4 Reasons to Add Sublimation to Your Shop

four_previewPeople who are not currently sublimating often ask why they need to add dye sublimation (often just referred to as sublimation for brevity’s sake)  to the decoration processes their shop offers.   Now,  let me say up front,  no one needs to add sublimation to their shop.    If you choose not to offer sublimation services,  the world will not spin off its axis,  a meteor will not hit your shop,  and things will go along as they normally do without any horrific consequences.   The only bad thing that will happen is that someone else in your market will be making a profit on sublimated goods and your shop will not.   So, really the question is not why do you need to add sublimation to the decoration techniques your shop offers,  but why you should want to add sublimation.     Here are a few reasons why we think most shops would want to add sublimation.

1.  It’s a new profit center –  In order to stay profitable,  shops need to diversify.   While there are shops out there that do only one thing and make a living that way,  most decorators have learned to offer a variety of decoration techniques.   Sublimation is simply another decoration technique to have in your arsenal.

2.  Sublimation opens up new products – If you’ve primarily decorated clothes,  adding sublimation to your shop allows you to add hard goods,  mugs,  plaques and the like.  There are a wide variety of sublimation blanks available for decoration and an equal variety of markets to which those goods can be sold.   Adding sublimation gives your shop the ability to offer additional categories of goods,  and to capture additional dollars when a client places a clothing order.

3. Financial barriers to entry are comparatively low – We’re not saying that sublimation is inexpensive,  larger printer packages can be in the $1500 to $2000 range,  and a quality heat press can add another few thousand dollars to that total,   plus the price of blanks.   Still,  when comparing that cost to the cost of a new DTG printer or screen printing press,  sublimation is a relatively economical way to get started in a new business.

4. The learning curve is fairly low – Yes,  sublimation is a decoration discipline and, as such,  it has its own quirks and tricks that need to be learned and understood.    That said,  if you can use graphics software,  know how to print to an inkjet printer and understand how to use a heat press,  you can sublimate.   There are a number of resources out there to help you get started,  and learning to produce a usable print should not be that difficult.

Introducing the Ricoh SG7100DN

RicohSG7100DNEnMart is proud to announce we will have a new larger size desktop sublimation printer available within the next week.    This printer replaces the Ricoh GX e7700N  which formerly was the large desktop printer option.

The new Ricoh printer is the Ricoh SG 7100DN.     First introduced to the European market in early 2013,  this printer has been tested and proven to be a trouble free sublimation solution with a robust printing capacity.    This is the sublimation printing solution of choice for rapidly expanding shops that want a sublimation solution that is both reliable and fast.     Print speed for the SG 7100DN are comparable to previous Ricoh models,  making it the perfect next step in the line of high production sublimation systems.

Ink for this printer is available in standard and extended size cartridges.  Standard size cartridges are designed for moderate and seasonal print flows,  and provide lower start up costs while business is ramping to full capacity.  Extended cartridges , by contrast,  are ideal for high volume sublimation environments and provide extended uninterrupted printing, without adding a bulk system to your printer set-up.

EnMart offers the printer as part of our popular sublimation combo packages.     The SG 7100DN package retails at $1678 but is currently being offered by EnMart for $1545.   The printer package comes with the printer,  a full set of ink,  1 pack of 8.5 x 11 paper and 1 pack of 11 x 17 paper,  a USB cable and more.

EnMart Introduces the Ricoh SG 3110DN Printer

EnMart is proud to announce that the Ricoh SG 3110DN printer is NOW IN STOCK! The 4th generation Ricoh SG 3110DN replaces the popular Ricoh GX e3300n.  The new Ricoh  SG 3110DN is the most versatile sublimation printer to date.  It is also a budget smart option for those people looking to enter the market for sublimation products.

