The latest craft trend, sublimation printing, has my group of crafters chatting nonstop, and I can’t blame them! Beautiful and detailed designs may be transferred into our projects using sublimation printers. These machines utilize special inks and high temperatures to print and transfer vibrant coffee designs onto heat-resistant paper, which then harden and create prints that you can transfer to T-shirts, coffee mugs, and more. The greatest sublimation printer allows you to print your own high quality sublimation paper for truly unique projects. Cricut Infusible Ink is amazing pre-printed sublimation paper.
I put up this simple guide and video to address all of your questions regarding choosing the best dye-sublimation printer because I know that many of you have them.
What does a sublimation printer do?
Sublimation is a print technique that can reproduce a high quality full color and high resolution design using a special ink that can then be transferred to another object with a suitable coating. After the sublimation printer prints the design with special sublimation ink onto special sublimation paper, you apply high sublimation heat and pressure to permanently transfer the ink to something else with a coating that can absorb the ink, such a polyester T-shirt or a coated ceramic cup.
The design is permanently embedded in the object when the dye sublimation printing process is complete and cooled. With a sublimation printer and a heat press, you can put full color designs on shirts, bags, mugs, and more.
Can i sublimate with any printer?
No, special ink and sublimation transfer paper are required, as well as a sublimation printer or a modified inkjet printer. Regular inkjet printing ink and paper are not suitable for sublimation. Special paper and ink are required.
What sublimation printers do you recommend?
When it comes to desktop sublimation printers, there are two options: utilize a dedicated sublimation printer (more expensive, higher quality) or modify an existing inkjet desktop printer (less money and less quality).
Sawgrass printers are the most popular choice for this type of sublimation printing. To be more specific, the Sawgrass SG1000 and the Sawgrass SG500 (which is an improvement over the Sawgrass SG400) (the upgraded version from the SG800 sublimation printer).
The Epson SureColor F170 Dye Sublimation Printer, a recent addition to the market and designed for dye sublimation inks, is another alternative. However, I was unable to locate it for sale on Amazon, so availability on this printer appears to be limited.
Epson printers, and in particular Epson EcoTank printers, are the most popular candidates for conversion. (It’s the ubiquitous color inkjet printer.) The Epson EcoTank 15000 is the best EcoTank printer to upgrade to, while the Epson EcoTank 2760 is a close second because to its affordable pricing.
The Epson EcoTank ET 3760 and the Epson EcoTank ET 4760 (which I converted) are also compatible with this feature.
The Sawgrass printers will stand apart from Epson printers primarily in terms of quality and service. High sublimation print resolution is a feature of the specially designed Sawgrass sublimation printers. When problems arise, you can contact Sawgrass for assistance.
If you want to convert, you’re on your own because doing so will nullify your original manufacturer’s guarantee.
WARNING: Any modification you make to your printer is done so at your own risk, and JenniferMaker cannot be held liable if you break your printer’s warranty or render it inoperable. To whatever extent you modify an Epson EcoTank printer, you do it at your own risk.
What is the best printer?
The right printer for you will ultimately rely on your needs and your spending limit. Due to its low cost and ease of use, a converted Epson EcoTank printer is widely used by my coworkers in the arts and crafts industry and in my own team.
The Sawgrass printers are designed specifically for sublimation projects, so they may be more appealing to small businesses looking to expand their products. The Sawgrass SG1000 and the Epson Artisan 1430 wide format printers are two examples of wide format sublimation printers that can produce truly amazing prints in a huge scale.
When it comes to sublimation printers, however, the Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500 is the gold standard if budget allows.
What is the cheapest sublimation printer?
Sawgrass sublimation printers are pricey, I concur. With a new Epson EcoTank printer and sublimation ink, the Epson ET 2620 is the most cost-effective method to enter the world of sublimation printing. Check out Vicki, a member of the JenniferMaker team, using an Epson EcoTank ET-2630.
You will receive ink that is NOT sublimation ink when you purchase an Epson EcoTank printer (regardless of model number). Don’t put the ink in your Epson EcoTank; instead, keep it or sell it. Put your special Epson sublimation ink in your printer instead. Basically, that’s all there is to it if you want to turn your Epson EcoTank printer into a cheap sublimation printer.
It is imperative that you do not try to transform a previously used Epson EcoTank printer (one that has been used for inkjet printing) into a sublimation printer. You can’t just put sublimation ink on top of the inkjet ink that is already in the Epson EcoTank printer and expect it to work. The Epson EcoTank printer is a tank-based printer. For the greatest results, start with a NEW Epson EcoTank.
Syringes, which you will use to fill your tanks, are included when you buy sublimation ink. Watch the ink level via the front of the machine and stop before it overfills.
Can i convert any printer to sublimate?
Unfortunately, only a select few printers, like the Epson EcoTank, are capable of being converted to sublimation printing. Other lesser known printers are theBrother MFC-J995DW and the Mitsubishi CP-K60DW (formerly the CP-D70DW), a small format photo printer. While it prints high-quality photos, its small print size makes it unsuitable for me. The Canon Selphy CP1300 is an affordable wireless printer that can be converted to use sublimation ink if you don’t mind the small size.
It is important to remember that printers like the Epson Workforce WF-7710 may be converted to sublimation printing, but that these printers are no longer widely available. Furthermore, they require empty refilling cartridges, which might be difficult to come by. I do not advise Workforce printers to be converted because of these issues and the fact that sublimation ink must be added with a syringe.
Important: Once your printer has been converted to utilize sublimation ink, the printer’s warranty is null and you can no longer use it as a standard inkjet printer.
What kind of ink does a printer converted to sublimation printing need?
You will need to buy refillable ink cartridges and sublimation ink if you plan to buy an Epson EcoTank inkjet printer. Before you put the ink in your printer, MAKE SURE that it is sublimation ink. Hiipoo Sublimation Ink and Cosmos Sublimation Ink are two brands we’ve tried.
How is sublimation different from heat transfer vinyl (iron on vinyl)?
The ink becomes a permanent component of the object when you sublimate it since it is embedded in the material and cannot be removed or cracked. The vinyl can fade, crack, or come off entirely when you use top transfer heat vinyl (HTV), which just sits on top of the item. This is also true with screen printing; unlike sublimation printing, screen printing ink is a layer on top of the object rather than being embedded in it.
Are there any cons of sublimation printing?
Using a white or otherwise light-colored base material is recommended for optimal results when using sublimation ink, as the ink is transparent. Those who like more natural materials, such as cotton, will find sublimation frustrating since your white or light colored surface needs to be either constructed of polyester or have a polyester coating. In order to sublimate onto dark or black surfaces, you must first press white sublimation heat transfer vinyl onto the surface and then sublimate onto that, which sort of negates the point of sublimation. And naturally, a sublimation printer, either brand new or modified, is required. That’s pretty much the only negative aspect!