Special Feature Article - 100 Top Tips and Tricks for Sublimation Success! Part 2

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100 Tips & Tricks by David Gross - Part 2

Part 2 in a special 4 part series by the sublimation expert - David Gross! Check back often for the updates!

26. Printed transfers should be transferred within a few days or else the image(s) will lose vibrancy.

27. When possible, put your paper in your printer long edge first (landscape) and then define a custom paper size. This trick will increase print speeds up to 30% because the printhead does more “interstate driving” (moving longer before stopping) than “city driving.”

Computer

28. Use the command to capture your screen at print time to help you remember what it should look like. Paste the screen into Photoshop or CorelDRAW document for saving and printing. Also remember to document your printing preferences, CorelDRAW’s “Tools/Color Management” and “Print Preview” screens. You will be very thankful when you have to reinstall your software or move to a new PC.

29. For Microsoft Windows folks, go into the Advance tab of the Printer Properties and check the box “Keep Printed Documents.” This hidden treasure allows you to re-print any job from the print folder without using your application. Great for repeat jobs.

30. Use the Windows system’s restore feature when your computer has a major problem. This will return Windows to an earlier date before the problem occurred. This has saved me many times.

31. Remember to archive all your artwork files for future orders on an external USB hard drive. Rotate drives for off-site storage in the event of fire or theft.

32. Should you go with 64 bit windows? I say a qualified yes. For new computers that do not need to run old software applications, go with 64 bit versions. It has a much higher RAM limit and delivers better performance. ArTainium and Gel folks are all set since we can use our ICC profiles with the native printer drivers. For very old Epson printers, check first. For instance, Epson 3000 folks are out of luck as there is no 64 bit driver. No problem for 4000 series printers.

33. Max out your RAM. The limit for Vista is 4GB.

34. Of course install virus/spyware/firewall software. I like Microsoft’s OneCare… visit www.onecare.live.com for more information.

35. Don’t bother buying monitor calibration equipment or software unless you have a nice new monitor like a Sony brand. If you think you have a nice monitor, then install and use the ICC profile for it.

Heat Press

36. Measure your heat press’ temperature at least twice a year. I recommend a low-tech solution: a metal candy thermometer. If you determine the press is out of calibration, contact your supplier partner for the “magic buttons” to push.

37. Always use protective paper on the top and bottom of a substrate while it is being pressed. This will protect your heat platen, bottom pad, and substrate. I recommend a roll of uncoated, white butcher paper available at Sam’s Club. I seldom recommend Teflon sheets, as it traps moisture and will transfer sublimation ink to the next substrate. I do, however, recommend it for products with adhesive backs such as Rowmark’s MATES material and our fabric patches.

38. Lubricate your press every month with high-temp grease to ensure smooth operation and long life.

39. Check that your press closes evenly by cutting a sheet of paper into four squares and placing 1/2 of each square under each corner of the press. Then close with light pressure. Verify that each square pulls with the same resistance. If not, the press may need to be adjusted.

40. Check to see if a shuttle attachment is available for your press. This is an awesome productivity enhancer that allows you to press a product while prepping for the next.

41. If you do lots of double-sided products like bag tags, consider a product like the cool plate. This large “heat sink” cools your substrate in a fraction of the normal time, allowing for increased productivity.

42. Remember a bigger pot boils slower. As you press more stuff at one time, you must (in most cases) increase your transfer time.

43. Invest in a small convection oven for doing larger quantity mugs and other ceramic items like dog bowls and latte mugs (I like the Cuisinart Brick Oven that’s good for up to six 11oz. mugs). Be sure to get a thermometer to accurately set your temperature. You will need wraps to hold the transfer to the substrate. Be sure to follow the instructions. Only use this oven for sublimation, not for food preparation.

44. Always use an adhesive lint roller on soft substrates. This usually removes the blue lint that can show up after sublimation.

45. Use Pro Spray to hold the transfer to soft substrates. This prevents the paper from moving when opening the press, which causes a shadow print. I suggest you make a spray box so that the spray does not make a mess on your floor or table.

46. Remember to cool ceramic mugs in room temperature water after pressing. This will stop the sublimation process.

47. Buy a swing away heat press. It closes evenly and will put out a lot more heat.

48. A Teflon pillow will help prevent unsightly transfer marks on fabric during the transfer process and help avoid heavy seams on products such as tote bags.

Graphics

49. To reset CorelDRAW to it’s default menus, press F8 as you are launching the program.

50. Use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements at the front end to prepare images for CorelDRAW. CorelDRAW will not properly handle resolution. This must be done either in Photoshop or Photo Paint. See tip No. 29 on “resizing images.”