One of the most frequently asked questions among those who are into sublimation printing is which printer is the cheapest sublimation printer.
Of course, there are different factors (such as the duration, cost, purpose of getting it, etc.) we need to put in place when considering which printer to get for our business or personal use.
Certainly, the Epson Ecotank is the best and cheapest sublimation printer.
However, this question of which printer is the cheapest and the best for sublimation printing remains a complex one, in the sense that even among the Epson Ecotank brand, there are various types of printers.
First, we all know how expensive a sublimation printer can cost when you compare the cost of purchasing it and converting an inkjet printer to a sublimation printer.
Nonetheless, nobody will want to spend so much money on a printer that has poor print quality, uses expensive ink, or is extremely difficult to convert.
The most important question we should first know is which sublimation printer is the cheapest and how easy and cost-effective it is to convert an inkjet printer into a sublimation printer.
In this article, we will get to know which is the cheapest sublimation printer, how to use it, and other cheap and quality sublimation printers in the market that could be a nice option for you.
The Cheapest Sublimation Printer – Epson Ecotank
The cheapest and most popular sublimation printer brand that is available on the market is the Epson Ecotank.
The conversion of the Epson Ecotank from an inkjet printer to a sublimation printer is very easy, making it the best option for anyone who wants to venture into sublimation printing with little capital.
One of the biggest advantages of using an Epson Ecotank printer is that the process of converting it to a sublimation printer takes a few minutes and will require that you add sublimation ink specifically made for the printer using a simple ink tank without needing any new cartridges.
In addition, the Epson Ecotank brand has a compact design and high resolution, and you can refill the ink without any need for syringes. Also, the sublimation ink is available at a very low cost, and the printers are of standard quality.
Epson Ecotank printer is the best option for home or small-scale businesses, and I recommend the Epson Ecotank sublimation printer for newbies who want to try out sublimation printing with less cost or budget.
There are so many types of Epson Ecotank printers, which can make it hard for you to choose which type you want.
However, it is important to note that the only notable difference in the Epson Ecotank printer is in the paper size and whether it has a paper tray or not. Aside from that, every other feature of the Epson Ecotank printer should be the same, including the picture.
So when you get to the market to get your Epson Ecotank printer, just get the one that matches your budget size and meets the paper size you need.
How to Use Epson Ecotank for Sublimation
The sublimation processing in printing involves putting sublimation ink and applying it on materials like ceramic, fabrics, paper, or any other material by subjecting the ink to heat and making it turn into gas that quickly diffuses into the material, permanently dyeing it.
The sublimation process is useful in many different ways and in many areas of life, such as in the fabric industry printing designs on T-shirts and other clothing materials, in making phone cases, mugs, plates, and other materials.
A regular inkjet ink may not be suitable for this process, so it should be replaced with a spot of sublimation ink.
In this section, we will discuss how to use the Epson Ecotank for sublimation. Below is a step-by-step guide to using the Epson Ecotank sublimation printer and this process will work for any Epson Ecotank printer brand.
When converting an Epson Ecotank printer, I will recommend you use a new printer for the conversion instead of cleaning the old ones, and do not use the regular inkjet ink bottle that may have come with the Epson Ecotank printer.
You can get bottles of sublimation ink that work for your printer on any online store.
You will also need some sublimation paper. There are different brands such as A-sub, Dye Master, True pix and some others
Epson Ecotank sublimation printer setup
- STEP 1: UNPACK YOUR PRINTER
Remove all protective materials from the printer, lift up the scanner unit and remove all protective material from the inside of the printer too.
- STEP 2: FILL YOUR INK TANKS
Fill in the tank with the sublimation ink accordingly.
It is important to note that the Epson Ecotank printer doesn’t use cartridges but ink tanks, so instead of using the standard inkjet ink that you would normally put into your tanks, make use of the sublimation ink specifically.
Also, ensure that the sublimation ink matches that of your printer and do well to stick to the ink brand you have started with.
- STEP 3: CONNECT THE POWER CORD TO THE PRINTER
Connect the power cord to the printer and turn on the printer. Note: do not connect to your computer yet and do not turn off the computer until the initialization process is completed.
- STEP 4: TEST YOUR PRINT QUALITY TEST.
After the initialization process has finished, fill in the paper tray with some paper to test your print quality. Ensure that you fill in your paper correctly, you can check the loading tray for directions if you have doubts about how to fill in your paper.
- STEP 5: CONNECT YOUR PRINTER TO YOUR COMPUTER
Connect the printer to your computer using a USB cable or an Ethernet. Install the necessary software to your computer.
Note: your printer shouldn’t be connected to your computer when you are doing it. Ensure you follow the instructions on your computer screen detailedly.
- STEP 6: DO YOUR FIRST SUBLIMATION PRINT
After the installation of the necessary software, you can then proceed to your first sublimation print. I will recommend that you use a design that can allow you to test all color hues (alignment, vividness, gradients, text, sharpness, inconsistency and black density).
