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Sublimation tumbler printing is a process used to apply designs, patterns, or images onto tumblers. Here’s how it generally works:

  1. Sublimation Process: Sublimation is a chemical process where a solid turns into a gas without passing through a liquid state. In printing, sublimation involves using special dyes that, when heated, turn into a gas and bond with the material’s polymers.

  2. Preparation: The tumbler surface needs to be specially coated with a polyester-based polymer. This coating is crucial because sublimation dyes can only bond with polyester or polymers containing polyester.

  3. Printing: The desired design is printed onto a special transfer paper using sublimation ink. This ink is formulated to transfer from a solid to a gas without a liquid phase.

  4. Heat Transfer: The printed design on the transfer paper is wrapped around the tumbler, ensuring it covers the entire surface where the design is desired. The tumbler and paper are then placed into a heat press.

  5. Heat Pressing: Heat and pressure are applied using the heat press machine. This causes the sublimation ink on the transfer paper to turn into a gas and permeate the polymer coating on the tumbler. As it cools, the ink re-solidifies and becomes a permanent part of the tumbler’s surface.

  6. Finishing: After the heat press process, the transfer paper is removed, leaving behind a vibrant, durable, and scratch-resistant design on the tumbler.

Sublimation tumbler printing is favored for its ability to produce high-quality, full-color prints that are durable and long-lasting. It’s commonly used for customizing tumblers with personalized designs, logos, or artwork. The process requires specialized equipment and materials designed for sublimation printing.

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