Are you looking to start with sublimation printing but unsure about to start? Well, you can take the first step by investing in the Sawgrass SG-500 printer. And don’t get me wrong here.
The Sawgrass SG-500 is not just a sublimation printer for beginners. It is equally useful to a professional. And today, I will help you navigate this excellent gadget, shedding light on the best possible settings and everything else to get you started on your path to sublimation.
Note: I would first do a quick review of the Sawgrass SG-500 before heading over to the ideal print settings.
Sawgrass SG-500 review: top-of-the-line and plug-and-play
Let me quickly give you an impression of how this sublimation printer felt to me:
The Sawgrass SG-500 is built sleek, making it a perfect fit for smaller workspaces. And the UI is quite easy to wrap your head around.
If you seek color trueness, this printer from Sawgrass is an excellent fit. The Sawgrass Ink Set makes life easier and even offers consistent prints — helping most if you are a professional DIY artist.
If you are a DIY artist, all you seek is speed. The Sawgrass SG-500 covers you just right in this aspect, with a 45-second done-and-dusted time limit for an 8.5” x 11” image.
Therefore, if you are into high-volume production, this might just be the printer for you.
Some of the other cool specs that add to the print speed include no need for installing a separate color profile and zero requirements associated with print alignment.
The Sawgrass SG-500 is one of the few printers to offer Ethernet, USB, and wireless support. The slew of connectivity specs add to the seamless usage and optimizes your workflow in no time.
Firstly, the Sawgrass SG-500 is one of the few printers to offer auto maintenance mode. This way, you have one less thing to worry about while taking care of the device. Plus, you get two years’ worth of warranty followed by coverage extending even to the parts. The customer support is top-notch, available round the clock, and assists you promptly with any issue whatsoever.
Every printer requires some sort of software support. For Sawgrass SG-500, it is the proprietary creative studio software. If you are a beginner, I would recommend you work with the proprietary program instead of the other compatible options like Gravit, Canva, and even Inkscape.
Notice that I didn’t specifically mention the print settings here. Well, here is a separate section talks about the print functionality and every other aspect of the same.
Related: read our guide to the best sublimation printers of the year right here.
Basic print settings to know
Sawgrass SG-500 offers a diverse range of print settings that include but aren’t limited to:
- Color management: SawGrass’s in-house VPM or the Virtuoso Print Manager lets you work with advanced color management settings in case you are interested in taking your printing explorations to the next level.
- Print modes galore: If you are willing to play around with the settings, there are high-speed and high-quality modes to explore. They can cater to some of the most demanding printing needs.
- Custom profiles: Sublimation isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. Sawgrass SG-500 helps you work with custom ICC color profiles to ensure that every substrate gets the color flavor and output it deserves.
- Enhanced resolution: With Sawgrass SG-500, you can procure prints going all the way up to 4800 x 1200 DPI. Therefore, if you want high-quality prints, this printer is the one to go with.
- Self-cleaning: Even though this doesn’t exactly qualify as a print setting, it does make your job easier. The Sawgrass SG-500 comes equipped with a self-cleaning printing head that avoids clogging and speeds up prints further.
Now that I have discussed the print setting highlights let me take you through the exact sublimation setup using the SG-500
- Start by inserting the right ink cartridges. Be careful and follow a tutorial if you might. I would personally prefer the SubliJet-UHD ink cartridges as they have a history of not leaking.
- Once done, you can fit the TruPix sublimation paper into the tray (with no alignment stress). Make sure the right side faces the cartridge and is mirrored.
- Plug the printer in and turn it on. Read the manual to know exactly where the button is.
- At this point, you will need the software to be installed on your PC. It can be the Creative Studio or the Virtuoso Print Manager, depending on your preferences. You can head over to the software.sawgrassink.com/software for the same.
- This is where you start with a test print. The idea here is to open the software that you already installed, create a test design (or upload a PNG), and hit print.
- Once the test prints are out, you can head over to the configuration settings and choose between “High quality” or “High speed,” depending on your needs. In case you prefer more vibrant colors, choosing the“Vivid” mode makes sense.
Once the actual print is out, you would need to prepare the heat press — Cricut or EasyPress — to transfer the same onto the substrate. You need to prep the same depending on the substrate you are dealing with. However, heating the press at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 seconds might do the job.
Related: Heat press time temperature guide
The next step should be to place the image onto the substrate and secure the same with heat-resistant tapes.
A tip here is to place butcher paper atop the print to avoid blowouts.
Now comes the actual heat pressing, where you might need to go close to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, with the time anywhere between 30 to 60 seconds.
You can use a pair of tweezers to pull out the paper and let the design show. One word of advice would be to let the arrangement cool down for a few seconds before you pull the paper out.
And that sums up everything there is related to the print settings associated with the SG-500.
A quick wrap-up of features
Availability: 10/10 (You can get it from a bunch of online and offline retailers)
Durability: 8/10 (The body feels robust enough, barring the flimsy-looking tray)
Price: 4/10 (At close to $600, this might not be for the budget seekers. The package comprises ink cartridges, onboarding support, and custom software)
Ease of setup: 10/10 (The entire experience feels a lot like plug-and-play)
Speed: 7/10 (At 45 seconds, the print setup and completion feels like a breeze. However, at breakneck high-speed mode, some print quality gets compromised)
Print quality: 9/10 (The high-res printing capabilities and color trueness do add to the print quality)
Ad hoc features: 8/10 (From the expansive connectivity suite to design software compatibility, there are several bespoke traits to work with. Yet, I would have liked the bypass tray functionality)
Learning curve: 9/10 (It is very easy to wrap your head around the SG-500. However, I cut one point due to the complicated advanced setting options).
SG-500 Vs SG-1000
And that is everything you need to know about using the SG-500. But wait, what if you want to use the SG-1000? Well, they are pretty much alike in terms of usage and print settings, barring a few differences:
- The SG-1000 costs twice that of the SG-500.
- While the SG-500 can print 8.5” x 14” as the max design spread, SG-1000 can churn out 13” x 19” prints with ease.
- If you are interested in the bypass tray, the SG-1000 allows you to purchase and add it as an optional arrangement. This tray is meant for large print sizes and makes sense for the SG-1000.
Overall, the SG series from Sawgrass is all about printing perfection and quality. If you are willing to ignore the higher prices, there might not be anything better to get for a beginner and even an expert.