Can I Use Sublimation Ink In A Normal Printer

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As the increasingly demand of DIY and custom printing, sublimation printing act as important role in satisfying this need. Many more people want to making things by this method but confusing that if their printer is suitable for converting to sublimation printer. Now we’d dig into this topic from the bottom.

The Printing Theory of Printers

The heart part of a printer is it’s printhead. For digital inkjet printing heads, there are thermal head and piezo head.
  • What is thermal head printer

    The main part of thermal head printers in the market is cannon and hp printer, in thermal printing, they will heat the head, and then the bubble in head expanded to jet out the ink. In the means of heating, sublimation ink will certainly be affected, so the printing color will be changed.
  • What is Piezo head printer

  • Use the theory of piezo ceramic to transfer electricity energy to mechanical energy. When piezo ceramic be charged, they will change the shape, and extrude the ink dot out of the head. Sublimation ink is suited for this kind of printer.
  • Print-on-demand

  • You may also know about the words “print-on-demand”, this may refer to the ink extrusion frequency of the head. When print on demand, the head only extrude ink at when it needed. Imaging that the media moves on X axis, and the head moves on Y axis. When continuous jetting, only the print media moves on both X and Y axis.

How to Convert Normal Printers into Sublimation Printer

From above we know that only piezo printer can be used as sublimation printer, then we will figure out how to convert it into sublimation printers.
  • Printer Cleaning

  • Before using sublimation ink on your printer, make sure it’s clean, any former ink residue will make your printing fail. Please clean your printer with the cleaning solution.
  • Change Ink

  • For sublimation printing, the essential must be the sublimation ink, any other ink will not work for these process. Please check if your ink is solvent based or water based, different printer, or lets’ say different printhead need different ink type.
  • Reset Printer Parameters

  • Because different ink have different technical criteria, the mainly talked is density, viscosity, surface tension etc. And the ink consumption will different for different image. You may need more practice to get the perfect data in your RIP software.
  • Change ICC Profile if Needed

  • Same as printer parameters, ICC profile control how the ink performed with our visual colors. So if you need a high quality image and color consistence in different print run, please note to change a ICC profile which suit to your printer and ink.
  • Start Printing When Everything is Ready

  • Now you can start print when everything in control. One more thing to mention is: a good ink, good printer, good transfer paper, good heat press, and a standard working process together making a good output.