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Can you do mugs with a print/cut machine?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by john1, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. john1

    john1 Guest

    I am interested into adding mugs to my list of services and wondered if you can get a type of paper and digitally print the logos or photos on my Roland and then use a mug press to apply them.

    Thanks for any input on getting started making mugs.
     
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  2. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

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    no, you need a sublimation printer. Ricoh GX7000, GX 3050, etc.... and some expensive sawgrass ink.

    I suppose you can load up a large format printer with sublimation ink (large format dysub ink ALOT less expensive) and use a roland or mutoh to print your transfers, but you still need the sublimation ink... not ecosol.
     
  3. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    I would also like to know about this.
     
  4. supaegnt

    supaegnt Member

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    sawgrass/sublimation ink get it done for me.

    i do use epson printer:U Rock:
    i do not get any $ compensation for this response:notworthy:(Fred).
     
  5. anotherdog

    anotherdog Very Active Member

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    yes you can.
    In the same way you can print t-shirt decals for the heat press. You can print the decals to go on mugs and plates. You see the mug heat presses on Ebay. I haven't done it myself, but I have seen it done with what looked to be a standard eco sol VP 300.
     
  6. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    I'm not aware of any way other than sublimation, which as noted, you cannot do with your current Ink.
     
  7. elsignshop

    elsignshop Member

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    its done with sublimation ink, i use a epson 1400 with bulk sublimation ink system, u can make mugs, license plates, mouse pads, t-shirts ( but have to be 100% polyester) 50/50 wont work, light switch cover, and much more. i do all that. great things to sell
     
  8. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

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    Yes, you can print on t-shirt transfer paper on a solvent machine, but I do not think it is the same for a mug.
     
  9. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    As do I. Pretty much the same thing that was mentioned above and the and more. They really do sell fairly well.

    The ink is the damn killer though.

    However, the mugs or any other ceramics have to be treated before hand wtih a special chemical to be able to handle the sub ink. Not all mugs will work. You also(to my knowledge) can't do it after the fact either.
     
  10. elsignshop

    elsignshop Member

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    i have a supplier for the ink that is really cheap and its great ink, can be compared to condes ink. also just one tip go to dollar store and buy the ceramic mugs and try them, cheaper than buying from wholesalers and they work really good. but just buy 1 or 2 and test first tho, (i think there 2 for $1)
     
  11. ShawnLVESP

    ShawnLVESP Member

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    I have an Epson C88+ for sublimation. I got refill cartriges and got some bulk ink for it. It worked out good but i couldnt print anything bigger than 8.5" wide. I used the Sawgrass overpriced ink. They have good ink but paying $80 per non refill cart. per color (4 colors) can get expensive. Even the bulk ink is expensive.
    I bought an Epson 1400 for Sublimation and found a bulk ink supplier who sells the whole ink setup and ink. They call it "Professional" ink and it is also from Germany. I just got this ink and havent done a whole lot with it. Setting up the color profiles took some time but i feel it is worth it because the ink cost is so much cheaper than Sawgrass Inks. I'm paying $13 for 110ml per color (6 colors) compared to Sawgrass at about $85 for 15ml per cartrige per color (6 colors). Oh, and by the way the Bulk Ink System that Sawgrass makes is a waste of money. I wasted more ink trying to get it to work than i got items printed. In my opinion Do Not Get IT. Refilling it is a pain and messy. The "Other" Continuous Ink System I have works nice and isn't messy.
    My other 1400 is for Ink Transfer for soft materials like shirts, bags, mouse pads... I can use this on cottons and 50/50 items. Uses standard inks printed on special paper. It's good but i like Sublimation better.

    If you're interested in adding sublimation to your business email me and I will give you the name of the ink supplier i use. I'm not sure if i can post that info because of the whole sublimation ink wars going on in the US.
     
  12. Haakon

    Haakon Member

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    I have just a small question regarding sublimation printing systems, my vinyl supplier here in Norway has these in their catalogue (epson printers and sawgrass inks), but not a big marked for them over here, so he could not answer my questions.

    I understand that you print your image/design mirrorimaged to a transfer paper, what I am wondering is if just the printed design itself that will stick to the substrate/garment, or will there be a square around it like when you print on cheap photo transfer paper in your ordinary inkjet paper?.