The Ricoh SG 3110DN offers many advantages for sublimation printers, including:

  • New Print Head Design – Delivers Superior Print Quality, Speed, and Reliability
  • New Dual-Directional Ink Pump – Cleans Nozzles with Less Ink
  • 15%+ Increased Yield for Lower Image Cost and Faster Return On Investment
  • Two Color Management Options – PowerDriver for Windows and MacProfile for Mac OS

A ChromaBlast cotton transfer printing option is also available for the Ricoh SG 3110DN.  Since the Ricoh SG 3110DN can produce up to 74 prints an hour,  it is one of the fastest entry-level cotton transfer printers available.    When used with ChromaBlast media and ChromaBlast Ink,  this printer produces transfers which can be used to create vibrant, long lasting images on cotton.

The Ricoh SG 3110DN sublimation and ChromaBlast printer systems are definitely the smart choice for those looking to get into the sublimation printing and/or t-shirt transfer business without breaking their budget.   EnMart also offers combo packages featuring the Ricoh SG 3110DN for both sublimation and ChromaBlast.  These packages contain everything you would need to print a sublimation or ChromaBlast transfer.

Get Started with Sublimation in 2012

To get started in sublimation you need five things:

  1. A printer
  2. Sublimation ink
  3. Sublimation paper
  4. Blanks suitable for sublimation
  5. A heat press

Your selection of printer really depends on what size prints you want to make.  If the biggest thing you’ll ever print will fit on an 8.5 x 14 sheet of paper,  then you might do well with a Ricoh 3300.   If you want to print 13 x 19 right out of the box,  it might be wise to consider a Epson WF1100.   If you want to print large images and think you will be doing quite a bit of production,  your best choice might well be the Ricoh GX 7000.   Different printers work best in different situations,  so please be sure to take into account how much you want to print and the largest thing you might want to print when deciding which printer to buy.

Sublimation ink is fairly simple –  if you run a Windows system,  you can purchase Sublijet ink for the Ricoh or the Epson printer of your choice.    If you use a Mac,  then you’re best off selecting Artainium ink,  as Sawgrass supplies ICC profiles for that ink which work with Macs.   Enmart does not currently list Artainium ink on our website,  but we can get it for customers who request that we do so.

When it comes to sublimation paper,  EnMart recommends our Mpres Paper.   We’ve tested many different kinds of paper over the years,  and Mpres is the best we’ve found.

Choosing sublimation blanks largely depends on what it is you want to sell.    EnMart offers a wide selection of blanks for sublimation,  everything from dog tags to mousepads, coffee mugs to jewelry boxes.   We also carry Vapor Apparel t-shirts, which are very well suited for sublimation.    EnMart also allows you to purchase just one of any item you might like to try,  subject, of course, to our $25 minimum order.

Finally, in order to sublimate, you need a heat press.   EnMart’s parent company, Ensign Emblem has a long history with George Knight heat presses, and has known them to be durable and reliable.  Since we’ve had such a good experience with these presses,  Geo. Knight is the brand of press that EnMart sells.   If you’re looking for a press,  remember to take into account the largest thing you will every sublimate, as you want to make sure your press is able to handle it.

Getting started with sublimation is not difficult, and EnMart is here to help make it even easier.  If you have questions or concerns, we’ll be happy to help you, or to connect you with people who can.

Printers Vs. Packages

If you’ve ever shopped for sublimation supplies on our website (and if you haven’t, why not?), you may have noticed that we sell printers for sublimation separately,  and also as part of a combo package.    Unfortunately,  this seems to be a source of confusion for some people.    I thought I’d try and clear some of that confusion up by explaining why we sell printers separately, and what extra value a combo package can bring to the table.

First, why we sell printers separately.   Sawgrass only sells sublimation and ChromaBlast ink for certain makes and models of printers.     These printers aren’t necessarily special printers,  you could probably find most, if not all of them, at your local office supply store.   The reason we sell them here, separately, is because we sell everything related to sublimation,  and it wouldn’t make sense to have all the rest of the necessary items and not have printers.   Besides, printers do, on occasion need to be replaced,  or upgraded,  and having them readily available makes us a one stop shop for sublimation or ChromaBlast customers.

