Converting Your Epson Printer for Sublimation Printing: In 4 Easy Steps


Sublimation printing is popular in the world today. It seems everyone is looking to DIY their T-shirts, hats and other apparel.

Key Takeaways

Importance of cost when getting started

Dedicated sublimation printers tend to cost more than inkjet ones. But these cheaper inkjet printers can be converted into sublimation. This is done at a fraction of the cost. However, not all inkjets can be converted!

Which Epson model printers can be converted?

Epson 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 print without ink can damage the print head! This is known as ink starvation!

How to convert my Epson printer into a sublimation printer?

This article is dedicated to this topic. Watch this video if you can’t be bothered to read on.

However, this printing technique can be expensive. People tend to give up after realizing new equipment is required. This is especially true for those wanting to do crafts as a hobby rather than running a business.

This doesn’t mean sublimation printing needs to be expensive and unachievable. There are ways to convert your printer into a sublimation one and have fun in the process. Such conversions can reduce initial costs drastically.

Post Content

    One such brand that is popular for conversion is Epson. They are easy to convert, as we demonstrate in this tutorial.f

    Can I Convert An Epson Printer For Sublimation?

    Sublimation is a method of personalizing and creating unique designs. It is something everyone can learn to do at home.

    This is a process in which solid ink converts into a gaseous state. The gaseous ink makes it easier to penetrate the fibers and adhere. This is especially true for fabrics made from polyester.

    Related article: For an extended description on how sublimation printing works, we recommend clicking on the link to find out more!

    This means it’s easier to create more precise and longer-lasting printables.

    However, costs are associated with this process.

    Sublimation printer prices are $650 and up. While a regular Epson printer can be purchased for as little as $300.

    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 do many people opt to convert the Epson inkjet printer into a sublimation printer? – value for money)

    Don’t have the money for a sublimation printer? Your Epson Ecotank printer can be converted and anyone can do it!

    How To Convert Epson Printer To Sublimation?

    Converting your Epson Ecotank printer is easy to do. No more than 20 minutes is required. Just follow these conversion guidelines.

    It’s best to do the conversion on a brand-new printer fresh out of the box. Used printers need the print head flushed and a nozzle check to prevent cross-contamination.

    Converted Epson Ecotank fill procedure with sublimation ink bottles (no syringes required).

    In line with purchasing a new printer, it’s important your Epson printer has no ink in the tanks. Again, we want to prevent contamination between the two ink types.

    Here is the step-by-step process. Make sure to follow the information carefully.

    Set up your printer

    Carefully read the instructions printer instructions. This includes installing the drivers on your computer, so both devices can communicate with each other.

    Don’t fill the tanks with anything. That is when the conversion process begins.

    Open the compartment doors for ink

    Your Epson printer should have ink compartment doors on its right side. There should be an individual compartment for every color.

    Refill nozzle locations for black, yellow, magenta & cyan ink colors on the Epson Ecotank printer.
    Epson Ecotank has four compartments for printer sublimation ink: black, yellow, magenta & cyan

    The printer should be off at this point. Make sure it’s not turned on until all the ink cartridges are full. This includes allowing the ink to settle.

    Add your sublimation ink

    Hiipoo sublimation ink is a good inexpensive recommendation. Don’t shake the bottles much before adding them to ink compartments (this creates air bubbles). Also, don’t squeeze them, let gravity do its job.

    Open your Hiipo bottle carefully. Make sure your ink bottle matches that of the printing compartment.

    Carefully open the tank cap and insert the bottle into the slot. To avoid having to remove printer ink from your skin, wear rubber gloves at this point.

    Make sure the ink does not pass the “Max level” indicated at the top of the tank. At this point, remove the bottle from the ink tank slot. If there’s any ink left in the bottle, just close the lid and save it for later.

    Fill all color compartments

    The Epson Ecotank printer has 4 color compartments. One for black, yellow, magenta and cyan inks.

    These tanks have small windows that indicate the maximum and minimum ink level. Fill up each tank with the corresponding ink color.

    4 color compartments with ink level gauges on Epson Ecotank printer.
    Epson Ecotank color management compartments with window gauge for ink levels

    It is important not to over fill in order to prevent a mess. Conversely, it’s even more important not keep printing when the ink reaches below the minimum level.
    Doing so will cause what’s called “ink starvation” and damage the printhead. Once the printhead is damaged, the printer may never work the same again. It may stop working altogether.

    Pro tip: Test a few sublimation prints on a sublimation blank. This provides an idea of the print details. From my experience, this is the fastest way of testing different printer settings to improve print quality.

    You are done!

    The Epson Ecotank printer has shown great results in sublimation printing. This makes them fantastic products for conversion, making them an affordable part of the process.

    No additional research on settings is required. It will work like a true sublimation brand printer.

    Make sure the ink settles for at least 10 minutes. If not, it may be a bit watery, affecting the quality of how your photos, images or illustrations come out.

    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. There’s not much difference to printing with a conventional inkjet printer.

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

    Your printer setting fields should also be ready. Make sure you have it in portrait mode and at 8.8 x 11 format.

    I recommend using matte paper as sublimation inks work best with this. Always print in color, even if your design is black and white.

    High speed mode shouldn’t be used. This can lead to sublimation blanks and stains appearing.

    Always use Adobe RGB because it will help with color correction and complicated image designs.

    Different types of settings will work for different sublimation designs. When you convert an Epson printer, try out a few designs on sublimation paper. That way, you can determine what settings work best for you.

    It is recommended to use a hand held lint roller to remove debris and dust from the substrate. These will interfere with the printing process and interfere with quality.

    Pre-press your clothing for a few seconds before transferring your sublimation. This will remove moister and creases. Both these will interfere with a successful transfer.

    Note: Make sure your material has cooled down before you start sublimation printing.

    While printing, you will need to cover the back of your clothing with sublimation paper. If you are scared, it may move across the table. Make sure to use heat-resistant tape that will keep it in place.

    Make sure you are pressing your design well onto the paper or material. Keep pressure on it for at least a minute to get the best results.

    While time is needed to develop skills and learn how to handle each material, sublimation printing will become easier.

    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 they are affordable and can be found in pretty much every tech store.

    They start at $300 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 them!

    They work smoothly and as long as you have a brand new printer, you will be able to get amazing results after the conversion process. However, keep in mind that Epson printers come with a 2 year warranty, but once converted the warranty is voided.

    Their printers shouldn’t be used for regular printing once converted. Meaning once it is converted theirs not going back to using it as a regular inkjet again!

    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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