    So if you for example print five 1" dots with 1" in between them, put the whole transfer paper you printed on in the heat press over a shirt, will there be just 5 dots applied with nothing in between and around them? Hopefully this is how the sublimation technique works?
     
  13. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    With sublimation only the ink is transferred to the substrate. There is no polymer transferred at all. However, like heat transfer you are only limited to light color fabrics and even then it's only 100% poly(as was already mentioned).
     
  14. adkmaid

    adkmaid Member

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    you cant sublimate dollar store mugs unless you coat them with something like digicoat and bake them and only sublimation ink will work not ecosol or laser or ink jet dye or pigment......found this out the hardway didnt know there were so many types of ink til i wanted to do mugs.
     
  15. digitalwoodshop

    digitalwoodshop Member

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    I have been doing Sublimation since 2007. The term Sublimation = going from a solid to a gas under pressure and heat to a solid again without becoming a liquid. The printed ink on the paper when in the press goes from a solid to a gas. At 400 degrees the pores of the poly open and accept the gas. Remove the heat and the pores slam shut and lock in the color.

    I made some FRP blanks on my CNC machine the other day and used a 1/16th inch cutting bit to drill the holes for later. That turned out to be a error.... During the pressing, the gas went through the holes to the other side making a mess.... I was able to lightly sand the back to remove the ink and made some samples from the result.

    The paper I use has a clay coating on it that prevents the ink from soaking into the paper like copy paper. Flip the paper over and the ink soaks in and you get poor results.

    I use a Epson 1800 with a bulk ink system. Yes, I have had my share of problems with clogged heads..... I have 4 printers.... I keep the extras with refillable carts with Epson Head Cleaning Solution in them. Makes a quick change possible.

    I do mugs from time to time... Just not a market for me here with them.... I Morphed into more of a Wood Sign Business and Fire Dept Products.

    AL
     
  16. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    One thing I've noticed with stuff along the lines of mugs is that you have to change layout quite a bit. Try to play to people's "collecting stuff" nature.
     
  17. cartoad

    cartoad Active Member

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    Just a word of caution if you are considering the sublimation route, make sure you have enough demand/business to do it. Materials, ink, substrates, and equipment can quickly eat up any profits. We have a Epson 4800 that was purchased for sublimation, constantly had to clean the heads (read buying lots of ink) and most of what we were selling were one or two at a time, so fairly low sales, in relation to time spent talking to customer, design, and production. When the last set of sublimation ink ran out, we converted the printer back to regular inks and plan to attempt to sell it, and the mug press (both heavy so expensive to ship). Did a count on the printer for number of prints, and divided the amount of ink purchased for it and came up with an astonishing cost of $2.30 average cost per sheet of paper printed.

    Early this week I put the Mug press on Craigs List, had one guy call who did not know anything about sublimation, and the other call was from another shop who does sublimation and lots of engraving, he wanted to know if I was getting any bites-------
    because he was getting out of the sublimation business because he was unable to make any money in it either.

    Bottom line, keep your eyes wide open, I am sure some folks are making money, just be aware of all the downsides to it as well.
     
  18. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    That's good advice no matter what area of business that you plan on getting into.
     
  19. Rooster

    Rooster Very Active Member

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    I've stuck regular printed vinyl decals on a coffee mug around the shop (eco-sol inks) and it's been through the dishwasher plenty of times and it still looks like new.

    The best mugs I've ever seen or bought have been screen printed. Every mug I've ever had that was done with dye sub has eventually had the top coating crack and fall off and take the image with it. The screen printed ones have been perfect and far more durable.
     
  20. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    That's strange. I've got a few mugs that I've done for myself and others that have "high mileage" on them and they look just as good as the day I did them. The others that are at least the same age of the ones that I do know, I can't speak for as I don't have any knowledge of how they are now.

    Of course, anything can happen I guess, quality of the mug to begin with, the process done from beginning to end and I think even age of the ink would play a part as well. Lot of variables.

    I'll be keeping my eyes out on the mugs that I can keep up with though and see how they continue to last.
     
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