The Importance of Sublimation Printer Maintenance

I went to the doctor last Friday and came away from my visit with two arms that were very sore.  The visit was for my annual physical, and it also turned out to be the day I got a couple of vaccines,  one in each arm.   The whole experience was, quite literally, a pain,  but it is better than what might have happened if I had not had the vaccines.  As a veteran of three semi-long hospital stays in the last two years,  I’m not really up for another.  If enduring a slight bit of pain now keeps me from having to go through a lot more pain later,  I’m up for it.

When it comes to your sublimation printer think of regular maintenance as the printer’s version of a vaccine. Doing daily nozzle checks and printer cleanings might be a bit of pain,  but that pain is nothing compared to the pain of a printer that doesn’t print properly  or  print at all.   Regular maintenance will also help ensure that the printer runs when you need it to run.   You certainly don’t receive a large job with a tight deadline only to find out that your printer won’t print.

If you’re new to sublimation printing and want to make sure you’re maintaining your printer properly,  one thing you can do is download Sawgrass Ink’s videos on nozzle checks and head cleaning.   For those who are new to sublimation printing,  a nozzle check is a test print that is used to determine if all the heads in your printer are printing.   If one of the heads is clogged,  your final print may be of poor quality.   Generally,  if you are experiencing any problems like faint output,  streaking or banding or color issues,  doing a nozzle check will help you find the source of your problem. You can find more information on how to do a nozzle check here and information on how to perform a head cleaning here.

You should also keep in mind that making sure your printer works correctly starts with setting it up correctly.   While it may seem like setting up a printer should be easy,  preparing a system for sublimation does require a few more steps to ensure that everything works together as it should.  Sawgrass has prepared  installation guides for all the printers for which they currently manufacture ink.     While following the steps listed in these guides may seem tedious,  they are designed to help you start your sublimation or ChromaBlast printing career off on the right foot.  Time spent on proper set-up will help eliminate time wasted on printer clogs or jams in the future.

Maintaining the right surroundings for your sublimation or ChromaBlast printer is also a vital part of proper printer maintenance.    One thing to keep in mind is that your sublimation printer needs to be separated from other equipment that might produce dust or lint that could clog the printer.  Many shops run both embroidery machines and sublimation printers successfully by ensuring that the machines are positioned so that one cannot pollute the working environment of the other.    You also need ample space in which to prepare your substrates and to let them cool after pressing.

Keeping your sublimation or ChromaBlast printer in good working order is really much like keeping any piece of equipment in good working order.  You need to provide an environment which will allow the printer to work well.  You need to provide the proper inks and paper to ensure quality prints,  and you need to use quality sublimation blanks to ensure the best finished product.  Once you’ve done all that,  regular maintenance will help ensure that your printer keeps printing and you keep selling product far into the future.

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