Sublimation for making replica clock glasses

Jim Burghart

NAWCC Member
Jan 27, 2004
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The process of sublimation is technically when a solid becomes a gas without becoming a liquid in between. That said, I have started using this technology to print great reproduction glass for my clocks. The results a similar to a custom printed mug that is dishwasher safe.

This requires a dedicated printer with special ink, special paper, special coating, and a heat press. I posted this to the NAWCC Facebook page and there seemed to be some interest in the process.

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PatH

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Hi, Jim. This sounds like an interesting process. Can you tell us more about what is required and whether it's feasible for the average clock owner to attempt? Thanks!

Pat H.
 

Jim Burghart

NAWCC Member
Jan 27, 2004
129
6
18
Upstate NY
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Region
Hi, Jim. This sounds like an interesting process. Can you tell us more about what is required and whether it's feasible for the average clock owner to attempt? Thanks!

Pat H.
You need a dedicated sublimation printer with special ink, a heat press, a substrate with a polyester coating, and a special paper.
The heat press heats the ink which turns from a solid to a gas, bypassing the liquid state, similar to dry ice. Under pressure, the gas is absorbed by the polyester coating and becomes a vibrant and durable image. It is the same idea as dishwasher-safe mugs and plates. Almost any surface can be used, wood, metal, ceramic, glass, and many more.
The challenge with reverse painting is getting the polyester coating on the glass. I use a product called Subliglaze, which comes in clear, white, and translucent. It comes in a rattle can aerosol spray that can be applied to almost anything. I use the clear if the painting has a pendulum opening and white if there are no clear spots in the image. Translucent requires the image to be applied to the front of the glass and doesn't work for reverse painting, it does nicely for a dial.
The process goes like this.
To find or create an image, I use Photoshop to clean up images.
Prepare the glass or any substrate, by applying the Subliglaz or another coating according to the manufactures instructions, some require an oven to cure the coating.
Print your image on sublimation paper.
Position the image on the glass with the ink side to the coated side of the glass and secure it with heat tape.
Press and enjoy.
I'm sure I missed something, but that's the basic idea.
I purchase Subligaze from SEPS Graphics.
The ink comes from Inkowl. They also offer the conversion kit for my Epson printer.
Ink
Paper
I think you could find a T-shirt shop, trophy store, or print shop that could print and press an image, I live far from civilization so having my own setup made sense.
I hope this helps.

I have been having health issues that make it hard to work on things that require dexterity, so this is my attempt to keep doing something.

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PatH

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Thanks, Jim. You have certainly achieved some attractive tablets, and it's interesting that this process can be used for so many different items and surfaces.
 

Muse en Cuenca

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Nov 11, 2020
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What does the back of the tablet look like? Truly like reverse painted glass?
 

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