Can I do Sublimation with any Printer? A Comprehensive Guide

The printing process will remain a staple in the office for years to come. Unfortunately, it is also expensive. Sometimes it’s tempting to switch papers to stretch the dollar, but that’s not always possible.

Particularly with sublimation paper or a specialty paper. In this article, I will explain if can i do sublimation with any printer, if it is possible then what are the types? So just read till the end.

Lets review 

What Does Sublimation Paper do?

This is one of the reasons why can i do sublimation with any printer paper is so unique. You cant use sublimation paper for accounting or recipe books. The paper is used to print patterns on clothes and textiles. 

Using heat, sublimation vaporizes ink and transfers it to clothing. Sublimation ink bonds with fabric fibers and becomes a part of it. For office work, you cannot use sublimation paper. 

Can you use Sublimation Ink in a Normal Printer?

Heat transfers that use sublimation ink require the best inkjet printer, but since sublimation ink is activated by heat, it needs a printer head that doesn’t use heat.

You have probably noticed hows warm freshly printed pages can be after using an inkjet printer with thermal print heads. These printheads use heat to bubble and spray ink. 

The link will discolor and release instead of being transferred correctly to paper if you use a normal inkjet printer with sublimation ink.

As a part of sublimation printing a piezo printhead disperse ink via pressure to produce cold printing. Piezo printheads are mostly commonly used by Epson and Brother home printers.

Can you use Sublimation Paper in a Regular Printer?

Printing an image on sublimation paper won’t wreck your printer, but you will need sublimation ink to do that. You can even print sublimation ink onto plain copy paper and use it for heat transfers, not sublimation paper.

It’s only the ability to release the pigments that can I do sublimation with any printer paper special, nothing more. You cant heat transfer regular ink with sublimation paper. Inkjet or laser printers can print images but it is confusing because it’s a special type of paper. 

It’s not required to use polyester or light-colored clothing to use heat transfer paper because the ink is laid down over a film before its pressed onto the garment. There’s no sublimation here and there’s no sublimation paper.

Why Doesn’t Sublimation Paper work with all Printers?

Different paper types perform differently so printers recommend specific types of paper for a reason. Sublimation paper is not compatible with every printer, simply because of its construction.

Ink is responsible for printing on regular printer paper. Print tends to stay on the page longer with sublimation paper. The ink is sublimated into gas and then pressed into paper to create a permanent highly detailed mark.

However, many printers lack sublimation-compatible printer heads or ink cartridges. Therefore not all printers are capable of handling it.

Can HP Printers be used for Sublimation?

It’s not like you have any laying around. It is not possible to convert any hp printer, whether it is a home or office printer, to sublimation printing because they all use thermal printheads.

Can I do sublimation with any printer yes! Hp has created a dye sublimation printer line called Stitch that is designed specifically for commercial use. Using hp sublimation ink is the only way to print on these printers. 

This is because hp sublimation ink is specially formulated to work with thermal print heads. Hp uses thermal printheads with dye sub-ink. Here are some hp sublimation printers you can buy if you have $7000 or more:

1. HP Stitch S300:

  • The S300 was originally $15000 but it is now listed for $7000 hp doesn’t list it on their website, so I think it’s discounted.

2. HP Stitch S500:

  • HP rebate allows you to purchase a 64″ wide format printer for $19,000 (MSRP $25,000).

3. HP Stitch S1000:

  • MSRP $180,000 for 126-inch wide format printing

EcoTank for Sublimation Conversion

The ET-2800 is the most popular epson for sublimation replacing the discounted ET-2720. There’s no difference between the ET-2800 and 2720 except for the texture on the front panel.

You can make sublimation prints with this it is the cheapest Epson eco tank. You can print up to 8.5 wide on the ET-2800 series.

  • Epson EcoTank ET-2800
  • Target and Walmart sell the ET-2803, which is identical to the 2800
  • The ET-2850 has 2-sided printing, just like the 2800

There are only three Ecotankks that collect waste ink using ink pads instead of a tank.

