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Sawgrass SG500 Sublimation Printer: Capabilities, Setup & FAQ

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Sawgrass printers are built specifically for sublimation printing and offer lower startup costs than other sublimation printers.

The Sawgrass printing system includes a print manager, CreativeStudio, SubliJet-UHD inks, and support from the Sawgrass team.

CreativeStudio is an online design tool that can help you to create fonts, images, and other graphics and comes with free templates.

What can you do with a Sawgrass SG500?

A Sawgrass SG500 is a sublimation printer. It uses heat-activated inks to print on sublimation transfer paper, which is then applied to a polyester or polymer coated substrate. A heat press is used to activate the ink and embed the image in the material. 

Having the right printer for the job is crucial when it comes to sublimation printing.

If you’re new to sublimation printing or just curious about how the process works, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the Sawgrass SG500 sublimation printer.

About the Sawgrass SG500

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The Sawgrass SG500 is an upgrade from the Sawgrass SG400 printer. It is more energy efficient and produces higher-resolution images than its predecessor.

How the Sawgrass SG500 Works

To use the Sawgrass SG500, you will first create an image using design software. CreativeStudio is the online software that comes with the printer.

You will then make sure that the image or lettering is reversed as needed and that the sublimation ink cartridges are properly installed. 

Then simply print the image onto your sublimation transfer paper.

The transfer paper can then be applied to the substrate of your choice, which is placed in a heat press to activate the ink and transfer the design from the paper onto the material. 

What Ink To Use With Sawgrass SG500

You will want to use sublimation ink with the Sawgrass SG500. Sublimation ink is special ink that transforms from a solid to a gas (or sublimates) when exposed to heat. 

The ink in vapor form then permeates any substrate (or material) that contains polyester.

Once the heat is removed, the ink turns back into a solid, becoming permanently embedded in the substrate.

Sawgrass Sublijet Ink Bundle

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The Sawgrass Sublijet Ink Bundle is compatible with both the Sawgrass SG500 and SG1000 sublimation printers and comes with a set of four 31-milliliter sublimation ink cartridges in Black, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow.

It also contains 110 sheets of sublimation paper as well as 3 rolls of heat tape.

All you’ll need to get started with sublimation printing is a heat press, blow out paper, and something to print on! 

Accessories Needed for Sawgrass Sublimation Printer

The sublimation printing process requires the following items:

Sublimation Printer

The Sawgrass SG500 is a great printer for designing professional quality products from the comfort of your own home. It can be used to make customized gifts for friends and family, or to create items to sell. 

The Sawgrass SG1000 is priced higher than the SG500, but it can produce larger items and is a good choice for anyone looking to get into the sublimation printing business.

It’s great for creating large quantities of smaller items.

The Sawgrass VJ628 is ideal for professionals looking for a sublimation printer that can handle high-volume demands. 

Sublimation Ink

Sublimation ink is a special kind of ink that reacts with heat to become a part of polyester fabrics or harder materials with a polymer coating.

Sublimation Paper

Sublimation ink is made to be printed onto sublimation paper (find it here at a great price).

The ink can look pale or washed out on the sublimation paper, but once heat is applied to the paper the colors will transfer onto a sublimation blank and appear brighter and sharper. 

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Heat Press

A heat press (like this 5-in-1 swing-away model), an iron, or an EasyPress (Irecommend the Cricut EasyPress 2) can be used to press the design into the substrate.

The key things are to make sure that the temperature is high enough and appropriate for the specific item being pressed and that pressure is applied for the correct amount of time.

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Heat Tape or Adhesive Spray

Heat tape or adhesive spray (this spray is widely used by hobbyists and pros alike)  is used to keep the transfer paper from slipping while heat is being applied, which can lead to ghosting or double prints. 

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Blowout Paper

Blowout paper protects your heat press and sublimation blank from wayward ink. Uncoated butcher paper is a good, cost-effective option for blowout paper.

Sublimation Blanks

Sublimation blanks are what you print on.

They should contain polyester or a poly-coating for best results, although there are newer sublimation inks that are designed to print on a wider range of materials.

What Heat Press Is Best for Sawgrass Virtuoso SG500?

The best heat press to use with your Sawgrass SG500 printer is the one that will meet your needs.

A larger sized clamshell-style heat press can be used for pressing designs onto T-shirts and other fabric items, while you will need to use a specially designed heat press for items such as mugs or tumblers. 

You can purchase a multifunction heat press, such as the CO-Z 110V 5 in 1 Heat Press.

This machine enables you to transfer sublimation prints onto multiple objects, such as T-shirts, mugs, hats, plates, puzzles, and more. 

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Basic Setup

The basic setup for the Sawgrass SG500 involves unboxing it, setting it up, and downloading, installing, and setting up software.

Unboxing and Setup

The SG500 comes with an installation kit that should include sublimation ink cartridges and USB and power cords.

When you first take your SG500 out of the box, you want to make sure that these items are with it.

Then you can remove any tape from the outside of the printer itself as well as any packing materials from around or inside it. 

Next, you will put the ink cartridges into the slots in the printer. There should be illustrated instructions located inside of the lid of the installation kit detailing which direction to insert the ink cartridges.

The colors should go in the order of Black, Magenta, Cyan, and Yellow, from left to right. 

Put your sublimation paper with the blank side down into the bottom front tray of the printer, and plug in the USB and power cords.

Turn on the printer and wait for it to load the inks; this may take around 7 minutes. 

