The Epson SureColor F170 Dye Sublimation Printer is easy to set up using our helpful guide below. You can get started on printing your sublimation designs and make or create your own custom products right away.
Imagine being able to create a shirt for tonight’s event, or design and make a wedding gift for this weekend. It’s possible when you correctly set up your Epson F170 sublimation printer using our easy to follow instructions.
About the Epson F170
The Epson SureColor® F170, model number C11CJ80201, is a compact dye sublimation printer that lets you create custom and personalized clothing, home decor, accessories, and gifts using the sublimation process.
This printer from Epson became available to the authorized dealers in December 2020 and the authorized dealers released them to the general public in January of 2021.
It is the most affordable, true sublimation printer in the market. There is no need to convert it to sublimation unlike other Epson inkjet printers. It’s actually one of the printers we recommend for beginner sublimakers and a very capable sublimation printer to use to create T-shirts.
One advantage of using this true sublimation printer as opposed to Converting An Epson Inkjet Printer is that It comes with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty. It also includes technical support via their toll-free number or email. Converted Epson printers do not have a warranty and your only tech support is reaching out to us or the sublimation community for help.
This printer prints sublimation designs created from various sublimation design softwares and apps.
We, at SublimakersAcademy, have been using this printer for our sublimation business since it became available in January 2021 so we’re very familiar with it. Read our detailed Epson SureColor F170 Dye Sublimation Printer Review to find out the pros and cons of this printer and why we believe it’s the best small format “true” sublimation printer.
What’s In The Box
Inside the box, you’ll get the installation guide document, the F170 printer, a complete set of CMYK ink, and the power cord.
The installation guide document has detailed, step-by-step instructions with diagrams on how to set up your new printer. It also has a short troubleshooting guide, control panel guide, technical support phone numbers, and part numbers for the replacement ink.
The F170 is wrapped in plastic and easy to pull out of the box as it’s a lightweight printer, weighs about 10 pounds. It has several protective tapes to keep parts from shifting during the shipping process. The first step is actually removing all these tapes. Make sure every single one is removed including one inside the top printer cover.
The 4 CMYK sublimation inks included in the box are 140ml in size. They are individually sealed in vacuum packed plastic bags. Epson suggests not to open them until you’re ready to fill your printer with the ink to maintain its freshness and reliability.
The only cable it comes with is the power cord. If you plan to connect to this printer directly from your computer or laptop, you’re going to need a USB 2.0 Printer Cable A to B. Ethernet connection from your LAN (local area network) hub is also possible using a Cat 5e or higher RJ-45 Cable.
Epson Dye Sublimation Ink
A set of CMYK sublimation ink that are 140ml, full-sized bottles come with the printer. It’s enough to fill the empty tanks completely to the top fill line.
At your very first ink installation, the ink also has to fill the lines and some will be used to charge the print heads. So don’t be alarmed if the ink seems to have gone down a lot from your initial fill.
The tops of these sublimation ink has two parts, the outer cap and the inner cap. Make sure you only unscrew the outer cap and leave the inner cap on.
The inner cap’s shape differs from each color as they are uniquely shaped keys that only fit in the ink port (tank) it goes into. This is a smart design so you won’t ever make the mistake of adding the wrong ink color into the wrong ink tank.
Once you insert the ink bottle straight into the port, the ink will automatically flow into the tank. You don’t have to squeeze the bottle to make this happen.
When the ink levels get to the top fill line, simply pull the bottle off and ink flow stops. You can recap the bottle if you have some leftover in the bottle. The shelf life of these opened bottles are 6 months.
Epson also offers a recycling program for their ink bottles. This green initiative is an environmentally responsible way to save resources, reduce the amount of landfill waste, and reduce pollution.
F170 Printer Set Up Process
Fill The Ink Tanks
When you are ready to fill the tanks, Epson suggests that the ink bottles are shaken for about 5 seconds (15 up and down shakes). You can then open the vacuum sealed plastic bags they are in.
