Desktop printers are everywhere these days, and they can be found in nearly every household. Many crafters are starting small businesses using their desktop printers to make stickers or transfers for shirts. What most people aren’t aware of is the media these small businesses are using to create their stickers or transfers are usually only compatible with eco-solvent or solvent ink. The average desktop printer uses aqueous ink or water based inks, so how are they able to print on this media? They’re converting their desktop printers to eco-solvent ink.
Cause of the Problem
Converting your standard desktop printer to eco-solvent ink sounds genius. There's social media influencers and other creators telling people to do it, so it must be a great way to get a small eco-solvent printer to meet your business’s needs without having to spend thousands of dollars to get a large format printer. However, the reality is that converting a desktop printer will ultimately damage the printer. The printer was not made for eco-solvent ink which can be corrosive to plastic that isn’t designed for that ink. Many who convert their printers also complain that their prints never come out correctly or the ink never dries. Desktop printers do not have built in dryers to dry and set the ink like an eco-solvent printer would.
How to Fix the Problem
So what can these crafters and small businesses do to fix these problems with their converted printers and their bad prints? The answer is pretty simple. Don’t convert your desktop printers. Once you’ve converted your desktop printer, there isn’t a way to go back, and any damage the eco-solvent ink may have caused will likely cost more to repair than it would be to just replace the printer. There isn’t anything you can do about bad prints. Desktop printers aren’t meant to be used to print on eco-solvent media, and therefore, they don’t have all the necessary parts that will make your prints look good.
How to Avoid the Problem
The best thing you can do if you want to print on eco-solvent media is buy an eco-solvent printer. These printers can be expensive, and they are a very big commitment. However, if you want to start a business making stickers or transfers with eco-solvent media, using the correct printer will save you a lot of time, money, and misery.
To summarize, converting a desktop printer sounds like a great, inexpensive way to get an eco-solvent printer for printing stickers and transfers, but in reality, it can cause a lot of problems down the road. The ink will damage your printer, and your prints will never come out correctly. Unfortunately, once you convert your printer, you can’t fix it. In the end, the best solution is to buy an actual eco-solvent printer.