How To Convert Epson Printer To Sublimation [In 4 Easy Steps]


Sublimation printing has become extremely popular in the world and it seems like everyone is looking for a way to DIY their T-shirts, hats, tote bags, and many more things.

Key Takeaways

Importance of cost when getting started

Generally, dedicated sublimation printers cost more than inkjet ones. Luckily it’s possible to convert cheaper inkjet printers into sublimation at a fraction of the cost. Not all inkjets can be converted though!

Which printers brands can be converted?

In this article we discuss how Epson can be converted into a sublimation printer. Models that can be converted include: WorkForce 78, WorkForce 7210, EcoTank 16000 series, EcoTank 28000 series, EcoTank 48000 series.

Pro tip

Make sure you keep your ink topped up! Allowing the printer to continue printing without ink (ink starvation) can damage the print head!

How to convert my Epson printer into a sublimation printer?

This whole article is dedicated on this topic, however, watch this video if you can’t be bothered to read.

However, sublimation printing can be quite expensive, and people mostly give up when they realize they need to buy a whole set of new devices to get started with their hobby.

This doesn’t mean that sublimation printing needs to be that expensive and unachievable, and there are ways you can convert your Epson printer into a sublimation one.

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    Can I Convert Epson Printer For Sublimation?

    Sublimation is a way of personalizing and creating new and unique designs and it is something every person can learn to do at home, even if they have never been involved in a design process before.

    Engaging in sublimation printing has become a very popular hobby and it seems like everyone wants to come up with their own designs.

    Sublimation is a process in which the solid ink gets converted to a specific type of gas that will adhere to all polyester materials.

    Related article: If you are looking for an extended description on how sublimation printing works, then we recommend clicking on the link to find out more!

    It means that the sublimation ink won’t go through a liquid phase, which makes it much easier for you to create long-lasting designs.

    However, this can be a very expensive hobby because it requires a special sublimation printer and inks that are used only for this action and can’t really be bought anywhere.

    Sublimation printers are usually proceed at 650 dollars and up, while a regular Epson printer can be purchased for as little as 300 dollars, and it is multi-purpose.

    Sublimation printers vs Epson Ecotank Inkjet

    Printer modelPrinter typePrice
    Epson Ecotank ET-2850Inkjet$299
    Epson SureColor F170Sublimation$399
    Epson SureColor F570 ProSublimation$2495
    Sawgrass SG500Sublimation$699
    Why many people opt to convert the Epson inkjet into a sublimation printer (value for money!)

    If you are interested in sublimation printing but you don’t have the money for sublimation printers, then your Epson Ecotank printer can easily get converted to provide you with sublimation results too.

    It saves you a lot of money, and you will have a device that is able to perform two different actions in one, which makes an Epson printer a great investment.

    In case you already have your Epson Ecotank printer at home, then all you need is a few minutes of reading this article to realize how you can convert it.

    How To Convert Epson Printer To A Sublimation Printer?

    Converting your Epson Ecotank printer into a sublimation printer is quite easy and you won’t need more than 20 minutes to do it, even if you are not that good with technology and haven’t worked with ink cartridges before.

    The first thing you need to know is that you must do this process on a brand new Epson Ecotank printer, otherwise, you probably won’t get the desired results.

    An actual Epson Ecotank being converted into a sublimation printer

    It is important that your Epson printer didn’t have any other ink cartridges before, otherwise the color tanks will have some leftover ink and it will be hard for the device to provide you with a seamless design.

    I would recommend you to do this on a completely new, just unboxed printer, otherwise, your sublimation ink may interfere with a lot of things.

    Here we will try to explain the whole process to you step by step, so make sure you are following carefully.

    Set up your printer

    The first thing you need to do is carefully read the instructions on your Epson ecotank printer and make sure you have set everything up according to their description.

    Control your printer a few times before you start the process of converting and don’t fill the tanks with anything because that is when the conversion process begins.

    Open the compartment doors for ink

    Your Epson printer should have the ink compartment doors on its right side and there should be an individual tank for every color.

    Don’t touch anything, and take your sublimation ink.

    If you have sued it previously, make sure you clean it thoroughly, because if sublimation ink mixes with a regular one, you could experience a lot of problems.

    The printer should be off during this whole process and ake sure that you don’t turn it on until all of the inks are in the tank and you have allowed it settle for a while.

    Add your sublimation ink

    Sublimation ink needs Hiipoo sublimation ink, so make sure you have already purchased enough bottles for it.

