Is your budget keeping you from entering sublimation printing? If yes, you are in the right spot. In the article, I will be telling you how you can enter the world of sublimation without breaking the bank. Dedicated sublimation printers are expensive, and they are out of reach of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and DIYers.
The good news is that you can turn your Epson desktop and Epson Large Format printer to sublimation. You can get these printers at a fraction of a price of a dedicated sublimation printer. Based on my experience with Epson Ecotank and Large Format printers, I will share some of the best and most successful techniques you can use to convert your Epson printer to sublimation.
How To Convert Epson Printer To Sublimation?
Before we jump to the methods, we need to understand what sublimation printing is, its importance, and how it is done.
What Is Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation printing is the process of transferring prints from sublimation paper to a particular fabric or surface using heat and pressure. Sublimation printing uses special ink and particular fabrics and surfaces, also known as sublimation-friendly fabrics.
Sublimation printing is one of the advanced techniques in crafting words that lets you make beautiful prints on shirts, mugs, Vinyl sheets, and so on. It really helps entrepreneurs and small businesses boost their revenue by selling unique sub-dyed crafts.
Supplies Needed To Convert Epson Printer To Sublimation
Of course, you need a new or in-use Epson printer to turn it into a sublimation printer. Not all Epson Printers are compatible with sublimation printing. If you are going to buy a new printer for this process, I recommend you buy an Epson EcoTank printer. Ecotank Printers are cartridge-free and use large tanks that are pretty easy to refill.
However, you can also use some Epson desktop printers like the Epson Workforce printer WF-7710, EF-7210, ef-3720, C88+, Stylus Photo, and Artisan. In today’s post, I will share the conversion process for two printers Epson Ecotank ET-4760 and Epson Workforce WF-7710. Epson Ecotank 4760 uses High Capacity Ink Tank and offers cartridge-free printing. You can read our best sublimation printer for a t-shirt review and buying guide.
If you want to make your projects stand out, you need high-quality sublimation ink. Remember, you cannot use regular Epson ink for the sublimation process. All the ink tanks or cartridges are refilled with dedicated sublimation ink when you convert the Epson to sublimation.
For the EcoTank printer, I prefer Hippo Sublimation ink. It is found to be one of the best sublimation ink that delivers industrial-grade results. It is one of the professional-grade sublimation inks that deliver incredible results in different sublimation printing processes.
For desktop Workforce WF-7710, I used the InkOwl Performance-D sublimation ink. It is a high-performance ink that offers incredible results when used with desktop and large-format printers. Also, you can buy other options like Inktec Professional, Xc Inkjet, and TbTeek Sublimation ink.
Sublimation papers are available in standard sizes, and you can find many options compatible with Epson printers. A-Sub sublimation printer is globally famous for its remarkable transferring properties and standard size. The quality of a sublimation printer largely depends on the ink used.
Therefore, you can buy any sublimation paper that is compatible with your printer. Sublimation Blanks are the surfaces on which you transfer your design with sublimation inks. These could be polyester-based sheets like PVC papers and shirts with high polyester content.
Sublimation blanks are blanked materials that you can sublimate on. Here is our article What can you sublimate on?
Cardstock is placed inside the substrates like shirts. It prevents the ink from transferring to the backside of the substrate. It helps you get a neat print on a single surface.
Heat Resistant Tape
Heat Resistant Tape attaches the substrate with sublimation paper.
Tiny fibers or dust on the Sublimation blank will negatively affect the design and print quality. You need a lint brush or roller to clean the blank’s surface before sublimation.
The heat source is a critical part of the conversion kit. You can find many Heat Sources like circuit Mug Press and Small convection Oven on Amazon and other online selling platforms. Also, you would need the heat-safe surfaces or mates that are used to prevent the printer and surface from heat damage.
If you are using a brand-new printer, do not plug in or fill the ink tank with any regular ink. For printers that are already in use, you need to clean the ink tank properly before refilling. For best results, you can buy new refillable Ink Tanks that are compatible with EcoTank ET-7710; for the Workforce printer, buy new refillable ink cartridges for Sublimation ink.
1. Load The Ink
Sublimation Inks bottles come with syringes to fill the ink. Before loading ink, put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands. The Hippo Sub Ink package includes the gloves. Open the ink containers and start filling the tanks with particular colors. Never use a single syringe for more than one color.
