How to Convert an Epson Printer to Sublimation

Instead of buying a high-priced native sublimation printer which will then lock you into high-priced sublimation ink, InkOwl enables you to convert an ordinary Epson desktop or large-format printer into a sublimation printer. This allows you to affordably get into sublimation printing, often using a printer you may already own. InkOwl Sublimation Ink is competitively priced, so not only will you save on the initial printer purchase, but you will also benefit from low long-term ink costs.

Most Epson models can be converted, from the smallest 8.5" wide desktop models all the way up to 44" wide mass-production printers.

Why InkOwl Sublimation Ink?

  • InkOwl Sublimation Inks are made in the USA, which allows us to ensure reliable stock and consistent ink formulations on every re-order.
  • We offer complimentary ICC profiles for our inks, for excellent color match on all designs.
  • We are experts at converting both new and used printers, having perfected our guidelines to reliably convert ordinary printers to sublimation.
  • We offer industry-leading tech support and can assist our customers for the entire conversion process as well as with ICC profiles and color matching. It is usually possible to schedule a consultation with our sublimation experts within 1 business day.

If you have any questions or concerns about converting your current printer or a brand-new printer, do not hesitate to give us a call at 1-888-446-5695 or email at [email protected] for one-on-one advice!


How to Convert Epson Printers to Sublimation

It is essential to follow these conversion guidelines closely because sublimation ink must never be allowed to mix directly with other inks. The steps to follow will vary depending on the kind of printer, so we have split this guide into 3 sections:


Converting an Epson EcoTank printer to sublimation (all EcoTank ET- models, including T3170x)

Brand-new, out-of-the-box EcoTank printer:

A brand-new EcoTank printer that has never been filled with ink is ideal to convert. Since the printer is new, you can simply start the printer up for the first time with the sublimation ink. All EcoTank models can be used with InkOwl Performance-D Sublimation Ink. There are only 2 steps to follow:

  1. Inject our Performance-D Sublimation Ink directly into the tanks using the provided syringes.
  2. For best color match, install our complimentary ICC profile in your design software.

Recommended items:

  • Set of InkOwl Performance-D Sublimation Inks
  • InkOwl Sublimation Paper

Used EcoTank printer:

The process of draining the previous ink from an EcoTank printer is quite cumbersome. Therefore, the ideal scenario with EcoTank printers is to convert a brand-new printer out-of-the-box and then stick to one brand of sublimation ink. However, if you wish to convert a used EcoTank printer to sublimation or if you wish to switch sublimation ink brands, then this is the procedure we would recommend:

  1. Before beginning the conversion process, print a nozzle check to confirm that the printhead is working properly. Do not attempt to perform a conversion on a printer that is not printing correctly.
  2. Unplug the printer and remove all paper trays.
  3. There is no easy way to get the ink out. The best option in our opinion is also the simplest option, and that is simply flipping the printer over, but of course this process can be messy. Flip the printer upside down and then open the tanks to allow the ink to drain into a bucket or other suitable container.
  4. Flip the printer right-side up again and wait 1 minute. Then, repeat the flipping process to drain out even more ink. Repeat this process until as much of the previous ink is removed as possible.
  5. Inject our Performance-D Sublimation Ink into the tanks using the provided syringes.
  6. Turn the printer back on and immediately run a Power Cleaning. For guidance, please refer to your printer's user manual.
  7. For best color match, install our complimentary ICC profile in your design software.

Recommended items:

  • Set of InkOwl Performance-D Sublimation Inks
  • Spare Maintenance Tank (for models that have maintenance tanks)
  • InkOwl Sublimation Paper

Converting an Epson desktop ink cartridge printer to sublimation (Artisan, Expression, Stylus Photo, WorkForce, C88+, etc...)

If your Epson printer is currently using any other ink (Epson-brand ink, aftermarket ink, another brand of sublimation ink), it is required that you clean the printer immediately upon installing the InkOwl sublimation ink.

