Can You Use a Regular Printer for Sublimation

Can you use a regular printer for sublimation? Sublimation printing is a method popular for its vibrant and long-lasting results. It is often associated with dedicated dye sublimation printers. However, many users are interested in whether their existing regular printers can be used for sublimation printing. In this blog, we will take you through the world of dye-sublimation printing and discuss the compatibility of regular printers with sublimation.

I. Brief Overview

Whether you can use a regular printer for sublimation depends on the type of printer. Sublimation printing requires a dye sublimation printer. If you can successfully convert your regular printer to a sublimation printer, you will be able to print with sublimation. It's worth noting that some regular printers (usually Epson inkjet printers) can be successfully converted to sublimation printing.

In comparison, most regular HP, Canon, Dell, and Lexmark printers are not suitable for sublimation conversion. Before attempting any modifications, it is recommended to confirm your printer's sublimation compatibility with the manufacturer to avoid damage.

II. Everything I Need to Know About Sublimation

1. What is sublimation printing?

Sublimation printing is a process that uses heat to transfer dye to a material and create a permanent bond. Unlike traditional printing methods where the ink remains on the surface, sublimation ink converts to gas and penetrates the material, producing vivid, durable prints. For dye-sublimation printing, you will need a matching sublimation printer and dye sublimation ink.

2. What can you sublimate on?

Dye-sublimation is popular for creating personalized items such as key chains, mugs, and phone cases. Besides, its exceptional ability to produce colorful, high-resolution images makes it ideal for a variety of product designs. Consider its specific applications in some areas:

  • Decorative patterns on home furnishings such as blankets, pillows, and curtains;
  • Graphic styles on fashionable clothing, such as T-shirts, pants, and hats made of at least 60% polyester fabrics;
  • Custom-designed technology accessories such as mouse pads and tablet cases.
Can You Use a Regular Printer for Sublimation

III. How It Works (Compared to Regular Inkjet Printers)

1. How does a sublimation printer work?

Before talking about this issue, let’s make it clear first, what is a sublimation printer? A sublimation printer is a special type of inkjet printer that uses dye sublimation ink. It has a Micro Piezo print head to handle the delivery of gaseous dye. 

The dye sublimation printer applies controlled heat to the dye sublimation ink through this printhead, converting it into a gas. The gas is then absorbed by the material, forming a permanent full-color image.

2. How does a regular inkjet printer work?

Unlike a sublimation printer, a regular inkjet printer uses regular ink cartridges and a thermal print head. This print head heats the regular inkjet ink, causing it to form small droplets. These droplets are then ejected from the print head onto the print material to create the desired results.

IV. Summary

To sum up, the compatibility issues between regular printers and sublimation printers mainly originate from the differences in print heads and printer inks.

Most regular inkjet printers use thermal printheads instead of Micro Piezo printheads. This can be difficult to meet the requirements of sublimation ink. If you print with sublimation ink, it may cause clogging and other problems. 

Therefore, except for some printers that use Micro Piezo printheads such as Epson printers, most inkjet printers cannot perform sublimation projects.

V. Is It Possible to Convert an Inkjet Regular Printer to a Sublimation Printer?

Yes, some regular printers are capable of converting to sublimation printers, especially certain Epson inkjet printers. Common examples include Epson Artisan 1430, Epson EcoTank ET-2720, Epson EcoTank ET-2760, Epson EcoTank ET-2800, Epson EcoTank ET-2850, Epson WorkForce WF-3640, Epson WorkForce WF-7710, etc.

It is worth noting that the warranty of the printer will be invalid after modification. Please consider carefully before taking action and confirm printer sublimation compatibility.

Want to know how to sublimation print? This involves Epson printer settings for sublimation and sublimation transfer printing. By the way, you’ll also need other preparations, such as a heat press and heat-resistant tape.

Click on the video below to learn more about sublimation for beginners.

VI. Other Frequently Asked Questions about Printer Sublimation

1. Can you use sublimation ink for regular printing?

You seem to be wondering the question "Can you use sublimation ink on regular paper?" Our answer is no, we do not recommend using sublimation ink in regular printers with thermal print heads. These printers are not compatible with sublimation ink. Ink can bleed into printer paper and look dull, causing clogs and even potential damage.

2. Whats the difference between sublimation ink and regular ink?

The main difference lies in the composition and behavior of the ink. Sublimation ink is a water-soluble ink that contains solid color dye powder. The ink changes from solid to gas when heated, allowing it to penetrate materials for long-lasting prints.

Regular ink, on the other hand, is made from solvents, colorants, resins, additives, etc. It adheres to the surface to create a high quality print and may not withstand the heat required for sublimation.

3. Do I need special paper for sublimation printing?

Yes, the special sublimation paper is critical to the success of sublimation printing. This sublimation paper is designed to handle sublimation inks and facilitate the transfer process. Using regular paper may not produce the desired results or have superior print quality as it may not absorb the sublimation ink properly.

VII. What Printers Can Be Used for Sublimation

We have listed some printers for sublimation. Professional dye sublimation printers offer small businesses huge business advantages. Their excellent print quality and efficiency increase productivity. However, for DIY enthusiasts and small sublimation projects, a convertible printer with dye-sublimation compatibility will suffice. While it may not be professional grade, it provides satisfactory results for amateurs and smaller events.

Can You Use a Regular Printer for Sublimation

1. Dedicated Sublimation Printer

  • Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500
  • Sawgrass Virtuoso SG1000
  • Epson SureColor F170
  • Epson SureColor F570 Pro

These professional dye sublimation printers above are made specifically for sublimation transfer printing. They work right out of the box without any modifications.

2. Convertible Printers for Sublimation Printing

Any Epson EcoTank printer can be easily converted to a dye-sublimation printer. Simply open the lid of the printer’s ink tank, fill it with sublimation ink, and start printing.

Some Epson WorkForce printers can also complete the conversion. Purchase new refillable ink cartridges(usually with chips) and fill them with sublimation printer ink. Then install them into your Epson WorkForce printer, and you're ready to go.

However, we do not recommend this, as WorkForce printer firmware updates may cause the chip not to be recognized. Epson is actively working on firmware updates that may block third-party cartridges and ink. Compared to Epson EcoTank printers, sublimation conversion with WorkForce printers is uncertain and risky.

Printer Series

Printer Model

Epson EcoTank Printers for Sublimation

Epson EcoTank ET-2400

Epson Expression ET-2700 EcoTank

Epson EcoTank ET-2720

Epson Expression ET-2750 EcoTank

Epson EcoTank ET-2760

Epson EcoTank ET-2800

Epson EcoTank ET-2803

Epson EcoTank ET-2850

Epson EcoTank ET-3710

Epson EcoTank ET-3760

Epson EcoTank ET-3830

Epson EcoTank ET-3843

Epson EcoTank ET-3850

Epson EcoTank ET-4700

Epson EcoTank ET-4760

Epson EcoTank ET-4800

Epson EcoTank ET-4850

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5800

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5880

Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 EcoTank

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550

Epson EcoTank ET-15000

Epson WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16600

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-16650

Epson WorkForce Printers for Sublimation

Epson WorkForce WF-2850

Epson WorkForce WF-2960

Epson WorkForce WF-3620

Epson WorkForce WF-3640

Epson WorkForce WF-7210

Epson WorkForce WF-7710

Epson WorkForce WF-7720

Epson WorkForce WF-7610

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4820

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7820

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840

Trouble shooting

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Featured Products

TN227Compatible Brother TN227 Toner Set | TN227BK/C/M/Y Combo Pack
Compatible Brother TN227 Toner Set | TN227BK/C/M/Y Combo Pack
Sale priceFrom $69.95 Regular price$89.95
In stock
W2113A NC 4PKWhy buy True Image toner cartridges
Compatible HP 206A Toner Set W2110A W2111A W2112A W2113A 4-Pack
Sale price$79.95 Regular price$155.64
In stock
W2023ANC4PKWhy buy True Image toner cartridges
Compatible HP 414A Toner Cartridges, W2020A W2021A W2022A W2023A 4-Pack
Sale priceFrom $69.95 Regular price$140.99
In stock

Coupon For Readers

10% OFF all ink & toners at True Image

Use code: TIBG10