Photo Printing EcoTanks

Eco tanks for photo printing have six colors instead of four, and they include photo black and gray ink. With their original ink, these printers produce great print quality but when you use third-party sublimation ink, that quality isn’t guaranteed

  • For photo printing, ET 8500/8550 has CMYK colors plus black and grey inks.
  • You can print up to letter size with the ET8500
  • You can print up to 13 x 19 inches (super tabloid) on the ET8550
  • There are special maintenance boxes ($24)
  • All 6 colors of sublimation ink are available from Cosmos Ink

Wide format EcoTanks

  • A3 and A3+ size printing is possible with the ET15000 EcoTank.
  • Wide format Ecotank Pro series ET 16600/16650 with an auto document feeder that feeds up to 50 super tabloid-sized sheets

Can I Use Sublimation Ink On Regular Paper?

If you want you can do it but it won’t look very good. As a result of the process that takes place during the printing process, regular paper makes for a poor carry of the ink because of the processes involved. 

During the printing process, about half of the ink is wasted as a result of this. As a result of this, the printout tends to be blurry and smeared. 

You will also be sorely disappointed if you are hoping to make a t-shirt out of that print, as you will not be able to. As opposed to regular paper, sublimation paper is capable of transferring prints as well.

Can you convert Brother Printers for Sublimation?

Piezo print heads are used by Brother printers, so you can load sublimation ink into them. Ink cartridges are ink that isn’t made specifically for Brother printers by third-party sublimation ink retailers like Cosmos ink, cobra ink, printers jack, etc. 

This makes getting the right color profiles hard, so you could end up wasting time ink paper, and your sanity. The best sublimation brother printer for heat transfer, sawgrass, Epson, and ink line called INKvestment claims to be a super tank printer.  

INKvestments can be converted for sublimation but beware they require cartridges that fill an internal tank that’s not directly accessible. Brother isn’t worth your time.

Which Printers can handle Sublimation Paper?

Because not all printers can handle the sublimation process, it’s important to know if your printer will work with it. For printers that might work well with sublimation paper here are some guidelines.

  • You can use any printer that is made for sublimation printing. it’s common to see these printers advertised as sublimation printers. Sublimation will always work with these. 
  • Sublimation-compatible inkjet printers. The epson artisan 1430 inkjet printer will have this compatibility but most budget ones won’t. Make sure you check your specific model.
  • There’s a chance that the workforce printers will work too. Just a casual observation.

Sublimation paper is compatible with any printer that says so in its specs. Check the specs of your printer online if you are unsure.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What printers can I use for sublimation?

In general epson eco tanks printers are the best choice if you want to get into sublimation printing cheaply, with these printers you can add sublimation inks rather than stand ink. (never use anything other than sublimation inks).

Can I use my Canon printer for sublimation?

Canon printers can be used for sublimation printing. Textiles, ceramics, wood, and metal can all be dyed using sublimation, a printing method that uses heat to transfer dye.

How long does sublimation ink last?

How long does sublimation ink last unopened? You can keep sublimation ink for about two years if you have an unopened bottle or sealed cartridge.

What is the difference between a regular printer and a sublimation printer?

 In contrast to a regular printer can I do sublimation with any printer a sublimation printer graphics, spreadsheets, and correspondence? An inkjet printer prints liquid ink onto paper, while a sublimation printer uses vaporizes ink to permeate a material.

What can I use if I don’t have a sublimation printer?

You’ll need a heat press and/or mug press (you can use a dry iron in a pinch, but they’re not recommended)
You can get sublimation paper pre-printed if you don’t have a sublimation printer.
You can make your sublimation project with this blank.
Tape your design down firmly with heat-resistant tape.

Final Verdict:

Can I do sublimation with any printer yes! A sublimation printer transfers dye from a special type of paper to a fabric, ceramic, or metal substrate with heat. Sublimation ink isn’t compatible with all printers, and you need to use the right kind.

Sublimation printing can be done with these printers

  • Epson EcoTank printers
  • Canon printers
  • Sawgrass printers
  • Brother printers

Check the specifications of your printer before you buy it to make sure it can handle it.

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