  1. Before beginning the conversion process, print a nozzle check to confirm that the printhead is working properly. Do not attempt to perform a conversion on a printer that is not printing correctly.
  2. Remove all the old ink cartridges. Fill and install a fresh set of refillable cartridges with InkOwl Performance-D or Performance-Ultra Sublimation Ink.
  3. Perform 5 Printhead Cleanings to eliminate the old ink.
  4. For best color match, install our complimentary ICC profile in your design software.

Recommended items:

  • Set of InkOwl Performance-D or Performance-Ultra Sublimation Inks
  • Set of Refillable Cartridges
  • InkOwl Sublimation Paper

Converting an Epson large-format ink cartridge printer to sublimation (Stylus Pro, SureColor, and R3000)

If your Epson printer is brand-new, out-of-box, and has never had ink inside, you can proceed straight to using our inks. Otherwise, the printer will need to be flushed by passing purge fluid through. Please follow the steps below for new or used printers, according to your situation. We offer 10 distinct colors of InkOwl Performance-Ultra Sublimation Ink Bottles to match your printer's unique configuration. For some models, we also supply pre-filled InkOwl Performance-Ultra Sublimation Cartridges.

Brand-new large-format printer:

  1. Do not install the Epson cartridges provided with the printer. Instead, immediately install a set of refillable cartridges with Performance-Ultra Sublimation Ink (or a set of Performance-Ultra sublimation cartridges, available for some models).
  2. For best color match, install our complimentary ICC profile in your design software.

Note: Some printers have two black slots (photo black + matte black). Only the matte black slot needs to be used. Fill the photo black slot with bottled purge fluid (or install a cleaning cartridge), as this slot will not be used in printing.

Recommended items:

To use sublimation ink bottles:

  • Set of InkOwl Performance-Ultra Sublimation Inks
  • Set of Refillable Cartridges
  • Chip Resetter
  • Printers that have two black slots: Bottled Purge Fluid (to put in the Photo Black refillable cartridge)
  • InkOwl Sublimation Paper

To use sublimation cartridges:

  • Set of InkOwl Performance-Ultra Sublimation Cartridges
  • Printers that have two black slots: Photo Black Cleaning Cartridge
  • InkOwl Sublimation Paper

Used large-format printer:

  1. Before beginning the conversion process, print a nozzle check to confirm that the printhead is working properly. Do not attempt to perform a conversion on a printer that is not printing correctly.
  2. Ensure that you have a spare maintenance tank or a maintenance tank resetter available before proceeding.
  3. Remove all the old ink cartridges and install a set of refillable cartridges filled with bottled purge fluid (or a set of cleaning cartridges, available for some models).
  4. Perform the initial fill procedure to clear the old ink from the lines and replace it with purge fluid. Repeat the initial fill procedure once more to eliminate all residues.
  5. Dump the purge fluid from the cartridges as best you can, but do not rinse with water. Add about 50mL of sublimation ink to the cartridge, and then suck out the resulting ink/fluid mixture using the priming syringe and discard that mixture. Finally, fill the cartridge to full capacity with sublimation ink.
  6. Perform the initial fill procedure to fill the lines with sublimation ink for printing!
  7. For best color match, install our complimentary ICC profile in your design software.

Note: Some printers have two black slots (photo black + matte black). Only the matte black slot needs to be used. Leave the purge fluid behind in the photo black slot, as this slot will not be used in printing.

Recommended items:

To use sublimation ink bottles:

  • Set of InkOwl Performance-Ultra Sublimation Inks
  • Set of Refillable Cartridges
  • Chip Resetter
  • Bottled Purge Fluid OR Set of Cleaning Cartridges
  • Spare Maintenance Tank OR Maintenance Tank Resetter
  • InkOwl Sublimation Paper

To use sublimation cartridges:

  • Set of InkOwl Performance-Ultra Sublimation Cartridges
  • Set of Cleaning Cartridges
  • Spare Maintenance Tank OR Maintenance Tank Resetter 
  • InkOwl Sublimation Paper


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