Dye Sublimation Printing

It's like print and aluminum mount had a genius baby.

Dye sublimation printing has been around for a long time, beginning with its use in the textile industry. By 2005, manufacturers in the photo industry began using the process to make metal prints, as well as printing on wood, ceramic, and other novelty items. The first prints were low resolution, glossy, and had a flashy look that consumer labs picked up on. While there was great commercial success with it, fine art printers like myself didn't care for the lack of subtlety.

Then a company called Universal Woods invented a new coating, which they called Chromaluxe®. It could be applied to aluminum, wood, or laminates and was both lightfast and durable. Recently, Epson made advances in its dye sub printing technology, improving the sharpness and the quality of the transfer printing. KAS was not the first fine art printer to use this technology. We watched and waited while the initial technologies sorted themselves out. This spring, we launched our dye sublimation printing facilities using the latest and best equipment for a state of the art printing lab.

I am personally excited about this new technology. The prints we are making with this process have a unique, dimensional quality while also having lightfast archival characteristics that go beyond traditional lab chromogenic prints.

This process starts with a dye inkjet print onto transfer paper. The paper is then loaded into our heat press with the specially coated Chromaluxe® metal. Under high temperature (400˚F) and pressure, the dye is transferred permanently into the coating. Dye sublimation prints are durable because the dyes are below the coated surface, resulting in a fade-and-scratch resistant piece. The aluminum is .045 inches thick, which can stand alone or be backed with any of our substrates, braced, or framed.

Standard:

These are like white paper and come in these finishes:

  • White Gloss: high-gloss, glossy finish.
  • White Semi-Gloss: non-glare semi-gloss finish.
  • White Matte: non-glare and non-reflective finish.

Special Order:

  • Aluminum Matte: Transparent non-glare coating; the brushed metal shows through light and white areas of the image.
  • Aluminum Glossy: Transparent glossy coating; the brushed metal shows through light and white areas of the image.

In addition to the standard sizes, there is the option of computer controlled cutting (CNC cutting) to any shape.