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Can You Sublimate on Aluminum?

Can you sublimate on aluminum?

Sublimation on aluminum sheets, photo panels, bottles, and metals, is perfect for presenting your art, photography, designs, etc. An excellent display for your wall, exhibition/museum, or gifting it to your family and friends,  printed aluminum panels are tough and long-lasting.

Aluminum photo panels are perfect for displaying your photos with beautiful vibrant colors in high resolution.

Can you Sublimate on Aluminum? You cannot sublimate on any aluminum or metal unless explicitly treated for sublimation printing. It has a glossy polyester coating. That infuses the dye ink into the sheet. You can get specially treated with gloss, matte, and semi-gloss coated aluminum and metal panels with sublimation blank suppliers.

What is Sublimation Printing on Aluminium?

Sublimation printing is transferring ink from one surface to another using heat and pressure. Here the ink is transferred from the printed transfer to the aluminum panel.

The recommended aluminum sublimation temperature is 385 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and heat press for approximately 60 to 90 seconds. The pressure should be medium. i.e., 40 psi.

Top 5 Sublimation Aluminum Blanks, Metals & Signs:

The aluminum blanks are best for sublimation printing. Get all details on available colors, sizes, sellers, and prices below:

1. Sublimation Aluminum Sheet:

Sublimation Aluminum Sheet

The sublimation sheet is primarily available in aluminum, brass, and stainless steel. The sublimation metal sheets have mostly industrial applications such as good manufacturers, steel manufacturing industries, engineering parts, automobile industries, construction boards, etc. The corrosion-resistant plate is excellent for sublimation printing, silk screen printing, and engraving.

  • Colors: Available in one-sided/two-sides glossy finish white, silver, gold, red, purple, yellow, brown, blue, green, etc
  • Size: The available sizes are 12″ x 24″ and 11.75″ x 23.25″. And its thickness is 0.38mm to 0.76mm
  • Sellers: Conde, JPPlus, BestBlanks, SepsGraphics,
  • Price: $8 – $40 per piece. The price depends upon the type and color of the metal.

2. Photo Panel:

Aluminum Business Card

Aluminum photo panels are great for indoor and outdoor signage, photography display, and home decor. The panels are blended with gloss, matte and semi-gloss finish ideal for printing high color and fade-resistant images.

  • Colors: Available in one-sided gloss white
  • Size: Sizes available in the range of 8″ x 12″ to  11″ x 23″. Its thickness is 1.143mm.
  • Sellers: Conde, CoastalBusines, BestBlanks, Heatpressnation, SepsGraphics, JPPlus
  • Price: $2 – $15 per piece

3. Aluminum Business Card:

Aluminum Business Card

The anodized aluminum business card for sublimation printing gives a premium feel and perfectly represents your identity, business, or profession. It is excellent for advertising. Moreover, you can print on both sides of the card.

  • Colors: Available in two-sided gloss white
  • Size: The available sizes are 2″ x 3.5″, 2″ x 3-1/2″, etc with rounded corners. You can order custom sizes too. Its thickness is 1.14mm.
  • Sellers: Conde, CoastalBusines, BestBlanks, Heatpressnation, SepsGraphics
  • Price: $1 – $2 per piece

4. License Plate:

License Plate

The sublimation license plate frame is typically a metal including aluminum, zinc, and carbon fiber. The custom license plate is for vehicles. Moreover, it is also great for advertisement, nameplates sports, and gifts.

  • Colors: Available in one-sided gloss white and silver.
  • Size: Sizes available in the range of 6.5″x12.25″. Its thickness is 0.762mm.
  • Sellers: CoastalBusines, BestBlanks, HeatpressNation, SepsGraphics, JPPlus
  • Price: $5 – $6 per piece

5. Name Badge:

Name Badge

The sublimation name badge is made in aluminum, frost brass, or nickel. It is suitable to print product display labels name badges for company employees, team members, and participants.

  • Colors: Available in white, silver, and gold
  • Size: The available sizes are 2″x3.5″, 3 x 1.5, 1.5″ x 3″, 1″ x 3″, etc with rounded corners. You can order custom sizes too. Its thickness is 0.76mm.
  • Sellers: Conde, CaostalBusines, Unisub, BestBlanks, heatpressnation, SepsGraphics
  • Price: $1 – $2 per piece

6. Aluminum Trophy Disc:

Aluminum Trophy Disc

The round aluminum sublimation blanks or trophy discs are excellent for name badges mounted on a trophy.