While I’m on this subject,  I do want to remind everyone that printers purchased separately do not come with sublimation ink.   The only ink that accompanies these printers is the OEM ink that was put in the box in the factory where the printer was made.  Please keep in mind that purchasing a printer separately with the intent of using it for sublimation or ChromaBlast will also require that you buy the proper ink cartridges.

Second,  why we offer a limited number of combo packages for sublimation and ChromaBlast.

When we first started creating the sublimation section, our intent was to have everything be “build your own”.  We would offer discounts and allow our customers to create the packages which suited them best.  Over time, however,  we realized that some printer models seemed to lend themselves to a package deal,  and creating a combo package made it easier for our customers to be sure they were purchasing everything that was needed.   We now have a limited number of combo packages available,  and still retain the build your own package discounts as well.  This allows our customers complete freedom in finding and purchasing the package that best suits their needs.

As always,  if you have any questions about which printer is right for you,  or about the perfect package for your needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’ll be happy to help you find the solution that works best for you.

Pick Your Sublimation Printer

It’s the time of year when a lot of people are making their lists and checking them twice,  trying to figure out what to buy this year and what to buy next year.    If you’re thinking of adding sublimated goods to the products you offer,  or if you already do sublimation but are thinking of upgrading your system,  you might be wondering which printer is right for you.     I thought today would be a good day to discuss each printer and point out some features of each.  Hopefully, this information will be helpful to those of you making a decision about which system to purchase.

If you’re just starting out,  and aren’t really sure what size your particular market will be,  the temptation may be to start out with a really inexpensive printer.    EnMart does carry the Workforce 30 printer, at a cost of under one hundred dollars,  but we don’t recommend that printer for anyone but those people who are creating sublimated goods as a hobby.    The Workforce 30 is a decent printer,  but it’s not really designed for sustained production.

An alternative would be to purchase a Ricoh GX e3300N as part of our QuickStartR package.   The Ricoh GX e3300N is a great basic printer.  The biggest limitation that the printer has is the fact that it cannot print paper bigger than 8.5 x 14.   The Ricoh printers tend to be less temperamental than the Epson printers,  so this is a great printer for someone who is just starting out and not printing every day.   The QuickStartR package also makes starting out quite affordable.  For under $500 (adding in shipping costs) you can get everything you need to create a sublimation transfer.   Add some sublimation blanks and a heat press and you’re in business.

If you know you’re going to be wanting to print on larger size paper,  you may want to consider our Epson Workforce 1100 sublimation package.    This printer allows you to print 13 x 19 paper right out of the box.   Improved technology over previous entry level Epsons, faster printing speeds, HUGE 13 x 19 prints, and efficient, economical printing with a much improved Quick Connect CISS bulk system all combine to make this entry-level system a great choice for those looking to enter the sublimation market.   This package is also a great option for those people who are currently using a C84, C86, C88, C100, or C120 sublimation system with a bulk feed.  You can upgrade to a Workforce 1100 and use the same Cyan, Magenta and Yellow refill bags you are currently using.

For those looking for a mid-range sublimation printer,  the Epson Stylus Photo 1400 is an excellent choice.  This is a 6 cartridge printer,  and can print up to 13 x 19 prints.  If you’re a photographer who prints a lot of pictures of people,  or if you create a lot of artwork with pastel prints,  this printer may be exactly what you need.

Finally, we have the printers for the shops that are creating sublimated items, and lots of them, on a daily basis.   If you create a wide variety of items and print sublimation transfers in a variety of sizes,  then you may want to consider purchasing either a Ricoh GX 7000 or an Epson 4880.  Both these printers can print larger prints,  and offer faster print speeds.    These systems are designed to be fast and efficient.

Because the Epson 4880 is an 8 color printer, it can also be used as a hybrid printer,  with Sublijet ink in one side and ChromaBlast ink in the other side.   This may be an ideal option for those who print equal amounts of sublimation and ChromaBlast transfers.  It is not ideal for those who print more of one kind of transfer than the other,  because the printer will deplete both kinds of ink when you run cleanings.   If you tend to print more of one than the other,  you may be better off purchasing a QuickStart R package and a ChromaBlast package and using one printer for each ink.

