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  • Starting mug printing and looking for advice?

    Posted by AmeaNicholas on January 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm


    I’m new to this forum and for a long time have been wanting to get a mug printing machine (sublimation) as I work with many schools and we’re always looking for ideas to give either as gifts or prizes for kids and teachers, and helpers, and a mug with a message would go along well either as a main gift or as a second gift.

    I know very little about mug printing except that I have seen a machine on (mod-edit) for around £89 which someone mentioned to me, but they also said I need mugs which are coated, ink and a few other items which make the startup cost a little costly but they are items needed.

    I’m not sure what to buy though. I want to get the lowest prices for the coated mugs and so on, but is there a guide for newbies? I am saving for the machine as I may sell some in the future so would like my own machine but I need to know how much I actually need for this.

    Robert Neill replied 8 years, 5 months ago 15 Members · 22 Replies
  • 22 Replies
  • Denise Goodfellow

    January 7, 2012 at 11:17 pm


    My advise would be to buy the whole package, not individual items.

    You will need a printer filled with sublimation ink.
    mug press
    and mugs of course.

    expect to lose quite a few in the beginning until you get the hang of it.
    buy quality mugs, there should be little price difference, cheaper mugs will not give as good results.

    The same can be said with the equipment, my mug press was £350 albeit many years ago, but still working well

  • Earl Smith

    January 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Agree with Denise 100%. If you buy cheap mugs they wont work. The Polyester coating will come off after a few washes. Spend 30p more and get quality. Start out by disappointing you customers and they will never come back.
    Printer, try the Richoh A4 with subli setup and as Denise said, get a reasonably good heat press. Spend around 700 pounds on the whole lot and you shouldnt go wrong.
    Good luck.

  • AmeaNicholas

    January 8, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Thank you both for you replies.

    I really didn’t think it would cost £700 but it makes sense. I saw a mug press (recommended by someone else who has a mug printing business) and thought it won’t cost more than £200 for the start.

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  • Ian Pople

    January 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

    You are not going to get a sub ink and printer for under £300


  • Neil Speirs

    January 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Buy cheap buy twice 🙁

  • AmeaNicholas

    January 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    That makes sense. Thank you everyone for your replies. Would you be able to recommend where to buy the whole package from?

  • Neil Speirs

    January 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Novachrome and xpres are worth contacting

  • Mo Gillis-Coates

    January 9, 2012 at 12:20 am

    the magic touch are good too, speak to david

  • Ronnie Roberts

    January 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    There are ways of reducing the setup costs by buying an epson and rigging your own CIS. I have a few setup like this and its the most economical way forward. However, the downside is that CIS can be temperamental and epson seems to make it as awkward as possible. I’ve tended to chop bits of bridging plastic off my A3 epsons to relieve some of the problems caused by 6-tubes not wanting to nicely curl under plastic-do-nothing-bridges. If you have a nice warm office and are lucky enough to get a CIS system with really nice pliable pipe, you probably will never have this problem.

    Inks,,, If you are not using a large format printer, you are supposed to using Sawgrass. Recent court decisions have allowed competition to trade very happily sublimation inks in liter bottles which is fine for wide format people. There’s obviously a grey area of folk who don’t always follow all the rules. HOWEVER,, if you get bad ink, you’ll get terrible results which will not last!

    Mugs… I’ve tried cheap ones from ebay. Sadly will not buy them again. I now only use mugs from xpres. They work, they last and the quality is reasonably consistent. While they are advertised as dishwasher proof, always discourage that, because some dishwashers steam clean so hot they will eventually destroy the print.

    Mug press. You don’t have to use a mug press to sublimate mugs. I do personally, but there are things call sublimation mug wraps that are used by people who prefer to use an oven. These folk typically do bigger volumes at a time obviously.

    Paper. You can have the best inks in the world and fantastic printer, but if you don’t use the right paper your results might not be what you expect. Until you know what’s what, use xpres sublimation paper.

    Tape… Be careful with the heat tape. Sometimes the stuff leaves a stain or residue. Very annoying. Ask questions before you buy.

    Good Luck… PRINT STRAIGHT with nice even spacing top and bottom, no nasty ghost smudges caused by fingers touching the print while you cut it up!

  • Lorraine Clinch Lorraine Clinch

    January 13, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Wow! Very good advice from Ronnie.

    Mug printing can be an absolute PITA if you don’t get it right, as I well know after spending rather a lot of money on an A3 set-up, which has been sitting unused for 21 of the 24 months since I bought it.

    However, I know that there are lots of people here who are very successful at sub printing, just don’t think it’s going to be a fast-track to untold wealth! 😕


  • John Gregson

    January 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Why’s it sat unused Lorraine?

  • Lorraine Clinch Lorraine Clinch

    January 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    John, I took too much new technology on in a short space of time, resulting in not having enough time to properly learn sublimation, also not marketing it properly, so wasn’t being used regularly, resulting in the head needing lots of TLC when I did want to use it….

  • Steve Underhill

    January 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I use a DF10 mug press from BMS
    It has pressed well over 1000 mugs on its first heat blanket and was about £200, My printer is a GX7000 Ricoh A3/A4 dye sub printer no CIS system just cartridges, easy to replace last ages and never leak or get bubbles in it and that was about £950 you can get an A4 version including ink for about £550 frpm Xpres,
    Paper from Xpres is a tenner and is very good.

