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Step-by-Step Guide for Sublimation Onto Metal

Step-by-Step Guide for
Sublimation Onto Metal

Metal printing is becoming more and more popular since it’s distinctive, long-lasting, and customizable in a number of ways. The fundamentals of sublimation onto metal will be covered in this blog article, along with the materials that you’ll need.

Table of Contents

Definition of Sublimation onto Metal

Sublimation onto metal, also known as dye sublimation metal prints, is a digital printing process that allows the transfer of high-quality, full-color images onto specially coated metal surfaces. This method involves the use of heat and pressure to infuse dyes directly into the metal, creating a vibrant and durable print.

Types of Metals Suitable for Sublimation

Sublimation metal printing works best on metals that have been specially coated to accept the sublimation inks. The coating allows the dyes to be absorbed into the metal surface during the heat transfer process. While many metals can be coated for sublimation, the most commonly used metal for this process is aluminum. Here are some types of metals suitable for sublimation:

Aluminum

Sublimation aluminium sheet are popular due to their strength, durability, and mobility.  Coming in a variety of finishes (brushed, matte, and glossy), it is ideal for a wide range of applications. Vibrant colors, crisp details, and high-quality, fade-resistant pictures are produced using the dye sublimation print on aluminum.

Aluminum

6061 Aluminum

This sublimation aluminum is commonly used due to its lightweight nature and ability to accept vibrant colors.

White-Coated Aluminum

Pre-coated with a white layer, providing a neutral background for colors to appear more vividly to aluminum sublimation blanks.

Silver-Coated Aluminum

Offers a metallic finish to sublimation blanks aluminum for a reflective effect in the final print.

Steel

Steel

Stainless steel is a great material for sublimation printing on metal because it creates high-quality, fade-resistant graphics that are ideal for individualized presents and promotional goods.

Brass

Brass

It is a traditional metal whose special qualities have made it a popular choice for sublimation for many years. Because of its superior quality and resistance to corrosion and tarnishing, this metal is ideal for crafting objects that need a dash of refinement and beauty. Making personalized gifts and promotional goods is made possible by the superior quality, long-lasting, and fade-resistant pictures produced by the sublimation process on brass.

It’s advisable to use sublimation metal blanks or sublimation metal sheets specifically designed and coated for sublimation printing. It’s important to note that the success of sublimation on a particular metal depends on the coating’s compatibility with the sublimation inks. The coating should be designed to absorb the inks and create a durable and vibrant print. Additionally, some metals may require a different sublimation coating to achieve optimal results.

Sublimation Onto Metal Process

Sublimation onto metal is a process commonly used in printing and decorating metal surfaces, such as aluminium sublimation blanks, to create high-quality and durable images or designs. This process is known as dye sublimation and involves the transfer of dye into a substrate (in this case, metal) using heat and pressure. Here’s an overview of the sublimation onto metal process:

Preparation of the Metal Surface

Preparation of the Metal Surface

The metal surface, usually aluminum, is coated with a special sublimation coating. This coating is designed to accept the sublimation inks and ensure a vibrant and long-lasting image.

Image Design

Image Design

Create a digital image using graphic design software. Make sure the image is in CMYK color mode (this is the standard color space used by sublimation printers).

Printing

Printing

Sublimation inks are unique because they can transition directly from a solid to a gas without first going through a liquid stage. The ability of sublimation inks to switch directly from a solid to a gas state without passing via a liquid stage makes them special. This is crucial for the sublimation process.

Transfer

Transfer

The printed sublimation transfer paper is then placed onto the coated metal surface, with the image facing down.

Heat and Pressure Application

Heat and Pressure Application

In a heat press machine, the metal and transfer paper are sandwiched together and heated and compressed. The method of sublimation demands the proper combination of pressure and temperature to be effective.

Sublimation Process

Sublimation Process

As the heat is applied, the sublimation inks on the transfer paper turn into a gas without becoming a liquid. This gas is absorbed into the sublimation coating on the metal surface.

Cooling

Cooling

After a specified period, the heat press is opened, and the metal substrate is allowed to cool. As it cools, the sublimation inks revert to a solid state, becoming a permanent part of the coating on the metal.

Finished Product

Finished Product

The result is a vibrant, high-resolution image that is embedded into the metal surface. The image is durable, scratch-resistant, and resistant to fading, making it suitable for various applications such as sublimation metal signs, photography prints, sublimation tins, awards, and personalized products.

 

This sublimation onto metal process is widely used in the production of custom metal prints, nameplates, promotional items, and other applications where a durable and high-quality image on metal is desired.

Foison Metal: Renowned Manufacturer of Sublimation Products

Foison Metal is a well-known leader in the sublimation business, recognized for our superb workmanship and inventiveness. We established a reputation for creating state-of-the-art sublimation goods that perfectly balance accuracy, vibrancy, and durability. We often provide sublimated products with eye-catching designs, vibrant colors, and long-lasting quality.


Our unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and creative approach to design and manufacturing have solidified our reputation as the company to trust for exceptional sublimation onto metal products.

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