Getting Into Sublimation (Relatively) Inexpensively

One of the questions I see asked most often on sublimation forums is this one:  what is an inexpensive way to get into sublimation.   Generally people who ask this question are considering adding sublimation to their existing businesses,  or want to try it out as a hobby and see if they can build it into a business.  They don’t want to spend a ton of money on equipment,  but they would like to get a good system that will allow them to easily create top quality sublimated goods.

When we get asked the question about how to get into sublimation for a relatively modest initial investment,  I generally recommend one of two sublimation packages.   Both of these packages include a printer,  a full set of ink, a pack of paper and a USB cable.  This is everything that is necessary to print sublimation transfers.   The only additional items needed would be some soft of software program for printing and creating graphics,  a heat press and sublimation blanks.   Once you have those items,  you would be ready to start sublimating.

The first package I often recommend is the QuickStartR Package.   This is probably our most popular sublimation package.  The printer included in this package is a Ricoh GX e3300N, which is a great basic sublimation printer.   It prints up to 8 1/2 x 14 sheets and prints up to 144 color prints an hour.   These printers are relatively forgiving and tend to have less clogging issues than other sublimation printers on the market.  The sale price for the QuickStartR package is $399.99.

The second package is the Epson WF1100 Package.   The printer included in this package is an Epson Workforce 1100 printer,  which can be fitted with a bulk system,  which is included in the package.   This printer allows you to print 13 x 19 prints out of the box,  without the need for an additional bypass tray. If you think you will be sublimating larger items,  this printer would be a good match to your needs.   In addition to the bulk system,  this package also comes with two packs of paper.    This package retails for $749.00.

We believe our packages will suit the needs of the majority of our customers,  but we know that we could never develop a one size fits every situation package.  That’s why, in addition to our packages,  we also offer the “Your Way” discount.  If you purchase ANY items from at least 4 of the 5 Sublimation categories, we will manually apply a  5% Package Discount to ALL the sublimation or Chromablast related items, supplies, and accessories on your ENTIRE order.  Spend over $2000, and the discount increases to 10%! So, the more you buy, the more money you save.

Our goal is always to save you money while outfitting you with the system and supplies that will suit your business best.  If you have any questions about what system is right for you,  or if you would like assistance in designing your own package,  please feel free to contact us.   We will be happy to assist you.

EnMart Introduces the Epson WorkForce 1100

Recently  EnMart has been spending some time examining some new Epson printer models and reevaluating how Epson fits into the Enmart business model.  Epson was, after all, at one time the only option available for desktop sublimation printing.   Epson printers also offer options that the Ricoh printers do not.   Depending on what you want to do,  an Epson printer may well be the perfect choice for your business.  Given those facts, and some relatively recent improvements to Epson’s printing technology,  EnMart is adding at least one additional Epson model to our sublimation printer selection.  That is the Epson WorkForce 1100.

If you are looking for an inexpensive sublimation printer that can do 13 x 19 prints right out of the box,  then look no further than the Epson WorkForce 1100 Inket Printer.   This is the industry’s first entry level wide format desktop sublimation printer! Improved technology, faster printing speeds, HUGE 13 x 19 prints, and efficient, economical printing with a much improved Quick Connect CISS bulk system from Sawgrass combine to make the Workforce 1100 THE sublimation printer of choice for start-ups needing large sublimation prints.  Save over $200 and buy the printer as part of Enmart’s Epson Workforce WF 1100 Sublimation Package.

The WorkForce 1100 is also a great way to upgrade if you’ve been using an older printer.   If you currently have an older C84, C86, C88, C100, or C120 sublimation system that uses a bulk system, you can upgrade to the WorkForce 1100  and use the SAME Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow ink refill bags you currently have – you just need the new Jet Black refill bag, and a Quick Connect Kit.  If you currently use a Workforce WF 30, you can even use the SAME Quick Connect system – you just need the Jet Black refill bag and you’re all set.