    So long as your profiles are set up correctly you cant go wrong with this printer, there are better mug presses out there but this one has performed faultlessly for years

    so buy cheap buy twice isnt always true but it is when ink and printer are concerned

  • John Gregson

    January 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I’m quite surprised that the heads blocks – i’ve got the A4 5050n and can leave it ages without problem.

    I’d keep at it, aslong as your using good paper, and mugs, there’s nothing to learn, especially with a Ricoh – press print, stick it to mug, give it 3 mins, and bobs ya uncle.

  • Steve Underhill

    January 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Hey John, I got my sublimation mugs down to 2 mins now with no loss of colour or fidelity. Using the A3 ricoh. I found that if left longer the heat tape from Grafityp left brown stains you cant remove so had to reduce the time

  • John Gregson

    January 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Steve,
    I under cook mine too – my settings are around 150 @ 150 with BMS mugs, coralgraph or xpres tape, and xpres paper. Come out a treat.

    edit: timings do depend on where you get your mugs from, mugs from other suppliers and I might have to revert back to the 3 minutes.

    I’ll try your 2 mins and see what the out come is!

  • Steve Underhill

    January 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    My mugs are Xpres super white, heat tape from grafityp, paper from xpres and the ricoh gel sublimation ink

  • Ken Tran

    April 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Hi guys, I’m currently printing from an epson 1400 with Ricoh inks and sublimation paper from coralgraph.

    I just wondered how long do you wait for the paper to dry after printing before pressing?

    I was told to do it asap, which I try most of the time – There are times where I left it for a day.

    The results seem fine but I may be wrong as I have not tested them to any extent.

    Once complete, after removing the paper – how much ink residue is normally left on the paper – mine seems a lot.

    I have yet to try other papers, but I’ve seen some ‘HD’ paper which looks good.

  • Gordon Galloway

    April 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve had some sitting around for over a year and they have pressed perfectly.

  • Paul Williamson paul williamson

    August 9, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    so as a guide where would you guys direct me, I’m mega confused when it comes to programs software hardware in fact i don’t have a clue if anyone can help it would be appreciated, i have looked at a company called printyou they offer a package for £1095 and wonder if it’s good value for money considering they offer the basic training with it

    What’s Included:

    HP/Compaq Windows 7 Laptop
    Software Pack – PhotoShop Elements 13
    Stand Alone Pro Mug Heat Press
    Epson XP Printer
    Continuous Ink System & 100ml of each colour of Ink
    Comprehensive Training
    Extras Pack

    Hp/Compaq Laptop

    We use windows 7 for optimum performnce, we feel its better than all of the other operating systems including 8
    Software Installed
    Printer Installed
    3GB Ram – 160g Hard Drive or Greater

    Software Pack

    Photoshop Elements 13 – Fully Licenced Lifetime Version

    Pro Mug Press Machine

    Easy to use pressure adjustable
    Digital Control Interface
    Grade A Heat Element
    0 – 245c Temperature Range
    0 – 999 Seconds Time Range
    Top Quality Design
    Can be used for other items of the same shape such as money jars and thermal cups etc
    Power Cable

    Epson XP Printer

    Compact in size – save space and time
    Mobile printing with wifi and email
    Easy to connect through usb or wirelessly (USB Included)
    Individual Inks – Only replace colours used
    Crisp and Clear Printing

    Continuous Ink System With Ink

    Updated chip interface
    400ml ink capacity – 100ml of each colour CYMB
    One metre flow tubes
    Full bung and airflow system
    Installation Instructions and Help Sheet
    400ml of ink included

    Comprehensive Training

    Full Basic Software Demonstration to include building templates, working with layers, importing designs + much more
    We Build a few mug templates using photoshop elements and we will show you some nifty tricks of the trade
    We show you how to set the printer up for optimum performance and we print out the mug templates that we have made
    We then make the mugs using the heat press machine and show you the basic controls and how to set the times/temp etc
    We then explain a few other operations and give some helpful tips for you going forward
    You then have the opportunity to go over anything that concerns you and ask any questions

  • Colin Crabb

    August 11, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Personally I’d go for a Ricoh ‘gel’ ink printer (we have 2 of them, SG3110) – If unused for awhile the ink doesn’t dry in the printhead, which is a possibility with the Epson.

    Mug Press – Go for a multi mug press, not a single mug-a-time type if your thinking of doing more than 10 a time (takes 180 seconds per mug, if your doing 100+ batches, that’s a lot of waiting around…). Single type is fine if its singles / very short custom runs.

    Software – Photoshop is fine, but text will be rasterised (edges will not be 100% smooth), not really an issues with the size of mugs – Personally I’d go for Illustrator. (Adobe Creative Cloud or buy CS4 on Fleabay).

    Training – not much to it! Design mug… print design in reverse (If using Ricoh, the powerdriver takes care of it for you).
    Tape to mug. Bake! – Okay that’s simplifying it, but its not that hard.

    Just my view 😉

  • Robert Neill

    September 3, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Colin….see your gel ink printers, do you just use the gel ink that is for it or have you changed it to a sublimation ink ?


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