Types of Dye Sublimation Printers

Techniques/ Tips

Types of Dye Sublimation Printers

The dye sublimation printing process—aka fabric printing—has evolved to the point where different printers help achieve a specific aesthetic or texture in the final product. Here are the varying classes and sub-classes of dye sublimation printing machines.

Clam Press Dye Sublimation Printer

This is the most popular kind of printer for dye sublimation printing, because it’s the machine used when printing onto t-shirts. Sometimes referred to as the “T-shirt clam printer,” this machine is also the choice technology for creating fabric proofs before going to final production. That is because it is affordable, intuitive, and great for hobby t-shirt designers and full-fledged companies alike.

Swing Away Dye Sublimation Printer

Keep in mind that dye sublimation printers can be used for more than just printing on fabric. In fact, the swing away dye sublimation printer is ideal for printing onto denser materials, like photo frames, thanks to the way in which the material is laid across the machine when printed.

Calendar Press Dye Sublimation Printer

There are two types of calendar press dye-sublimation printers:


The easier to operate and more affordable of the two, the electric option tends to move productions along quicker. It heats up and cools down the material faster, allowing for a higher quantity of prints (often an advantage for smaller shops). 

Oil Drum

The oil drum, on the other hand, presents the opposite advantages. Although it takes much longer for the oil to heat up and cool down, the quality of the end-product is higher due to the richness in color you gain by going this route.

Flatbed Press

Although it would appear a flatbed press is pretty straightforward given its name, there are actually two different types to choose from:


More expensive and physically robust, the pneumatic flatbed allows for ultimate automation by enabling you to press the start button and let it do the rest of the work.


Better suited for the perfectionists out there, the manual flatbed allows for more control of the print throughout the entire process.

3D Vacuum Heat Press

If it’s a non-traditional job at hand, it’s a non-traditional printer you’ll need. The 3D vacuum press is specialized for dye sublimation printing to irregularly shaped items, and can also print around edges and curves in certain products.

Single Presses

Smaller, more nimble machines are available for printing to items like coffee mugs. They’re feasible for doing a single task, on a consistent product, over and over again. So, if you’re a hobbyist or niche supplier, a single press might be the best route to go.

Duggal: A Leader in Dye Sublimation Printing

At Duggal, we love working with companies of all types and sizes to help bring dye sublimation prints to life. Learn more in the video below.