EnMart is also offering a great sublimation combo package featuring the WorkForce 1100.   This package includes the following:

If bought separately,  the items in the package would retail for $949.98.   The Epson Workforce 1100 Sublimation Package will allow you to purchase all the items listed above for the low price of $749.00.   Save money and buy everything you need with this incredibly economical entry-level wide format sublimation combo package!

Get Started with Sublimation: Choosing a Printer

Note: This post is the second in our series “Get Started with Sublimation” which will be co-authored by our sublimation expert, Tom Chambers. In this series we will lead you through the steps you need to take to set up your own sublimation shop and will give you tips that will help ensure you get the right equipment and supplies for your needs. This post deals with choosing the proper printer for your sublimation needs

If you want to be successful with a sublimation business, the first thing to remember is that everything starts with the printer. The printer you elect to use will determine the overall quality of your prints, the size of the items you can sublimate, the speed of your printing, and how many headaches you may have to endure as you work to get the printer printing correctly. Obviously choosing the proper printer is important, but how do you determine which printer is the proper printer for you? Here are three things you should consider.

First, look at the size of the prints you will need. The size of the print is determined by the size of the items you plan to sublimate. Make sure you look at the largest item on your list, as that is the maximum print size your printer will need to create. If your largest item is a license plate or a coffee mug, you won’t need a printer that will print 13 x 19.

Second, consider how often you’ll use the printer and for what. Quality always matters, but so does the rate of usage of the printer and what you’ll be printing. Both Ricoh and Epson printers provide great quality. Epson printers may require more maintenance and more frequent use but (depending on who you ask) the 6 and 8 color models have a very slight edge when it comes to fleshtones and pastels. Epsons are generally preferred by professional photographers. Ricoh printers tend to be faster, generally have very few maintenance issues, can often sit for days or weeks unused without cleanings, and are designed more robustly.

Third, determine the cost of the print. For low to mid level Epsons, ink cartridges are considerably more expensive. Using a bulk system may lower cost, but it can also introduce a whole new set of potential problems into the mix. If you choose to go with a higher end Epson, you can get 8 large size cartridges at a bulk price, without having the headaches that a bulk system might potentially cause. The Ricohs, on the other hand, give you the best of both worlds, four inexpensive cartridges, but enough ink to qualify as large capacity and no need for a bulk ink system. To see more about ballpark price for prints, you can view the EnMart printer comparison and approximate printing cost PDF on the EnMart website.

After you’ve answered the questions and viewed the data, your choice of printer should be fairly simple. Once your printer has been chosen, it’s time to move on to the other major choice you need to make, choosing a heat press. That choice will be the focus of our next “Get Started with Sublimation” post.

Introducing the Ricoh GX e3300N

Every once in a while a product comes along which revolutionizes the way that things are done. Sometimes it’s less costly than what was available before. Sometimes it’s faster. Sometimes it’s both. Whatever the innovation, the new product offers something that wasn’t previously available to the marketplace.

When it comes to sublimation, the Ricoh GX e3300N is that kind of product.

EnMart in association with Sawgrass Technologies, is proud to announce the launch of the Ricoh GX e3300N for sublimation. This is a game-changing breakthrough for the sublimation printing industry, offering a unique combination of price, speed, reliability and extended uninterrupted printing capabilities. The Ricoh GX e3300N easily ranks as the fastest entry-level sublimation printer in the market, producing up to 144 color prints per hour. It is also one of the most economical printers in the industry.

To allow our customers reap the benefits of this new printer, EnMart has created the QuickStartR Sublimation Package. This package, a $449 value, retails for $379. The package includes the Ricoh GX e3300N printer, 1 set (CMYK) of SublijetR ink, 1 pack of Mpress-II 8 1/2 x 14 paper, and 1 USB cable.

EnMart will begin taking pre-orders for packages immediately. Packages are expected to begin shipping on March 1, 2010.