You can see the level of ink in the Ink tanks through the glass window in front. Once all the tanks are filled, carefully close the lid of Hippo Ink bottles and Ink Tanks. Workforce printers use ink cartridges, and to turn them into sublimation, you need new refillable ink cartridges.
These cartridges come filled with purge fluid. In the first step, you need to discard the purge fluid properly. Never add water to the cartridge to rinse the extra fluid. Now add 50-70 ml sublimation ink to the cartridge to form a purge fluid and ink mixture, and then discard the mixture. Now your cartridge is ready for refilling. Refill the cartridges with InkOwl or any other Sublimation ink.
2. Set Up the Printer and Charge the Ink
Once you load the ink in the cartridge or ink tank of printers, turn on the printer. While you do the basic setup of printers like language, date and time, and location, it will charge the ink. Charging the ink may take as long as 10 minutes for the EcoTank and 15-20 minutes for Workforce printers.
Once the ink is charged, you will see the drop in level in Ecotank’s Ink Tanks and WorkForce’s Cartridges. It is advised to fill the empty space with leftover sublimation ink for a fully loaded experience. Now connect the printer to the computer. Follow the on-screen instruction to install the basic setups and drivers onto your computer.
3. Change The Settings
It is time to update your printer’s settings to make it fully compatible with the sublimation process. To set a new preference, you need to reset all the saved preferences. Open the printer setting and then go to “print preference.”
You will either see a remove or hide option to remove the old settings. Hide all the settings, and when you are done, you will be sent back to the reference setup. Make your printer have no saved print preferences.
4. Basic Print Settings
- Orientation: Landscape
- Quality: Choose High quality
- Two-Sided Printing: Sublimation involves only one-sided printing, so disable this option
- Color: Choose the color print option
- Paper Type: Presentation Paper Matte
- Design: Mirrored
- Document Size: Letter
- Output: Same as Input
Now move to the advanced settings and go for color controls. The color control preference varies from project to project. You are all set for Sublimation printing.
Epson Ecotank vs. Workforce for Sublimation Printing
If we compare the process of conversion and print quality of EcoTank and Workforce, EcoTank is a real winner. It uses easily refillable large-capacity tanks and is compatible with all sublimation supplies.
However, if you are on a budget; workforce printers are best for you. These printers are inexpensive and deliver incredible results for sublimation if used with compatible sublimation supplies.
What can Epson printers be used for sublimation?
All Epson Eco tank printers can be used for sublimation since they come with easily refillable high-capacity ink tanks. Moreover, you can use desktop and large-format Epson printers like Epson Workforce 7710, WF-7210, C88+, and Stylus.
Can you convert any Epson printer to sublimation?
Yes, you can convert a wide range of Epson printers to sublimation. All Ecotank printers and many Large Format and Desktop Printers like C88+, Stylus, and EF–7710 can be easily converted to sublimation with a simple conversion kit.
Can Epson 3720 be used for sublimation?
Yes, you can turn Epson WF-3720 to sublimation. You can convert it by pairing it with refillable cartridges to load ink, a heat source, a sublimation paper, and a heat-safe surface.
What is the difference between pigment ink and sublimation?
Sublimation inks are dye-based inks used for sublimation printers. These inks contain small sublimation particles that reflect light to give a more vibrant and superior look. Pigment inks are based on pigments, and they are used for regular color printing processes.
Which Epson printer is best for sublimation conversion?
All Epson workforce and ecotank printer except F-570, F-1k50, F-1 0070H are good for sublimation printer but Epson ET-2720, ET-2750,WF- ET-2650, ET-4700, ET-15000, ET-16000, ET-16500, XP-15000, WF-3520, WF-3540, WF-3620, WF-364k0, WF-7710, WF-7720, WF-7210 are recommended for sublimation printing.
Can I use normal ink for sublimation?
No, you cannot use regular ink for sublimation. This ink is not compatible with sublimation printers. Also, it cannot withstand the heat and pressure that is used to transfer the prints in the sublimation process. For sublimation, you need a professional-grade dedicated Sublimation ink like Hippo and InkOwl.
I’m hopeful that this information will help you turn an Epson printer into sublimation. You can boost your business by converting your inexpensive Epson Desktop printers into submission without breaking the bank.