It is important to note that all sublimation prints should be mirrored and you have to do it yourself since the printer is a converted printer.
Set the image quality in the way you want and then print.
It is most times normal to have a print out that is a little bit faded than the original file, it is not something strange. What you will do next is to transfer the image to a piece of polyester to see how it turns out.
- STEP 7: PRESS YOUR FIRST SUBLIMATION PRINT
To press your first sublimation print, you can use a heat press such as the traditional heat press or any other. You will need a piece of white card stock and polyester for this process to protect the sublimation ink from staining your matte.
Preheat the polyester for about six seconds at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. After preheating, put your printout into the heat press (with the image facing down). I will recommend using some heat resistance tape to hold the print out from moving around. Ensure to cover the print with white uncoated butcher paper to protect your platen from any sublimation ink from blowing out.
After that, press the print for about sixty seconds at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the time is up the auto press will open, and you can go ahead to remove the print. It is good that you allow it to cool for a few seconds before removing the sublimation print.
Install an ICC profile ink for your printer if the color is more true to your original design (ICC files are specific to the ink brand that you use)
To install an ICC profile, go to Google, download it, and install it.
Other Cheap Sublimation Printers
Sometimes the Epson Ecotank printer may be out of stock in the market and may take a while for you to see them again or the price will be inflated due to its high demand and because it is a popular printer, especially for sublimation.
However, there are some other alternative printers that are very cheap and are still of good quality, although not like the Epson Ecotank printer.
They can be an excellent option to consider.
We have gathered some other cheap and high-quality sublimation printers that can help serve as good alternatives to the Epson Ecotank printer.
Below is a list of some good quality and cheap printers in the market.
TUSY Heat Press Machine Digital Industrial Printer
An alternative printer you can consider for your sublimation printing is the TUSY Heat Press Machine Digital Industrial Printer.
TUSY is a very cheap and high-end sublimation printer with an overheating feature, thermal control that makes it very safe for printing and a digital heat press machine that can help you print on shirts, pillows and larger bags without any compatibility issues.
Canon Selphy CP1300 Sublimation Photo Printer
Another cheap sublimation printer on our list is the Canon Selphy CP1300 Sublimation Photo Printer. The Canon Selphy is not only cheap, it’s features are exceptional as well.
One of the most outstanding features is the water-resistant feature that makes it good for dye-sublimation printer and the Canon Printing app that helps you issue printing commands
Another cheap sublimation printer on our list is the Lexmark C3326dw, designed to help those with limited spaces. It has important features that will help you create unique prints on your t-shirt and an ability to connect easily to a Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi
Generally, it is a good and very cheap sublimation printer and a good option where the Epson Ecotank printer is absent.
Wrapping up: The Epson Ecotank Printer is the best budget sublimation printer.
If you are looking for a high-quality and very affordable sublimation printer that will meet your budget and still give you the quality you desire, then I recommend the Epson Ecotank printer as the best budget sublimation printer you can ever go for.
Converting the Epson Ecotank printer from an inkjet printer to a sublimation printer is very easy and stress-free, a good reason why it is the perfect sublimation printer for you or anyone who intends to go into sublimation printing.
Also, the conversion process of an Epson Ecotank printer into a sublimation printer takes just a couple of minutes using specialist sublimation ink and will require no extra cost, which helps you to save costs.
With a specialist sublimation ink, you are certainly going to get a high-quality design print on your sublimation blanks, which will transfer perfectly.
FAQS About Sublimation Printers
Can regular printers be used to print sublimation?
You can use a regular printer for your sublimation printing, but it is very risky and generally not a good idea to do so.
But if you still want to go with the regular printers for your sublimation printing, then you can use any printer that can work best with sublimation ink, or if you have a standard inkjet or laser printer that can easily print onto the paper or clothing with the normal ink can also be used.
However, if the printer you are using is not compatible, it will certainly not work out.
Is a sublimation printer worth the money?
Yes, a sublimation printer certainly is worth the money. The sublimation printer is unique and the best for creating fine lines and details. It is doubtless the most efficient method for all-over printing.
Sublimation printers are efficient for small runs and the cost of setting up is cheap. Also, the sublimation printing is outstanding when compared to other types of printing, giving permanent printing on the fabric or paper.
What is the easiest printer to convert to sublimation?
There are so many printers out there in the market that are very easy to convert to sublimation. Some of the printers as well as the easiest to convert to sublimation include the WorkForce WF-7210,
Sawgrass SG500, and several others.
However, the one that stood out among all of them is the Epson Ecotank printers. It is the easiest printer to convert to sublimation. I recommend the Epson Ecotank ET-2800 if you are looking for the easiest printer in the Epson Ecotank brand you want to convert to sublimation.