on different surfaces like t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, tiles, and many more.

Sublimation printer work differently than regular conventional printers that use inkjet or laser technology for printing images. They can be used to print single-color as well as full-color prints based on your requirements. However, before you take a plunge and purchase these devices for commercial purposes, it is essential to understand the working of a sublimation printer.

There are many different kinds of sublimation printers on the market. They range from small to big, desktop to floor-standing configuration, and are also available for home use or business. There are five types of sublimation printers available commercially, let’s discuss who are they and How does a sublimation printer work

Direct thermal – 

This type of printer uses a transfer ribbon which is applied as a solid cake of wax ink on the surface to be printed. This type of ink melts when it is heated. This heat comes from a direct thermal print head. When the printer applies the transfer ribbon onto the fabric, it releases the absorbed color particles. It has two major advantages, one is the lower cost per print. It also supports both dye and pigment inks.

Thermal wax – 

In this case, the ink is applied on the surface in the form of a wax transfer ribbon. The printer allows color particles to penetrate into fabric by using heat.

Thermal dye sublimation – 

It uses three colors, yellow, magenta, and cyan. This type of printer applies these colors onto white material with an adhesive film cartridge. The print head heats up and melts the color, and it penetrates into the fabric.

Resin – 

The printer uses a resin film cartridge to print images onto the surface of the material. It is similar to thermal dye sublimation as these both use 3 colors. But in this case, each color is applied separately using different cartridges which has its advantages.

Direct to vinyl – 

It uses a print head, which is similar to inkjet printers. It sprays color jet onto the surface of the material in this case, vinyl. Then it applies heat on top of it so that the color sinks into the vinyl. This type of printer does not produce higher quality but is fast and inexpensive too.

You can get the best sublimation printer by asking yourself a question like whether you require an all-in-one (AIO), which has printing, scanning, and copying functions, or just want to buy a printer to print images onto specific material types. Also consider the price range of the product, space availability in your office because some types of printers are only available in AIO configuration, type of software compatibility, and connectivity options. You should not worry about the operational cost of a sublimation printer because it is much lower than other printers. If you are operating the printer frequently then it will be really cheap to operate.

Last but not least thing is cartridge maintenance, which is extremely important so you need to select a printer that uses the most reliable cartridge

The sublimation printing process

How Does a Sublimation Printer Work

The sublimation printing process is a method that uses specially formulated inks, or dyes. Which are then applied to textiles. The textiles can be used as they are after the application of dye, or they can have an added layer of protective coating to ensure durability. 

In either case, those textiles will retain the vivid color and design that was initially created. When the dye is applied, it transforms into a gas and permeates through the fibers of the textile until it reaches its maximum saturation point, which ranges depending on the type of fiber used in production.

At this point, that gas then returns to its solid state within the fibers. This process is called sublimation. The result is a clear, precise image that appears to be a part of the textile instead of on top.

Sublimation works on many types of apparel and fabric accessories. Because it is used in all different industries, the clothes are created with various fabrics, colors, patterns, and designs. The bold colors used in sports team apparel are created with the sublimation process. 

It is also used in fashion items such as scarves, ties, bedding, and home decor items like Cricut Sublimation. It’s even used on some craft projects that are created to resemble stained glass.

The sublimation printing process goes back to 1985 when technological advancements were made in color theory. Since then, it has evolved into a process that is used across many different industries and ways to create clothes.

Reasons why companies use the sublimation printer for process

There are several reasons why companies use the sublimation printing process over other types of printing. It allows for full coverage of graphics or designs, as well as precision placement on specific sections of the garment. 

There is also no need for additional finishing because the design is a part of the fabric. The clothing can be washed or dry cleaned as needed, which means that it could be used for sports apparel that will need to go through tough conditions before being retired from active play.

In addition to its durability and color capabilities, sublimation printing has a distinctive sheen that allows for brighter colors. It also allows for sharper images because of the resolution that can be achieved through sublimation printing.


We hope you get all the information about How does a sublimation printer work. Sublimation is the process of transferring the image from an ink-receptive material to another surface, usually paper. The sublimation printer works by heating up the special inks and then using heat transfer printing on different types of materials such as t-shirts or other apparel items. This method can also be used for business cards, phone cases, mug wraps, etc. To learn more about how this technology could increase your sales contact us today!

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