Fabric Printing with Cricut
Cricut’s new Infusible Ink is opening hobbyist’s eyes to many new applications which are possible using this new “wonder” ink. Cricut users are flocking to Michael’s to pick up their Infusible Ink and Transfer Sheet test kits to determine if what is being offered is as amazing as many of the Cricut’s Influencers seem to think. The initial reaction has been good until users really start to understand what they are buying. Once a user determines that the Infusible Pens are only capable of imaging outlines and that the Infusible Transfer Sheets are extremely expensive and limited to the designs offered by Cricut, the natural reaction will be to start seeking a real solution.
We have great news. InkjetBiz (IJB) has something far better–a full system for printing fabrics with running costs far less expensive than Cricut’s Infusible product with far more capabilities, and it works great with Cricut’s DesignStudio software. IJB’s offering provides far more flexibility, higher printing speed, less waste, exponentially more colors and with the Cricut imaging costs being 1800% more expensive, incredible value.
How to Work wth Cricut DesignStudio Software
The Cricut software is called DesignStudio. DesignStudio is an easy-to-use software package for creating and designing files for cutting. The only problem is that a cutter can only cut out outlines and of course does not provide the capability to print.
You may ask, “how can I print?” The answer is simple. IJB has created a process for using DesignStudio front end software to drive the EPSON ET series printers. This process allows a user to image beautiful files from Designer with the ultimate goal of printing exquisite dye sub images for transfer to polyester fabrics.
What Do You Need?
In order to image fabrics using the DesignStudio software, you will need four components:
- SubliMate Dye Sub Ink
- SubliMate Dye Sub Paper
- Heat Press
- EPSON ET Series Printer
Fabric transfers, or dye sublimation transfers, use dye sublimation ink for transferring to polyester fabrics or polyester coated products. The process includes printing a digital file with dye sublimation ink to a special type of paper (low cost) with a special coating for transferring virtually all of the ink to the polyester garment or coated product. The transfer occurs by using heat, i.e., a heat press. This process is called dye sublimation.
For a quick overview of the dye sublimation process, the printer using dye sublimation ink prints to dye sub paper. The paper is then placed on top of the substrate in which the ink is to be transferred. A heat press heats the dye sub ink to the point where the ink is no longer a solid, but a gas. The gas is transferred to the substrate and as it cools down, it actually dyes the substrate. It is an incredible process.
SubliMate Dye Sub Ink
Our SubliMate Dye Sub ink was originally launched to be used only by the world’s most professional and industrial large format dye sub printers. After careful testing we found that we could offer industrial capabilities on the desktop–the only ink provider able to do this. In fact, we are one of the only companies providing ink specifically developed for EPSON’s super advanced Micro TFP print heads. This ink is USA made in the middle of the Silicon Valley with the highest quality components available.
Pricing for our SubliMate Dye Sub Ink is $49 per 140 mil bottles.
SubliMate Dye Sub Paper
We developed a unique coating which used with our dye sub transfer paper. The paper is low cost, but extremely capable. Over 95% of the dye sublimation ink is transferred due to the special coating used on our dye sub paper. This means the image will be absolutely brilliant with dense colors.
Pricing for our SubliMate Dye Sub Paper is $13 for 110 sheets of 8.5”x 11” paper and $25 for 110 sheets of 11”x 17”.
EPSON ET Series
IJB works exclusively with EPSON ET series of printers launched last year. These series of printers have the most advanced desktop imaging capability available with their Micro TFP print head and prints a full color image in about 12 seconds. Pricing for these printers range from about $200 to $1,000. The price differences are the sizes and the amount of colors a user has available for use.
We have three units which we recommend, as follows:
- ET-2700 Four Colors 8.5”x 11” $220*
- ET-7750 Five Colors 11”x 17” $649*
- ET-16500 Four Colors 13”x 19” $899*
The pricing above is from Amazon and can fluctuate slightly. We recommend that you buy the printer directly, but advise you to not install the ink which comes with the printer.
CADLink RIP Software
For those who are unfamiliar with RIPs, it is an acronym for raster imaging processor. Normally the RIP is software, as is the case for CADLink, and it processes graphics files produced digitally. The file is converted into data which is used by the printer for imaging the file. If the file is not complex, then a RIP may not be needed. In the situation where a file has colors beyond CMYK, such as Neon Yellow, then CADLink’s RIP will be required.
The CADLink RIP lists for $495 and is required for use with the ET-7750 when using Neon Yellow as part of the mix.
IJB offers a variety of heat presses from Insta Graphics, Hotronix and our own brand. In order for the dye sublimation process to work you will need a good quality heat press.
A Recommended System
You can get started for an investment of less than $450 including the printer, ink, paper and color profiles. A system like this would be comprised of:
- 4 140 Ml Bottles of SublIMate Dye Sub Ink
- 110 Sheets of 8.5”x11” SubliMate Dye Sub Paper
- EPSON ET-2700 Printer
- ICC Color Profiles
We are assuming with the above configuration that you already have a heat press.
Why is the IJB System Better than Cricut Infusible?
The IJB SubliMate system offers the following advantages:
- High Speed Full Color Imaging Up to One 8.5”x 11” Page per Twelve Seconds
- Millions of Colors
- Virtually Any Image Can Be Transferred
- No More Weeding Paper
- Freedom from Paying Exorbitant Prices for Transfer Sheets and Pens
- Elimination of Damaged Pens
- Extremely Low Imaging Cost
Here are some of the challenges of using the Infusible Ink:
- Pens are Easily Damaged by the Cricut Cutter
- Limited Ink in the Pens
- Pens Limited to Line Drawings
- Must Use Transfers Sheets for Fill-ins
- Only Ten Colors
- High Cost of Ink per Copy
- Freehand Drawing must be Drawn Backwards Due to the Transfer Process
- Limited Fill-in Capabilities
- No Picture File Imaging
IJB SubliMate is the Best Solution for the Cricut
Without a doubt combining our SubliMate Dye Sub system with the Silhouette Designer software is a far better solution than the Cricut solution.
Without a doubt combining our SubliMate Dye Sub system with the Cricut software is a far better solution than the Cricut Infusible solution. For more information please feel free to call InkJetBiz at 1-408-394-7595, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.inkjetbiz.com
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