    Make sure you are not shaking your bottles too much before you add them to ink compartments and don’t squeeze them because it won’t make the ink flow into the tank easier.

    Open your Hiipo bottle carefully, and make sure your bottle ink is matching with the color in a printing compartment.

    Carefully open the tank cap and insert the bottle properly to fill it in with a matching color.

    Once the tank is full, the compartment will push the bottle lightly so you will know the process is completely finished, so make sure you don’t remove it before you see this happening.

    If there is any ink left in the bottle, just put the cap on top of it and save it for later.

    Fill all color compartments

    Epson Ecotank printer has 4 color compartments, so you will need to repeat this process on all of the tanks.

    The tanks have small windows on the left side so you will be able to see when the tank is full and remove your sublimation ink bottles.

    Repeat the process carefully and make sure your Epson Ecotank printers are not overfilled, otherwise, you may have some problems with the sublimation printing process.

    You are done!

    As you can see, the whole process requires you only to add the right sublimation ink instead of a regular Epson ink and you will be able to create your sublimation designs easily.

    The Epson ecotank printer has shown great results in sublimation printing and to convert Epson printers all you need is a bit of free time and precision.

    You won’t need to handle any additional settings on the device itself, and it will still work like a true sublimation printer.

    Make sure your ink sets for at least 10 minutes before you start sublimation printing because it may get a bit watery if it didn’t settle in the tank well.

    Watch this video: Convert Epson EcoTank Printer to Dye Sublimation Ink [09 mins 22 secs]

    skip to timeline 01:33!

    How To Do Sublimation Printing On Epson Ecotank Printer?

    Sublimation printing isn’t hard to do with a converted Epson printer and you just need a bit of free time and patience.

    The first thing you need to do is find the design you want to print out and open it on your device, edit it and perform all the changes you need to get the highest quality picture.

    Your printer settings should also be prepared for the action, so make sure you have turned on the portrait mode and the 8.8 x 11 format because those are the best dimensions for sublimation printing.

    I would also recommend you choose matte paper because sublimation inks work the best with this one and always print in color, even if your design is black and white.

    The high speed mode shouldn’t be used because your ink tanks may get overwhelmed and it can lead to sublimation blanks and stains appearing.

    Always use Adobe RGB because it will help with color correction and complicated designs, so you don’t have to worry that you will need to add sublimation ink.

    Different types of settings will work for different sublimation designs and types, so when you convert an Epson printer, try out a few designs on sublimation paper to see what settings will work the best for you.

    It is recommended to use the lint roller to remove all the small particles and dust from your T-shirt or any other clothing piece you are designing, because it may interfere with the sublimation printing process and damage the ink quality.

    Make sure you pre-press your clothing piece for a few seconds before you start sublimation printing because it will prepare the material for sublimation ink and make the process faster and less messy.

    It is very important to remove moisture from your clothing piece because a converted printer can’t treat the material that carefully as a sublimation printer.

    However, make sure your material has cooled down before you start sublimation printing.

    While printing, you will need to cover the back of your T-shirt or material with sublimation paper, and if you are scared it may move across the table, make sure to use a heat-resistant tape that will keep it glued well.

    Make sure you are pressing your design well onto the paper or material, and keep it pressing for at least a minute because that’s when you will get the best results.

    The whole process is very simple and once your convert an Epson Ecotank printer into a sublimation printer, you will be able to create pretty much everything you want.

    While you will need some time to develop skills and learn how to handle each material and type of clothing piece, the sublimation printing will become easy within a few tries, and you will see that sublimation printers are an unnecessary splurge.

    Although this is a converted sublimation printer, it will work just like regular ones, and as long as you are using good sublimation cartridges, you will be able to create everything from T-shirts, hats, tote bags to more complicated sublimation projects like wall prints, mugs or earrings.

    Take a bit of time for this DIY project, see what are the possibilities of Epson printers and make sure you are trying all the variations until you find the right one.

    What Are The Best Sublimation Inks?

    If you have decided to convert your Epson Ecotank printer into sublimation printers, then you should invets in high-quality sublimation inks that will provide you with good performance and print.

    While there are plenty of cheaper alternatives, the Hiipoo sublimation ink has shown to the best results when used with Epson printers, so if you are saving money on a printer, then this is definitely what you need to invest in.

    Quality sublimation inks are recommended to preserve the life expectancy of your printer

    It will work well with every material and sublimation paper, and it comes in all colors you can think of which makes it even better than regular Epson cartridges you can find in stores.