Open the top cover so you can access the ink tank cover. Here is where you’ll find the 4 different individual ink tank covers.
Open the first ink reservoir cover and leave the others closed. Choose the corresponding ink color to fill this tank. The bottles are labeled on the front so it’s easy to see which is which. The inner caps of each bottle have keys that only fit in the right tank so mistakes are avoided.
After you fill the ink tanks, you may now plug in your printer to an electrical plug using the supplied power cord.
Select Your Language
Turn on the printer by pressing the power button. You can select your language preference by using the up and down button. Once the language of your choice is selected, press the OK button to accept.
When you see the “Start Here” on the LCD screen, press and hold down the question mark (?) button for 5 seconds. You’ll have to confirm that the ink tanks have been filled before going further.
Once you confirm that, the printer will go through the ink charging process. This is when the ink is taken from the tank and fills the ink tubes and print heads. It performs all the necessary checks to make sure all systems are functioning correctly.
This process takes approximately 14 minutes to finish. Do not interrupt the process by turning off the printer or unplugging it.
You can now insert your sublimation paper into the front loading paper tray. It can hold up to 150 sheets at a time.
The tray has a blue paper guide that you can move in order to fit your selected paper size. It can fit papers that are 3.5 inches to 8.5 inches wide.
Epson’s sublimation paper is called “DS Transfer Multi Use” and comes in two sizes: the standard 8.5×11 inches and the legal size 8.5×14 inches.
There are smaller width sublimation papers available from other manufacturers for smaller projects such as mugs and ornaments. They are about 3.5 inches wide so this is when you’ll use the Epson’s paper guide to its smallest width.
Load your sublimation paper with the printable side facing down. Epson’s sublimation paper has a bright white side and a light gray side. The white side is the printable side. Other brands may have a watermark on the back side.
Nozzle And Alignment Checks
When you hit OK after you load the paper in, a nozzle check will be printed. This is a test to see if all the printer heads are printing properly.
If there are spaces or missing lines in the nozzle check, select the X using the left and right arrow buttons. The printer will run a cleaning cycle. A new nozzle check will be printed after.
If the nozzle check is perfect, then select O to continue. The alignment check starts by printing a page with boxes.
Look for the box that looks the best in terms of not having any lines through it. Choose the corresponding number by using the plus (+) or minus (-) sign to select the box number. Then hit ok.
The next step is the horizontal alignment check. Find the best set of rectangular boxes that are not overlapping and have no space between them. Use the plus and minus sign again to choose the number on the printer. Press Ok to continue.
Download Drivers And Utilities
Connect your printer to your computer using either WiFi, USB or Ethernet. Detailed instructions on how to set up the WiFi SSID and Ethernet Settings can be found in the Epson’s manual, page 21.
USB and Ethernet are more stable than wireless. You will need this cable to use the USB connection:
After you connect to your computer, you can get the drivers and utilities from Epson’s website.
Please note that even though there’s a “detected” notice on the Operating System drop down menu, check to see if it is correct. Check your PC or Mac for the current Operating System (OS) version.
To find your current OS:
- PC – click start or windows button → settings → about.
- Mac – click on the apple symbol on the upper left → about this mac
Select the OS version you have in Epson’s drop down menu, then click on “Go” to bring up the appropriate drivers for your computer
You’ll now see “Drivers” and “Utilities” that you can click on to open the windows for the available downloads. Download the “Drivers and Utilities Combo Package Installer”. Then install that on your PC or Mac.
CONNECT USING A USB
Connect your sub printers directly to your computer. It’s the simplest way and more reliable than WiFi. If the wireless signal is poor or lags during the printing process, it will be interrupted and will not print the entire sublimation design.
Now that your new F170 has been installed, you can now print your sublimation designs. Settings will depend on your PC or Mac and your design program software.
For more detailed help with Mac settings for the Epson F170, you can read our Comprehensive Review of the Epson F170 Sublimation Printer. It includes the pros, cons, and actual test print images so you can see how well it prints.