Can You Use Canon Printer For Sublimation? Understanding The Use Of Canon Printer

A printer’s work is ubiquitous in everyday life. From banners to labeled t-shirts to textbooks, printers bring communication to life. They come in several shapes, sizes, and models and operate under different techniques. For example, some printers use sublimation technology; others work with thermal printing.

Canon is a popular printer brand in the market. As a result, users have asked about the feasibility of using Canon printers for sublimation. Although there have been confusing opinions, it’s a straightforward answer.  

A printer’s operation depends on its printing technology. We’ll answer the Canon and sublimation question in this article. Continue reading to learn more.

Can You Use Canon Printer for Sublimation?

Without much ado, you can’t use or convert Canon printers for sublimation printing. The reason is that canon printers use thermal technology for printing. Thermal technology destroys sublimation ink, making it impractical to use Canon printers for sublimation. 

Many people quickly point out that Canon produces dye-sublimation printers. While this is a fact, it can mislead you to infer that they’re sublimation printers.

In reality, Canon dye-sublimation printers are not sublimation printers. You can’t insert papers to obtain sublimation prints. Instead, they feature an inbuilt heater that uses sublimation ink to produce sublimation prints.

About Thermal Printing Technology

Thermal printing technology produces printouts by moving the thermal paper to an electrically heated print head. Thermal paper has a thermo chromic coating that turns black in heated areas to produce an image.

Thermal printers are useful for printing small prints that require precision, such as tickets, coupons, receipts, and reports. They should also fit into small-sized devices.

Thermal printers work by the action of heat on thermal paper. Electrical resistance from the thermal print head generates this heat, which reacts with paper to form a burn, which is printing.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Heat Transfer Printing

Pros:

  • Setup is much less expensive, and you can use your home printer.
  • You can use it on fabrics made entirely of cotton.
  • It goes with both light and dark-colored clothing.

Cons:

  • It produces a textured film on clothing 
  • It’s only for use on cloth; it won’t work on stiff objects.
  • It is relatively less durable and washes off quickly.
  • Over time, the surface may crack and peel.
  • You can’t iron the design.
  • You’ll need to cut out your image, especially if the fabric is dark.

What Is Sublimation?

Sublimation uses heat and pressure to transfer designs from sublimation paper onto a material or fabric. This printing method is popular for its high-quality prints. 

It’s important to know how sublimation works because a wrong process can create prints with white creases, wasting time and resources. So, continue reading to understand how sublimation works.

The Sublimation Process

Sublimation printing is a straightforward process. Here’s how it works:

  • First, print out your design from a sublimation printer using special paper.
  • Next, using a heat press, transfer the design onto a piece of fabric. You can even apply pressure and put it in the oven at home.

You’ll use sublimation paper to do the design transfer. The ink embeds into the fabric or material, ensuring that it retains its vibrancy for a relatively long time.

The heat from the press or oven opens the fabric pores, while the pressure from the cloth cools the ink, solidifying it. Release the press and gently remove the paper from the shirt or cup or whatever material you used.

Sublimation Materials

You’ll need a few materials to start sublimation printing graphics onto your merchandise. The first is a printer supporting sublimation printing and using sublimation ink cartridges.

Second, you’ll also need a heat press to print the graphics into the fabric. You can buy a mug clamp and press it to print the design on a ceramic mug. Not all materials are appropriate for sublimation printing. In addition, you’ll need transfer paper (sublimation or copy) and color correction software (RIP).

Advantages of Sublimation Printing 

Sublimation printing offers several advantages. 

  • It allows printing on hard surfaces such as mugs, photo slates, plates, clocks, etc., and this is rare.
  • It’s easy to learn and use.
  • It has an infinite color palette, using four-color ink to create thousands of colors. Adding a new color to your design is free. So it’s a great way to print images.
  • It doesn’t require a minimum print run. The unit cost is the same whether you customize 1 or 1000.
  • Sublimation makes the printing part of the substrate. Unlike transfer paper, the outcome is invisible and it will not fade, unlike transfer paper.
  • It’s simple and quick so that you can deliver orders quickly.
  • Sublimation is now available on mugs, plates, photo slates, wallets, flip flops, apparel, and ornamental objects.

