Sawgrass Chromablast FAQ
Sawgrass ChromaBlast™ Extreme Color Imaging System
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is ChromaBlast™?
ChromaBlast™ is a unique patented ink and media combination driven by powerful print software to create the best cotton imaging system available. As heat and pressure are applied to the cotton, a chemical cross-link with cotton occurs. The result is a customized cotton shirt with soft hand, vibrant color and superior washability.
How does it work?
Easily install the CMYK ink cartridges (1 cartridge for each color) in your Epson® C88, R1800 or 4800 printer. Design your image and preview it in the ChromaBlast™ driver, the proprietary software that is included with your inks, and hit print. When the ChromaBlast™ media is done printing use a heat press to fix the image to the shirt. It is fast, affordable and totally customizable!
What is the cost to produce the image?
Cost is $2.00 to $2.50 for an 8-1/2" x 11" image, plus t-shirt. For an 11"x17" image, image cost is from $2.50 to $4.00, depending on area size. Unlike restrictive screen printing systems, ChromaBlast™ is a digital imaging system. This estimated image cost includes the special ChromaBlast™ transfer paper and the ChromaBlast™ ink. The ChromaBlast™ software driver is included with the system or can be downloaded from the Sawgrass Ink web site.
Do I have to use the ChromaBlast™ transfer paper? Can I use plain paper?
No, you cannot use plain paper. Fully half the patented crosslink technology is embedded in the ChromaBlast™ transfer paper. After printing, when heat and pressure are applied, the ink fuses with crosslink technology on the paper and attaches itself to the cotton t-shirt.
What products do I need to get started?
ChromaBlast™ inks are available for the Epson® C88, R1800 and 4800 printers in convenient and easy to handle, clean CMYK cartridges. The ChromaBlast™ medium is available in two sizes: 8-1/2" x 11" (100 sheets per pack) and 11" x 17" (100 sheets per pack). You will need a heat press, a computer, and a graphic design program.
Can I use other Epson® Printers?
No. ChromaBlast™ inks are available for the Epson® C88, R1800 and 4800 printers only.
What type of heat press is required?
You can use a standard heat press at 375 degrees F at 40 seconds. For faster production, a pneumatic heat press set at 60psi at 375 degrees F for 25 seconds can be used.
What graphic programs can I use?
The free PowerDriver print drivers work with current versions of Adobe Photoshop®, Adobe Illustrator®, and CorelDraw®.
What is so unique about this product?
The key to the ChromaBlast™ digital imaging system is the chemical bonding between the ink and the coating on the media. The areas where the inks and media are touching create a unique chemistry that has a very strong affinity to cotton. When the printer image is applied to the t-shirt with heat, the printed area literally cross links into the cotton molecules. This cross-link has a very strong bond and creates a nearly permanent bond. Remove the paper and the image area is tattooed into the shirt itself. The area around the image has a very light feel that becomes nearly invisible after one wash. The result is a vibrant colorful image on the garment that looks, feels and breathes like nothing else on the market. You now have the ability to print what you need, when you need it. You get all of this from a digital desktop printing system that uses cartridge based, no-mess inks. Best of all, you can use this system right in your facility, office or virtually anywhere by your graphic design or marketing staff.
How does ChromaBlast™ compare to screen printing and old-style transfer paper?
Screen printing uses plastisol ink. It doesn't react with the fibers, like ChromaBlast™, but sticks on the surface of the garment. Screenprinting with plastisol ink creates a heavy, non-breathable image which can crack and peel. Old style transfer papers also use a thermoplastic which has the same problem.
The chemistry behind the ChromaBlast™ digital imaging system consists of active ingredients that react and cross link to the garment fibers when heat is applied. Because the image and garment fibers bond, ChromaBlast™ has a softer, more natural feel and superior wash fastness.
How does this compare to NaturaLink™?
ChromaBlast™1.5 is the latest cotton technology from Sawgrass. It is the next generation compared to NaturaLink™ Ink, an upgrade, if you will. You don't have to pre-treat the garment. Instead of printing the clear toner, the chemistry is incorporated onto the coating of the ChromaBlast™ media. ChromaBlast™ will save you time and money over NaturaLink™.
How does this compare to NaturaLink™ and the Sawgrass DirectAdvantage™?
Because you use off-the-shelf Epson printers, the ChromaBlast™ is an affordable system for those looking to enter the digital decorating business at a lower cost. Or, a high volume shop can use ChromaBlast™ as a lower volume option for smaller orders. The ChromaBlast™ system does not require a flatbed printer... it uses a transfer paper system, so the initial cost of entry is substantially lower over a direct to garment system.
The DirectAdvantage™ fueled by NaturaLink™ is a higher volume system solution. It is the cotton printing system that printers have demanded. It offers a high quality low cost image. But, at $16,995, it has a higher cost of entry. ChromaBlast™ using standard Epson® printers offers high quality at a much lower cost of entry.