How to Print Sublimation on Aluminum: An Amazing Guide

We would like to share some ideas with you regarding dye sublimation on aluminum, as you are new here. In recent years, it has become one of the most popular creative techniques. This style of painting is becoming increasingly popular among amateurs as a means of enhancing their income.

Generally speaking, when people think of ornaments, license plates, keychains, t-shirts, and coffee mugs, they think of sublimation.

Sublimation on aluminum designs has been gaining popularity due to their attractive appearance and durability. Sublimation printing is commonly used to print on garments and coffee cups.

Because of the uniqueness and high demand for the designs, aluminum is experiencing a surge in sales. Have you ever heard of dye sublimation on aluminum?

Do you feel confused? Here you will learn what you will need for dye-sublimation printing on aluminum sheets if you should convert it into a business, and what materials you will need.

In order to achieve success, you must follow a specific procedure, although the procedure will differ significantly for each individual. There is no need to worry, this article will answer all your questions.

Sublimation on Aluminum

How Does Dye Sublimation Process on Aluminum Work?

In sublimation onto aluminum (sometimes called metal print), colors are infused into a pre-treated sheet of aluminum using heat transfers.

The process of sublimation involves transforming a solid into a gas without going through the liquid phase. After the colors have settled under the surface, the process is complete and permanent.

Due to the fact that the ink will become gas when heated, it will dig beneath the surface of the material. This results in an extremely long-lasting product. This is also the process that contributes to the 3D effect of metal sublimation prints. It would be a unique method that could produce some of the most visually appealing designs in the history of design.

What Kinds Of Stuff Can Be Made With Aluminum Sublimation?

Are you wondering what to print? Sublimation on aluminum can be used in countless ways to make your item gleam like a diamond. Sublimation on aluminum can produce the following types of items:

  • Aluminum photo panels of landscapes and seascapes
  • High-resolution photographs of high quality and glossy finish
  • Bookmark made from aluminum
  • Water bottle made from aluminum
  • Mirror Gold Aluminium Coated
  • Mirror Silver Aluminium Coated
  • A keyring
  • Boxes made of aluminum

Aluminium Sublimation Materials/Things Required:

In order to sublimate aluminum, you will need the following materials:

  • Sublimation Printer: The most important requirement here is a sublimation ink printer. Using this technology is not just for the workplace; it can also be used at home. Due to the increase in demand for printed items, the cost of these printers has decreased considerably. Here are some popular sublimation printer brands – Sawgrass printers, Mimaki, Mutoh, and Durst.
  • Heat Press Machine: It is a requirement to use a heat press after printing in order to complete the sublimation process. Therefore, it is necessary.
  • Sublimation Paper: There is no limit to the number of colors that may be generated and transferred to the appropriate sublimation paper. The name of this type of paper is sublimation or transfer paper. The paper may be printed with any design requested, including a personal piece of art, a customized logo, a family portrait, or any other design.
  • Aluminum Sheets: Aluminum sheets that are of high quality for sublimation.
  • Computer & RIP Software: RIP is short for “Raster Image Processor ”. Some printers do not offer this feature, but it can be purchased separately. Software compatibility is critical to the success of the printer. Therefore, it is important to consider compatibility.
  • Cutting Mechanism: It is also necessary to use cutting tools such as a knife or rotary blade in order to achieve sublimation. The use of a sewing machine would also be required when hemming the cloth. Particularly important when dealing with SEG frames (Silicon Edge Graphics).
  • Heat-Resistant Gloves: The fact that you are working with heated metal in sublimation poses a risk of severe burns; therefore, you should wear heat-resistant gloves. As a result, you will be protected in the event of an accident. As a first priority, safety must be taken into consideration.

Dye Sublimation on Aluminum: What’s the Process?

For some time, dye sublimation has become popular, but printing on aluminum has been confined to a very small number of companies, primarily due to the inaccessibility of the equipment. However, with the technology becoming more accessible, it is becoming more popular.

There is no doubt that the process is more complicated than simply printing a design and gluing it to an aluminum sheet. There are four phases involved in the process.

1. Printing and Design

Creating the design is the first step in the process. In order to accomplish this, you will need to use Photoshop or similar design software. Once the design has been saved, it should be loaded into RIP software and then printed on sublimation paper.

2. Heat Press Preparation

It is necessary to preheat the heat press before using it. Depending on the type of aluminum used, the exact temperature will vary, but in most cases, 400°F is recommended. In the meantime, prepare the substrate while the press is heating. It is important to clean the surface.

Place the aluminum sheet on the press once it has been heated. In order to ensure the best sublimation results, it is highly recommended to use a transfer sheet that is just a bit larger than the surface of the aluminum sheet you will be sublimating.

