Sublimating onto proof grade acrylic

I saw someone say they used proof grade acrylic and sublimated an image onto the back off the clear acrylic. I tried it and with 400 degrees for 2 minutes on 1/8" acrylic, the acrylic melted and the color barely transferred. Anyone here have any tips for this newbie?

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No help for your particular problem, just a point.
Extruded and Cast acrylic respond very differently to heat (including a focused beam of light - AKA laser).
So not all acrylics are equal to the various challenges.

It’s on my list to do. 400 is far too high and 2 minutes may be too long. My notes have mention of 350 for 1 minute, but that was from someone else so you will have to play around with it…

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I was under the impression that sublimation only works on polyester surfaces?

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In theory, but people have had success subbing onto plain acrylic. I don’t think it’s as bright and the acrylic is prone to bowing, but apparently it can work.

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Assuming you’re using the correct dye (disperse or ‘dye-sub’) with a printer designed to use them, then you shouldn’t have a problem with the correct settings. A quick search shows 190ºC for 60 seconds. You also have to keep the material flat after heating.

Have you done dye sub? Because it’s not always easy to dial in to settings. The thickness of the material, the pressure you’re using, the type of paper you’ve printed on, the type of inks you’ve chosen, and the accuracy of your heat press all come into play. Even the manufacturer’s directions on dye sub specific materials don’t always work properly. It’s definitely an art to get everything right.

Not in several years, my best friend had all the equipment. Once we had figured out what worked, it was repeatable, but it took us a while to get to that point.

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Yes, this is the issue. It is definitely repeatable once you’ve got it down, but getting it down isn’t always trivial.

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