    You will also be able to fill the color tank directly without any syranges which is a great plus of these sublimation inks.

    If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, you will find plenty of sublimation inks made specifically for Epson printers, but this one seems to give the best results and is definitely the safest option if you will use it only for sublimation printing.

    Tip: Use the ink level to make sure you aren’t overfilling with ink. Also,

    What Types Of Printers Can I Convert To Sublimation Printers?

    Although your Epson printer can get converted to a sublimation one, that doesn’t mean that every printer on the market can do it.

    There are several options you will come across that can get converted within a few steps, and we have gathered all the types of printers that fit your criteria.

    Printers with thermal print heads

    All printers with thermal print heads can easily be turned into sublimation printers because they are able to boil the ink and create a bubbly vapor.

    The bubble that is formed throughout this process will cool and transfer to the paper or material and you will get your desired design.

    Since they are working on water based inks, there won’t be too many problems for them to get accustomed to sublimation ink and almost every Canon printer is working on this technology, so they are easy to find in any tech store.

    They give amazing sublimation results and they are able to complete the whole project and keep printing correctly even for a longer period of time, so you don’t have to worry about the success of your conversion process.

    Printers with a piezo print heads

    Piezo heads are those that have a thin layer on their head that is always exposed to electricity and leads to the head vibrating.

    The pressure that is building up in the head will cause it to move and it will allow it to make precise moves.

    Piezo printers work well with any sort of ink, so you can used water based ones, oil inks, sublimation inks or gel inks and you will still get great results, so which one you will choose depends on your printer preferences.

    This is the type of printer that can provide you with any sort of DIY project and is easy for sublimation converting because it requires you just to fill up the tanks with the desired ink.

    However, they are not easily found on the market so you will probably have to spend some time looking for them until you find the right one with a Piezo head.

    They are also not as cheap as Epson ones, so if you are just looking for sublimation crafting at home, you can find cheaper options.

    Why Are People Choosing Epson Printers?

    Epson printers tend to be the most popular option for conversion to sublimation ones, mainly because of the fact they are affordable and can be found in pretty much every tech store.

    They are usually starting at 300 dollars and can provide you with all sorts of prints, and they have a portrait-size print which is the perfect option for a sublimation project.

    The sublimation supplies are also not that expensive and an ink bottle can last you for a long period of time, so the whole process seems to be very cost-effective and is the perfect option for people who are engaging in sublimation crafting and not doing it professionaly.

    When you purchase an affordable printer like Epson, you are also able to invest more money into refillable cartridges and a heat press that give better results, so you will never have to worry is your device printing correctly or not.

    Epson printers can be bought anywhere, and on Christmas and summer sales you can find it for 200 dollars, which makes it an amazing addition to your home tech equipment.

    It is multi-purpose and very simple to use, so people who like to experiment with DIY projects will always choose it over an expensive sublimation printer they don’t know how to handle.

    These printers are also pretty practical and can fit it into any space, so you can keep it on a desk or in your office.

    The newest Epson printers also have special sublimation settings installed into the device, so they will save you a lot of time and reform your printer to sublimation one within a few minutes.

    Can Every Epson Printer Get Converted To A Sublimation One?

    Most Epson printers can get converted into a sublimation printer, and the newest ones have a set of settings that allow you to immediately start sublimation printing, without any conversion process.

    The oldest ones were also able to get converted, so if you have an Epson that is a few years old, then you will probably be able to convert it with a few clicks too.

    Epson printers that get converted the most frequently are also those that are best selling, so if you want to find the right one for yourself, choose it from this list.

    • Epson WorkForce 784
    • Epson WorkForce 7210
    • Epson EcoTank 16000 series
    • Epson EcoTank 28000 series
    • Epson EcoTank 48000 series


    Epson printers tend to get converted the most fequently and their print settings are amazing, which is the reason why beginners tend to choose it.

    They work smoothly and as long as you have a brand new printer, you will be able to get amazing results.

    However, keep in mind that Epson printers come with a 2 year warranty, but if you fill them up with sublimation ink, your warranty is no longer valid.

    The reason for this is that Epson printers are not made for sublimation inks and even when you are cleaning cartridges, you will probably have a lot of problems if you are using regular and sublimation ink one after another.

    Their printers shouldn’t be used for regular printing once you have used sublimation ink, so this should only be purchase as a regular printer turned into a sublimation one, otherwise, you will probably not get the desired results.

    Overall, most of them can get converted, but once you do it, there is no way back and you can’t expect from Epson to take care of your device or help you out with potential problems.

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