3. Press

When pressing, apply medium pressure. Closing the heat press should require moderate effort on your part. As for the length of time that the substrate should be pressed, it depends on the metal, but for aluminum heat transfer, it should be pressed for 90-120 seconds. By doing this, the inks have more time to penetrate the aluminum surface and last longer.

It is important to note that dwell times that are too long will result in the loss of the design details. It is recommended that you begin with 90 seconds of heating and then increase the time if necessary on your next substrate.

4. Remove the Sheet from the Heat Press

The aluminum should always be removed from the press using heat-resistant gloves. If you wish to prevent warping, allow the sheet to cool while being kept face down. However, if your design becomes excessively warped, you may wish to try pressing it again from the backside, then allowing it to cool again. You should never attempt to bend a sheet to “straighten” it while it is hot since this may result in damage to the design.

You should be aware that sometimes the colors will appear smudged and blown out of their borders. It is known as a “blowout.” When this occurs, it indicates that one of three things has occurred: the sheet was overheated, unevenly heated, or too much pressure was applied. It is possible to prevent blowout by using heat-resistant tape and Teflon sheets.

The Best Way to Store Your Finished Designs

It is important to wait until the sheet has cooled in order to trap the ink behind the polyester coating. After it has cooled, it is time to store it until it is needed. Keeping substrate finishes in good condition requires special care. In the first place, they should never be stored directly next to one another. Over time, the inks will move from one piece to another. You should be aware that this is the case even when they are cool.

Furthermore, never wrap them in shrink wrap or store them in plastic when shipping. For protection, always use paper sheets.

What Sublimation Ink Can I Use for Aluminum Blanks?

The use of specialized printers requires the use of special sublimation inks. Heat is used to dissolve the inks into a liquid state that passes through the thin layer of protective coating on the aluminum. In order to achieve this objective, only specialized inks are available.

There are several types of sublimation inks, and the type to be selected depends on the end result. Large format printers benefit most from aqueous inks, but there are also solvent-based inks that work well with wide-head printers. Generally, liquid ink is recommended for large-scale designs, while solid ink can be used for smaller designs.

sublimation on aluminum blanks

Does Garment Sublimation Ink Work on Aluminum Panel?

There is no restriction on what substrates can be used for sublimation, however, a common concern is whether or not the same ink can be used for fabrics and metals. There is no doubt that the answer is yes, but there is a challenge associated with color matching. There will be a difference between how colors appear on fabric and how they appear on metal. If you are planning to sublimate on aluminum, you should keep this in mind.

Difference Between Digital and DYE Sublimation on Aluminum

In some cases, digital printing and dye sublimation are used interchangeably, although they do not follow the same process nor do they produce the same results.

When digital printing is used, images are printed directly on the panel’s surface. Aluminum panels can be printed digitally with specialized printers, but the appearance and quality will be considerably different. The reason for this is that the design is printed over the protective layer.

A dye sublimation process involves heating the ink so that it passes through the protective layer. After cooling, the ink gets trapped under this protective layer. Therefore, the design appears different and offers better protection.

Sublimation on Aluminum process and types

The Benefits of Sublimation on Aluminum

In comparison with other printing methods, sublimation on aluminum offers several advantages. The following are some of the benefits:

  • Durability: Using sublimation on aluminum produces prints that are resistant to fading, scratching, and peeling over a long period of time. Additionally, the prints are waterproof, making them suitable for outdoor use.
  • Vibrant Colors: As a result of the sublimation process, vibrant and vivid colors are produced, which are difficult to obtain through other printing methods.
  • Versatility: The sublimation process can be used on a wide range of products, including signs, nameplates, awards, and more.
  • Customization: The use of sublimation on aluminum makes it possible to easily customize each print, making it an ideal method for the personalization, custom sizes, and customization of the finished product.
  • Scratch Resistant: Sublimation is a method of infusing dye under the outer layer of an object. Since it cannot be scratched or scraped off, it is more durable than conventional paper and canvas images.
  • Lightweight: Even though it’s incredibly robust and sturdy, the recycled metal is lightweight and easy to hang. The weight of a 40×60-inch panel with an aluminum float backing is approximately 13 pounds.
  • Fire Resistant: A sublimated aluminum can withstand extreme heat temperatures. It is necessary to obtain this certification for art hung in specified corporate and public environments that must meet today’s fire-rated regulations.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have learned how to make high-definition dye sublimation prints on aluminum blanks, we will conclude this chapter with a brief overview. The first items to be purchased will be a heat press and a sublimation printer. There is no reason why you cannot begin creating immediately, even if you must put aside money for this large purchase. Best wishes for a successful start to your career.

Enis Sh
Enis Sh

As an innovative IT Tech entrepreneur I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Stay ahead of the curve with up-to-the-minute tech news and reviews, while diving into the realm of computer hardware geekery.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Tech Advice Zone