Can You Use Sublimation Ink For Regular Printing?

Can you swap your regular ink with sublimation ink? After all, it’s used on t-shirts, mugs, and glass surfaces, so it’s pretty versatile.

Well, we can’t argue with the logic. However, there are some crucial things to consider before swapping out your cartridges. If you’re not properly informed about your printer and its ink compatibility, you could end up damaging it.

So, can you use sublimation ink for regular printing?

The Short Answer is No

It’s not a good idea to use sublimation ink for regular printing. Most printers don’t support sublimation in the first place.

However, some printers are capable of performing sublimation printing or can be modified into sublimation printers.

How is Sublimation Ink Different From Regular Ink?

Sublimation ink is most commonly used in printing pictures or logos on t-shirts. However, it goes through a process that’s widely different from how regular ink works.

The ink is pressurized into a gas using heat, which then binds to the paper or fabric and sticks to it permanently. This process isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but it requires sublimation paper and a compatible inking system.

This is evidently different from how regular ink would function. So, if your printer doesn’t support sublimation, the safest bet is not to print anything using it.

Can My Regular Printer Support Sublimation?

When looking at whether you can use sublimation ink for regular printing you need to understand that the main difference between compatible and non-compatible printers is the printing technology.

Printers that use conventional thermal technology don’t support sublimation. As a result, the ink usually doesn’t reach the point of vaporization and can leak into your printer. Among the printers that use this technology are Canon printers. So, if you own a Canon printer, you’re out of luck.

HP printers also use thermal printing and are unable to perform sublimation. They’ve only recently released some models that support sublimation. Unfortunately, they’re big, extremely expensive, and better suited for industrial use.

Epson printers, on the other hand, use something called Piezo technology. Their printers are widely used for both regular and sublimation printing. If you own an Epson printer, you should check on their website to see if the cartridge head supports sublimation ink.

Remember, if your printer doesn’t support sublimation, and you’re still planning to give it a shot, you’re voiding your warranty. 

Regular Printers that are Sublimation-Compatible

  • Epson WF-Models 1000-7600
  • Epson EcoTank Models 2000-5000
  • Epson Profession T3170
  • Sawgrass VJ 628
  • Sawgrass SG500 (Our favourite!)

Regular Printers with a Sublimation Ink System Installed

You’re probably wondering whether you can convert your regular printer into a sublimation supporting printer or not. Well, if your printer can work with a CISS Ink System, it can!

It’s better to do some research on your specific printer model first. If your printer is CISS Ink System-compatible, it’ll say so on the manual or website.

Some printers can be easily tweaked, while others might need professional service. If you’re lucky enough, you could find youtube guides that explain step-by-step how to convert your printer into a sublimation printer.

You’ll also need to replace your cartridges with sublimation ink cartridges and use sublimation papers instead of regular ones.

Finally, you need to make sure your printer is updated with the latest software to print without issues.

What if I Put Sublimation Ink in My Regular Printer?

If you’re certain your printer doesn’t support it, we strongly recommend you flush the cartridges. You should also thoroughly clean your printer if you’ve attempted to print with the sublimation ink inside.

There are a lot of professional services that can do this for you. If you’re not sure how to clean your printer without damaging it, take it to a repair shop.

Wrapping Up

Sublimation ink might be a fun way to experiment with printing, but there’s a high chance your printer can’t work with it. So, the likelihood is you can’t use sublimation ink for regular printing but there is a chance.

What’s important is to conduct some research and know your printer’s inking system. If it supports sublimation, then you’ll need a big stack of sublimation paper!

Leave a Comment