We demonstrate saturable absorption operation of single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) deposited by an efficient electrospray process that provides target-localized deposition with a homogeneous dispersion of the nanomaterials. An improvement in deposition efficiency of 95% is achieved. CNT dispersion/deposition conditions are optimized for suppressed CNT agglomeration, thereby maximizing the nonlinear absorption of CNTs. An ultrafast saturable absorber is formed with side-polished fiber as a substrate for evanescent field interaction of propagated light with CNTs. A resultant fiber mode-locked laser is realized. The laser has output with an estimated pulse duration and repetition rate of 190.9 fs and 3.95 MHz, respectively.