  • Colors: Available in white, silver, bronze, and gold aluminum plates.
  • Size: The discs are 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter(round). And its thickness is 0.030 inches.
  • Sellers: Conde, Unisub, BestBlanks, ChromeLuxe, SepsGraphics
  • Price: $0.98 – $13 per piece

7. Tag Plate:

Tag Plate

The aluminum tag plate has various shapes: rectangular, bone-shaped(pet tag), fire hydrant shaped, car tags, circle metal, etc. The sublimation tag plates are perfect as a name tag, heart-shaped locket, and gifts.

  • Colors: Available in one-sided/two-sided glossy finish white and silver.
  • Size: Sizes available in the range of 3.8cm x 2.5cm, 3.1cm x 3.2cm, 3.2cm x 3.3cm and 3.2cm x 3.5cm. Its thickness is 1.14mm.
  • Sellers: Conde, CoastalBusines, BestBlanks, HeatpressNation, SepsGraphics, JPPlus
  • Price: $1 – $1.5 per piece

Sublimation on Aluminium Printing Instructions:

Follow the process from beginning to the end and the materials you need for the dye sublimation printing on aluminum.

To print on aluminum panels you need:

  1. Aluminum panel:  Chromaluxe sublimation aluminum photo panel is recommended. Pull back the film from the metal before printing
  2. Sublimation printer/inkjet printer with compatible sublimation inks.
  3. Two sheets of Teflon papers
  4. Sublimation transfer paper: There are two types of sublimation paper. One is light, and another is dark transfer paper. Light transfer paper is suitable for sublimating aluminum.
  5. Heat press machine: Flatbedheat press is best for aluminum sublimation printing
  6. Heat resistant tape
  7. Safety gloves

Sublimation Printing Instructions:

Step 1:

To sublimate on metal, you begin the process by creating an image, graphics, or artwork using design software like CorelDraw or Adobe photoshop. You can do it with any graphic design software. Ensure that:

The image is high resolution, with correct ICC color profiles. It helps achieve good quality prints.
The print is slightly larger than the substrate, about 1/8 inches from all sides.

Printing Tips:

Use the following media settings common to most graphic design software.

  1. Select the appropriate media sizing, or size of your image
  2. Set the proper media thickness.
  3. Set your print resolution to 300dpi(recommended). 600 dpi is the hight quality but slows down the printing speed.
  4. Select the appropriate layout, i.e., height and width adjustment
  5. Make sure to mirror the image before printing
  6. RIP(Raster Image Processing) the print file and print

Step 2:

Print out the images on transfer paper using a sublimation printer. If there is a plastic coating on the paper, remove it before placing it into the printer tray.

Step 3:

Preheat the heat press. Set the temperature of the heat press to 400F(200°C), keep the pressure settings to medium, and set time for 1 minute.

Step 4:

Once the heat press temperature reaches 400,  place a sheet of protective paper on the bottom platen of the heat press. Lie the printed transfer, the print side facing up. Now, place the aluminum panel face down over the printed image. Use heat tape to keep the image secured to its position. Place another sheet of protective paper on the top, lower the upper heat press platen, and begin the sublimation process.

Step 5:

After the time is up, lift the heat-press, quickly but gently lift the aluminum panel up and away from the transfer paper. The metal will be scorching. Perform it smoothly to prevent any blurring of ink. While performing this step, use heat-resistant gloves.

Final Words:

Earlier, people assumed that sublimation printing is done only on t-shirts, coffee mugs, jerseys, promo products, etc. But sublimation designs are also unique on metals, aluminum plates, photo panels, etc.

Several different aluminum sheets can be sublimated using the same process we discussed above.

Related Questions:

Can we sublimate any metal?

You can sublimate metal if it is has a polyester coating. Because the ink fuses with the polyester. With such a layer, the ink is likely to peel off post-sublimation.

Can you sublimate on aluminum sheets?

Yes, you can sublimate on aluminum sheets but it shouldn’t be larger than the size of your heat press.

Which is the best heat press for sublimation on aluminum?

The flatbed heat press is best for sublimation on aluminum.

READ:  Can You Do Sublimation Printing at Home?

Written by Davis Brown

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