Downloading and Installing Software

Fill out the registration form and create your account with the Sawgrass Network.

Then click “Download Software” and select the Sawgrass Print Manager that corresponds with your computer’s operating system (Windows or Mac).

Once it has downloaded, follow the setup instructions.

How To Use the Sawgrass SG500

Open the Sawgrass Print Manager, right click the task bar, choose “Open Local File,” then pick the image or design you wish to print.

You can print from formats including PNG, JPEG, TIFF, HEIC, SG, SGZ, and SGY. 

If you’re using Windows, select Sawgrass Print Manager as your printer, and set its print scaling to 100% or “Actual Size.”

Click the “Material” tab, and choose which substrate you will be sublimating your printed image on. 

Choose the type of sublimation paper you are using, and select your print quality settings. The images are mirrored by default, but you can manually change this setting if needed.

If you’re using two trays with your printer, pick the tray you want to use under the “Source” setting.

If you want to save the print job for future use, select the “Print to File” option located in the “Other” tab. You can then press “Print.”

Once the design has printed, it can be transferred to your desired substrate using a heat press. 

With What Is the Sawgrass SG500 Compatible?

The Sawgrass SG500 is backwards-compatible with the SG400 printer. The SG500 can be used with Windows 8, 8.1, 10, or higher or with Mac OC 10.14 or later versions.

Your computer should have a minimum of 2 GB of RAM, with a recommended 8 GB of RAM.

Can You Do Everyday Printing With Sawgrass SG500?

You can do everyday printing with the Sawgrass SG500, but it’s going to cost you. The price of sublimation ink is not worth printing on regular copy paper.

You’re much better off financially using a regular inkjet printer with regular ink to do your everyday printing and saving the Sawgrass SG500 strictly for sublimation printing needs.

How Long Does Ink Last in Sawgrass SG500?

Most sublimation inks should come with a use-by date. If you leave the ink too long in the printer, it can dry out and lead to color shifting, clogged printer heads, or banding.

If you’re not going to be using your printer for a period of time, it’s a good idea to run the head-cleaning function. 

How Big Can a Sawgrass SG500 Print?

The SG500 can print on media up to 8.5 x 14 inches (22 x 36 centimeters).

This is plenty big enough to apply to a wide range of substrates, including mugs, tumblers, phone cases, key chains, T-shirts, and more. 

What’s the Difference Between Sawgrass 500 and 1000?

The Sawgrass SG500 costs less than the Sawgrass SG1000 and requires newer versions of Windows to run than the SG1000.

The SG1000 is a larger printer than the SG500 and can print on larger materials.

The SG500 is a good choice for sublimation printing at home, while the SG1000 can be used for commercial sublimation printing.

Sawgrass SG500

Sawgrass SG1000

Lower cost

Roughly $1,000 more than the SG500

Can print on media up to 8.5” x 14” (22 x 36 cm)

Can print on media up to 11” x 17” (28 x 43 cm)

Can run on Windows 8, 8.1, 10 (recommended) or later

Can run on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (recommended) or later

Physical dimensions are 15.75” x 17.25” x 8.5”

Physical dimensions are 21” x 14.25” x 8.5”

Is Sawgrass Ink Expensive?

The SG500 sublimation printer is compatible with SublijetHD, EasySubli, and ChromablastHD inks. These inks vary in cartridge size and price. 

SublijetHD31 ml ink cartridges are around $77 each, or $308 for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black
EasySubli29 ml cartridges of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow cost about $29 each; a 42 ml cartridge of Black can be $328
ChromablastHD31 ml ink cartridges of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black are around $54 each

Is Sawgrass Better Than Epson for Sublimation?

While Sawgrass’s SG500 printer costs around $550, Epson’s sublimation printers range anywhere from around $300-$1500.

The SG500’s install kit helps to save ink (and money!) while Epson printers use less power. The SG500 prints at 4880 x 1200 dpi, while Epson printers use PrecisionCore Technology to print at 1440 to 2400 dpi. 

Is the Sawgrass SG500 Wireless?

The SG500 comes equipped with WiFi connectivity, but it can also be used with a USB. It does come with a USB and a power cord. 

How Long Does the Ink Last?

Sublimation inks do have a shelf life, and generally last about a year. How long a cartridge will last will, of course, depend on how much you use.

How Many Items Can I Print With One Ink Cartridge?

It depends on what designs you are printing and what size they are.

If you are interested in how much it will cost you to print items with sublimation ink, you will want to figure out how many square inches are in your design, what percentage of your coverage area will be printed on, and how many designs you can print on a single sheet of transfer paper.

In general, sublimation printing costs about 1 cent per square inch in ink. 

Will the Sawgrass SG500 Work With a Laptop?

As long as you have the required operating systems and can either plug the SG500 into your laptop using an ethernet cable or connect using WiFi, the Sawgrass SG500 should be able to work with a laptop.

Will the Sawgrass SG500 Work With Bluetooth?

The Sawgrass SG500 is designed to work with your WiFi connection. 

Is the Sawgrass SG500 Backward Compatible?

The Sawgrass SG500 is backward compatible, meaning that it can use the bypass trays from the SG400.

The bypass trays from the SG400 enable the Sawgrass SG500 to print on media up to 8.5 x 51 inches. 


The Sawgrass SG500 is an affordable sublimation printer that produces high-resolution images ideal for sublimation printing on a wide variety of materials.

It’s a great choice for hobbyists as well as those who are looking to start their own sublimation printing business.

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