Disadvantages of Sublimation

Sublimation printing may offer many benefits, but it has some drawbacks.

  • Fabric must be 100% polyester or contain at least 2/3 polyester.
  • Non-textile substrates require products with a specific polyester covering.
  • It must have a white or light print area—no sublimation on black or dark surfaces.
  • Permanent exposure to sunlight may lead to color loss.
  • The printheads of inkjet printers can clog if not used frequently. So keep the printer active at all times.
  • The size of any digital image transfer printing is governed by:
  • The image’s original resolution, which limits the image’s maximum enlargement.
  • The press’s lower plate dimensions

What Can Sublimation Printers Be Used For?

Sublimation printers can print on various surfaces, ideal for numerous projects.

Decorating

Sublimation printing is a great way to personalize your space. You can use it on various home items, including curtains, cushions, and upholstery.

Signage

Sublimation may enhance your advertising by adding rich colors and unique materials. For added effect, backlight sublimated materials. Exhibitors love custom banners because they help them stand out from the crowd.

Personalized Items

Custom coffee mugs and keychains are popular sublimation printing products. Using this procedure, you can customize image frames, boards, tags, and even metal plates.

Clothing

It can give color and patterns to various garments because it can print on fabric. Dresses, skirts, and even ties can feature trendy designs. Customized jerseys for sports teams are quick and simple.

About Heat Presses

A heat press uses heat and pressure prints a design on a substrate. Heat presses can imprint designs on mugs, plates, jigsaw puzzles, and other goods, as well as fabrics.

There are manual and automatic heat presses. A new semi-automated press allows for manual shutting and automatic opening. Modern machines use digital technology to control heat, pressure, and time.

Most heat presses use a flat plate to heat and press the material. The “clamshell” design opens the press’s upper heat element, whereas the “swing-away” design swings the heat plate away from the lower plate. Finally, a “draw style press” design allows the bottom platen to be removed from the heat to prepare the graphic.

Vacuum presses use high psi air pressure to create the necessary force. Most modern heat presses employ an aluminum upper heating element with a heat rod cast or linked heating wire. 

Automatic shuttle transfer presses are utilized for high-volume continuous imprinting operations. The substrates to be imprinted are continually put onto the bottom platen and shuttled under the heat platen.

Types Of Heat Press

Small Format Heat Press:

This equipment is useful for sublimating t-shirts, caps, mugs, dishes, and shoes.

Calendar Heat Press:

They are useful for large soft-signage applications such as flags, huge outside banners, fabric sublimation, and everyday soft-signage. A table attachment to your calendar unit allows users to cut and sew clothing items.

Flatbed Heat Press:

Flatbed style heat presses are adaptable presses that can heat transfer onto fabric, aluminum, hardboard, floor mats, and other unusual media. They can’t handle the kind of rolls and fabric sizes that a Calendar hot press can.

3D Vacuum Heat Press:

A 3D vacuum heat press is a small desktop machine that transfers the heat to materials with curved edges or shapes. It accepts sublimation blanks and pre-treated things like smartphone cases, mugs, picture frames, athletic goods, buttons, and other items.

Choosing The Correct Sublimation Paper

These are a few things to consider helping you select the correct sublimation transfer paper.

Ink capacity:

This is a key consideration; the higher the ink limit (wet), the thicker the paper must be to receive moisture from the ink without curling or warping.

Ink pattern:

With lightweight sheets, there is a tendency for curling and shifting after pressing. The ideal is 110gsm or more paper that accepts heavy and light inks.

Rolling pattern:

The calendar heat press favors papers with a low gsm. However, carefully examine the limit and capacity in the case of heavy ink.

Print speed:

Print speed determines the quality of the paper produced is determined by the printing speed. Slow printing creates thick paper, while fast printing creates lightweight paper.

Conclusion

You can’t convert or use canon printers for sublimation. They print with thermal technology, which is incompatible with sublimation ink. Sublimation printing is a standard printing technology that uses pressure and heat to transfer a design from sublimation paper to material or different cloth or material.

You’ll need some items to get started using sublimation printing to put designs on your merchandise. The first will, without a doubt, be a printer that supports sublimation printing and accepts sublimation ink cartridges. Second, to print the designs onto the fabric, you’ll need to invest in a heat press.

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