Converting Epson EcoTank into a Sublimation Printer

Do you have an Epson EcoTank? Do you want a sublimation printer? Before you spend a bunch of money to buy one, I can show you how to turn your old Epson EcoTank into a functioning sublimation printer.

If you watch the video I made about this on my YouTube channel, Kevin at BCH, you can see that the printer I was working with already came with Epson ink in it. Today, I’ll show you how to substitute your regular ink with sublimation ink.

You’ll need a regular number two Phillips head screwdriver, one sharp knife or blade, a fat syringe, the sublimation ink, and a big jar or beaker to put the old ink into. I also recommend a set of gloves and lots of paper towels to stop the ink from getting everywhere and staining things.

Start by opening the printer. If you try to move the printhead, you’ll probably find it locked in place. If it’s not, and you can move it around easily and freely, your printer has other issues. That doesn’t matter right now, though, because we’ll unlock it anyway.

To do that, slide the printhead all the way to the right and rotate the pizza wheel counterclockwise. After about three or so rotations, you should be able to free the printhead.

We’ll need to suck the ink out of the printer’s dampers. Every time we do this, the little blue levers must be opened. To remove the dampers from their position, you must pull on their little tabs and lift them upward.

Prepare the Syringes

Next, we will need to modify our syringes a little bit. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a 10ml syringe or a 15 ml syringe. You can do this with either one. It really doesn’t matter. Using the knife or blade of choice, carefully cut out a small piece from the tip of the syringe. Be sure to cut it at an angle.

We’re going to need to push the syringe into the damper. It will then, as a result, push the seal into the damper. This means we don’t want the tip of the syringe to be level. It doesn’t matter how small or shallow the angle and cut are. The only important thing is that it’s not perfectly flat.

Don’t cut it too much, though, because we will need to attach a syringe needle to the tip later on. Push the syringe (without a needle attached for now) into the damper. Start sucking. The ink should, ideally, flow from the printhead, through the tube, through the damper, and into the syringe to fill the vacuum.

When the syringe is full, discard the old ink into the jar or beaker, then repeat until there’s no more ink left in the damper and it stops coming out.

Let’s take a closer look at the ink intake system, and then we’ll add some new sublimation ink into the black. The ink intake is divided into two parts in the middle. I’ve found that the easiest way to refill ink is to stick a needle into the upper part and just inject it. Before you use the ink or put it into the intake system, make sure to shake the ink bottle at least ten times.

After you fill the black ink up, we’ll prime the damper. To do this, we will suck the ink through it again just to make sure that it flows smoothly and it has thoroughly replaced all of the old ink.

Before you insert the black, though, make sure you take the yellow one out first. Repeat the process for the yellow ink. Suck out Epson’s stock ink, add the sublimation ink, and suck it through the damper with the syringe to make sure it’s ready to go. Then do the same process on the cyan ink, then on the magenta ink a fourth time.

If you still have the old Epson ink bottle, you can just pour the sublimation ink into that and use that to refill it. It makes the process a whole lot easier. People also sell their used bottles on eBay sometimes. We recycle our used ink bottles too, which you can buy from our website (

Next, visit our website, go to the accessories section, and look for empty bottles. You could also try typing “bottles” into the search bar at the top of the page. You can usually get a pack of four empty bottles for around five dollars. They should fit most new Epson EcoTank models perfectly.

There will be a clear plastic piece inside the printer that most people struggle to put back correctly. If you don’t manage to, it’ll move around and make a lot of obnoxious noise whenever you try to use your printer.

First, tuck the ink tubes in so that they lay flat. The hole on the bottom of the clear plastic piece is kind of useless, so we will completely ignore it. Focus instead on the hole on the top and right sides of the piece.

You should be able to feel a tab on the black plastic part underneath. There should be one tab corresponding with each hole. Just push them down onto the tab, and they should fit perfectly. Once they’re both in place, slide the clear plastic piece backward to lock it in.

Clean the Print Heads

We’ve gotten the sublimation ink into the printer, but we’re still nowhere near done. The next part is the part that people tend to struggle with most. Go to your printer’s display screen. Under the maintenance tab, find the option labeled “head cleaning.” Just do one to start with.

When that’s done, it’ll ask you if you want to print out another line check. Say yes. The line check will look messy, but don’t be alarmed. We’ll keep doing this until the old ink is completely used. Every third cleaning, though, you have to go back to the home screen, select the maintenance tab, and tell it to do another head cleaning.

After you get a clean check, we’ll print ten copies of a dark image. This will use up all the old ink left in the printhead. Once the images start to print out weird and distorted, do another nozzle check.

The nozzle check will turn out absolutely awful. That’s good. A terrible nozzle check means that all the old ink is definitely completely gone. Repeat the cleaning process some more until it gives you a perfect line check again. That means the sublimation ink is running smoothly. Again, remember to go back to the home screen after every three cleanings.

Select another dark image to print out. Go to “file print” and then “print settings.” Set the quality to high, go to more options, and deselect “highspeed.” Check the box next to “mirror image.”

Sublimation paper will have a coated side and a print side. Usually, the sides are marked with an indicator, but if not then always print on the white side. The colored one will almost always be coated.

The colors on the print will look dull and faded, but that’s normal. It takes heat to transform the colors. If you look at the black part, it will have more of a brown tint than pure black. That’s normal too. You just have to find the right heat to make it at. Too hot or too cold will both cause the black to come out as a dark brown. It’s really a matter of trial and error for that part.

Aug 2nd 2022

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