Mugging it up!
Yes, the first time I had to look that one up too. Something about ‘reading’ the freaking manual. Something I am want to do after everything else fails.
So here’s the story.
We recently got a mug press for dye sublimating coffee mugs. Kevin Lumberg From Johnson Plastic (https://www.johnsonplastics.com/) was instrumental in helping us out. (Be sure to check out the dye-sub blanks and imagine the possibilities dye sub has to offer)
This was primarily to do our own coffee mugs for the office and to have mug capabilities. So I ‘read’ the manual, set the press up, did some test prints and sublimated a couple of mugs. Results looked pretty good, so as I am want to do, I had to see just how much I could push the limits of the press size-wise.
I wanted to cover as much of the mug as possible. What I found is that there was a reason there was a
template and that the press, like all presses, has some limitations on the perimeter. And if you get too close to the edge of limitation, it is just not going to sublimate cleanly. There just isn’t enough heat generated to give a clean edge. So I backed off the size and went back to the template.
I made a few ‘personalized’ mugs using my own artwork, after all, personalization is what digital printing and dye sublimation are all about.
And of course, this is where I pushed the limit on the mug press.
RTFM SOME MORE!
The manual clearly states that the mug press needs to be cooled down after extended use. But it doesn’t really state why. So ‘reading’ the manual, can be different from understanding the process. The reason is similar to the edge effect above.
Heat and heat dissipation.
For the edge effect above, there is not enough heat to heat the part of the mug that is not covered by the heating element.
In the base effect below, the bottom of the mug acts as a heat sink drawing heat away from that area giving incomplete dye sublimation. As the whole mug press heats up over an extended time, the thermocouple thinks the ‘mug’ is actually hotter than it really is.
So after letting the heat press cool back down, per the manual, great results are easy to obtain.
As I said, the idea was for us to do mugs for our own use. Ryan Arakaki, our Advertising and Events Manager created some nice artwork for the mugs that included a round feature. However, when sublimated this round feature turned into an oval.
Yes, of course, I could have done the math to determine the amount of distortion expected on a cylindrical surface. http://archive.bridgesmathart.org/2012/bridges2012-513.pdf
And then claimed it was anamorphic art. But instead, I just eyeballed it in Photoshop.
GET HELP FROM A PRO
So I turned these over to Andy Lewellen, our Mar-Com & Promotions Admin who actually did the real work to make our mugs. I think normally, this is where I would provide a link to the Mutoh store where you could buy these mugs, but right now the only way you can use one of these mugs is to stop by our Phoenix location and visit in person.
However, if you have any of our various dye sublimation printers from the VJ-628 Virtuoso (https://www.johnsonplastics.com/sublimation/sublimation-equipment/sublimation-printers/sawgrass-virtuoso-vj628-large-format-sublimation-printer) to the high speed 4 headed 1948WX that I used for my images, all you need is a heat press and some mugs to make your own.
Find out more about our Dye-Sublimation printers by using these links: