Sublimation printers aren’t exactly cheap, so you may be wondering if you can convert that Epson printer you already own into one.
Well, you could be on to a winner there, but it depends on the type of printer you have. Some can be converted, while others cannot.
In this article, we’ll be giving you a comprehensive breakdown of convertible and non-convertible Epson printers, so you can start your sublimation venture in earnest!
Before we get right into which printers can be converted, let’s take the time to make sure that you understand exactly what sublimation is.
It’s a printing process where ink is transferred from an image onto a special type of paper called heat transfer paper.
The resulting print looks like it was printed on regular paper but when placed under a black light, it reveals its true nature.
This means that the ink is permanently bonded to the surface of the paper so there are no smudges or residue left behind after use.
The next thing you’re probably wondering is, what is a sublimation printer? Well, it’s basically just a printer that uses heat instead of electricity to create images. And while they look similar, they aren’t quite the same.
In fact, there are some key differences between these two types of printers.
For starters, sublimation printers don’t have any moving parts so they’re more durable than their electrical counterparts.
They also tend to produce higher-quality prints because they don’t require the use of toner cartridges.
And finally, sublimation printers are much cheaper in the long run but do have a fairly sizable upfront cost.
Can Normal Printers Be Converted Into Sublimation Printers?
Now that we’ve covered all of the basics, let’s talk about whether normal printers can be converted into sublimation printers.
To start with, the answer is yes. In fact, there are many different brands of sublimation convertible printers available today.
However, not every printer will work well for your needs. For example, if you want to convert your printer into a sublimation printer, then you’ll need one that has a built-in heating element.
If you don’t find such a model, then you should consider purchasing a separate sublimation printer instead.
What Type Of Printers Can Be Used For Sublimation?
So now that we’ve discussed how to convert a printer into a sublimation printer, let’s take a moment to discuss which models are best suited for this task.
There are three main types of printers that can be used for sublimation printing. These include thermal printers, laser printers, and inkjet printers.
Thermal Printers are typically the most popular choice among consumers.
However, they do come at a price tag that’s usually significantly higher than other options.
On top of that, they’re also bulkier than other types of printers which isn’t great if you’re looking for something compact and easy to store.
Laser printers are another option that you might want to consider. Like thermal printers, they’re relatively inexpensive and offer high-quality results.
But unlike thermal printers, laser printers actually use lasers to create the final product.
As a result, they’re far less likely to cause damage to your documents.
Finally, laser printers are also capable of producing very large prints.
While this may sound like a good thing, it does mean that you’ll need to invest in a larger piece of equipment.
Lastly, there are inkjet printers. These devices are fairly affordable and they’re easy to set up.
They’re also pretty reliable and they’re generally considered to be the least expensive option out there.
But despite those advantages, they’re still not ideal for sublimation printing due to the fact that they rely on ink cartridges.
This means that you’ll need to buy new cartridges regularly and it’s not always possible to predict when you’ll run out of ink.
Things To Think About
As you can see, there are pros and cons associated with each type of printer.
So before you make a decision, it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into.
For instance, if you’re planning to print lots of small items, then you’ll probably want to go with a thermal printer.
On the other hand, if you plan to produce large prints or you have a lot of money to spend, then you should definitely opt for a laser printer.
And finally, if you’re looking for an economical solution, then you should consider investing in an inkjet printer.
Is It Worth Converting Your Printer Into A Sublimation Printer?
If you’re wondering whether or not you should convert your existing printer into a sublimation printer, then the answer is yes.
The reason why is because you’ll get all the benefits of having a sublimated printer without spending excessive amounts of money on a new piece of equipment.
Epson Printers That Don’t Require Conversion
So if you’re thinking about converting your printer into a sublimation machine, here are some models that don’t require any modification:
The Epson EcoTank ET-2800 is one of the few printers that doesn’t require any modifications to work as a sublimation printer.
The Epson Expression XP-4200 is another model that doesn’t require any conversion. It’s basically identical to the previous model except that it has a slightly smaller footprint.
This particular model from Epson is designed specifically for business owners who need to print a lot of labels. It includes everything needed to print sublimated labels including a built-in label dispenser and a built-in scanner.
It’s important to remember that you need to factor in purchasing all the additional extras such as additional inks into your budget.
Epson Printers That Do Require Conversion
The primary reason why people choose to convert a printer rather than purchase one that doesn’t require modification is because they are easier to purchase at most major retailers.
There are some disadvantages to converting your own printer though.
You really want to make sure that you understand exactly how to do this as adding sublimation ink to a regular printer will void its warranty, so if it breaks you’re going to have to fix it yourself, as you won’t be able to return it.
However, do not let this deter you, as there are lots of helpful guides and videos on exactly how to do this.
Is It Difficult To Turn An Epson Printer Into A Sublimation Printer?
You might think that converting an Epson printer into a sublimated printer would be difficult but fortunately, it isn’t. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:
1) Remove the top cover of your printer
2) Unscrew the two screws that hold the bottom plate together
3) Slide the bottom plate off
4) Insert the ink cartridge into the empty space where the original ink tank was located
5) Replace the top cover
6) Attach the ink cartridges to the printer using the included adhesive strips
7) Turn the printer on
8) Print away
Further Steps For Converting Your Epson Printer
Before you go sublimation wild, you will likely need to download software onto your computer.
This software allows you to create and design your prints before printing them.
If you plan on doing this yourself, then I recommend downloading and installing Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended.
ICC File: What Is It, And Is It Essential?
An ICC profile is a file that defines the color characteristics of a specific device or printer.
When you send a document to a different printer, the colors in the image may appear differently depending on whether the printer is calibrated to match the ICC profile used by the original printer.
The ICC profile also helps ensure accurate color reproduction between devices.
If you don’t use an ICC profile when sending files to other printers, the colors may look inaccurate.
What Are Some Things I Need To Know Before Converting My Epson Printer Into a Sublimation Printer?
Before you start printing, you’ll need to know what kind of ink you’ll need to use. There are three different types of ink available for sublimation printers:
Sublimation Ink – This type of ink is made up of special wax particles suspended in water. The ink is used to create images on fabric or vinyl.
Clear Ink – This type of dye-based ink is used to produce clear prints on paper.
Metallic Ink – This ink contains aluminum flakes dispersed throughout the ink. When printed onto metallic surfaces, the ink creates a shiny effect.
If you don’t already have a compatible ink cartridge, then you’ll need to buy one before you begin.
You also need to consider whether you want to print directly onto fabric or vinyl. If you decide to go with vinyl, then you’ll need a special vinyl cutter.
A vinyl cutter is usually sold separately but sometimes comes bundled with the printer itself.
If you’d like to print directly onto the fabric, then you’ll need something called a heat press. Heat presses come in both manual and automatic versions.
Which Is Better For Sublimation: Epson WorkForce Or The EcoTank?
When choosing a sublimation printer, there are several things to consider including cost, size, speed, number of colors, and more.
However, if you’re looking for a good all-around option, then the Epson WorkForce series of printers might be just what you’re looking for.
The WorkForce line includes models ranging from the WorkForce Pro WF-2600DN to the WorkForce Pro WFP-4500DN. All of these printers offer excellent quality at a reasonable price.
They include features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, an Ethernet port, USB 2.0 interface, and a built-in LCD screen. They can also be configured to print directly onto fabric using a heat press.
The EcoTank is another great choice for a sublimation printer. It’s designed specifically for home users who want to make their own custom designs.
It has a simple user interface, making it easy to set up and configure. You can choose from over 50 preloaded designs or upload your own design.
It offers a variety of options including WiFi, Ethernet, and USB interfaces. It also supports direct printing onto fabric using a heat press.
Convertible Epson Printers: A Comprehensive List
There are so many different Epson printers suitable for conversion.
So many in fact that it was almost impossible to find links for all of them – especially as many are discontinued by the manufacturer.
For discontinued printers, you may find refurbished versions on the Epson website. Otherwise, you can always look on social media sites such as Facebook Market Place.
It is always important to be really cautious if you are purchasing a second-hand printer as older printers can, of course, be a bit temperamental.
Always try to get proof that the printer is functional before purchase.
An example of some discontinued printers that are sublimation convertible are:
- Epson Artisan 1430
- Epson WorkForce WF-3620
- Epson WorkForce WF-3640
- Epson WorkForce WF-7110
- Epson WorkForce WF-7710
- Epson WorkForce WF-7720
- Epson WorkForce WF-7610
- Epson EcoTank ET-2700
- Epson EcoTank ET-2720
- Epson EcoTank ET-2750
- Epson EcoTank ET-2760
- Epson EcoTank ET-3710
- Epson EcoTank ET-3760
- Epson EcoTank ET-7700, ET-7750
Here we have a list of some available printers you should be able to purchase from major retailers.
It is relatively easy to convert an inkjet printer into a sublimation printer because they use similar technology.
The only difference between an inkjet printer and a sublimation printer is the way each prints images.
With an inkjet printer, the image is printed on top of paper using tiny droplets of ink.
Once the paper passes through the printer, the ink dries leaving behind a permanent mark.
In contrast, with a sublimation printer, the paper is completely permeated by the ink.
The process of converting an inkjet printer into an Epson sublimation printer is very straightforward and takes less than five minutes.
All you need is a few spare parts and a small amount of knowledge about how to operate the printer.
Below are some convertible examples:
- Epson WorkForce 7210 (WF-7210)
- Epson WorkForce 7820 (WF-7820)
- Epson WorkForce 7840 (WF-7840)
- Epson EcoTank 2800 series (ET-2800, ET-2803, ET-2850)
- Epson EcoTank 3800 series (ET-3830, ET-3850)
- Epson EcoTank 4700 series (ET-4700, ET-4760)
- Epson EcoTank 4800 series (ET-4800, ET-4820)
- Epson EcoTank 5800 series (ET-5800, ET-5850, ET-5880)
- Epson EcoTank 15000 (ET-15000)
- Epson EcoTank 16000 series (ET-16500, ET-16600, ET-16650)
Frequently Asked Questions
There are quite a lot of questions asked about converting an inkjet printer to a sublimation printer.
Below are some common ones and answers to them just in case we’ve missed anything throughout this article.
How Long Does It Take?
It depends on the size of the printer but most people say it takes around 30 minutes for a basic conversion.
If you’re looking at getting a more advanced model, it might take longer.
Can I Convert The Printer Myself?
Yes! There’s nothing too difficult or complicated about it. The hardest part is probably finding all the right replacement parts. We’ve listed out what you’ll need below so you know exactly what you need.
What Parts Will I Need To Convert My Inkjet Printer Into A Sublimation Printer?
You’ll need to replace the following components:
1. Print head – Most inkjet printers have two print heads; one for printing text and the other for printing graphics. When you convert your printer into a sublimation printer, you’ll need to replace both print heads.
2. Power supply – Your inkjet printer uses electricity to power its electronics. When you convert your inkjet printer into a printer that prints on cloth, you’ll need to change the power supply as well.
3. Controller board – The controller board controls everything else in your printer. When you convert your device into a sublimation machine, you’ll need to swap out the controller board.
4. Heat sink/fan assembly – The heat sink keeps the temperature down inside the printer. You’ll also need to install a fan to keep the air circulating.
5. Ink tank – An ink tank holds the ink used by the printer. When you convert from an inkjet printer to an Epson sublimation printer, the ink tank needs replacing.
6. Paper tray – The paper tray holds the paper used by the printer. Replacing the paper tray will be necessary when you convert your inkjet machine into a sublimation machine.
7. Cartridge – The cartridge contains the ink used by the inkjet printer. When you convert a printer into a sublimation printer, you’ll need a new cartridge.
8. LCD screen – The LCD screen displays information such as the status of the printer. This component can be replaced with ease.
9. Mainboard – The mainboard is where all the electronics are located. All you need to do is remove the old mainboard and replace it with a new one.
10. Ribbon – The ribbon is used to transfer the ink onto the paper. When you convert your machine into a sublimation system, you’ll need to purchase a new ribbon.
11. Laser scanner – The laser scanner reads the image printed by the printer.
12. Light source – The light source illuminates the area where the ink is transferred onto the paper.
As you can see, there are plenty of convertible Epson printers out there you can use for your inkjet-to-sublimation experiment, but if you’re not feeling up to the task, perhaps it’s best for you to simply invest in a prefabricated sublimation printer.
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