Heat Press Pressure in Direct-to-Garment Printing – There’s still much confusion about the details of DTG printing, and unfortunately much misinformation. There are two steps to look at when it comes to your heat press.
Number 1 is pretreating. Once you’ve pretreated the shirt with an automatic pretreat machine on hand-held power sprayer, and you want to print right away, you’ll need to dry the shirt with your heat press. If the pressure is too light, that extends the drying time and more importantly leaves fibers standing up on the garment. So when you are drying pretreat, use heavy pressure. As a side note, if you allow your shirts to air dry, you’ll still need to press the shirt with heavy pressure for about five seconds before printing.
Number 2 is the printed shirt that must be heat set for wash-ability. If you use too heavy pressure, it will press the ink into the shirt and mix the inks on dark shirts to give a dull washed-out appearance. When curing the ink on a shirt, use light pressure for the best result.
Heat Press Pressure Settings – Lots of questions about what light, medium or heavy pressure is when talking about heat presses. If your press has a digital read out of 1 to 10 typically those numbers are equal to about 10 psi each. So 10 would be 100psi and that would be heavy pressure. 5 to 6 would be medium and 7 to 8 would be medium heavy. If you have a cheap heat press then I’d advise upgrading, but the best advice I can give you is if you can close it with one arm that is light pressure, if you can close it with 2 arms that is medium pressure, and if you have to grunt to close it or give it some elbow grease so to speak that is heavy pressure. Fortunate most substrates and methods don’t require exact pressure, but ideally having a digital read out is best.
Heat Press Maintenance – Use heat strips to make sure your heat press temperature is correct. They are relatively inexpensive and I would suggest using these one a month, or at least once a quarter. Place them in all 4 corners and one in the middle and press as if you were pressing your most common item (as long as the temp is in the strip range) to make sure it is actually at the correct temp. Press for 10 seconds and then verify the temperature is the same as the readout.
Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast from August 16th, 2013, so you can get more details on some of the items we discussed. This show we again covered some of the common heat press options available, based on Aaron’s article in A&E Magazine (Page 72). Continue reading →
With multiple heat press manufactures and multiple options from each, you have hundreds of different options/choices to make when choosing a heat press that is right for your business. In this article we will explore 4 of the main characteristic differences that you need to be aware of so you can figure out which press is going to be best for your business. These differences do not necessarily make one type better than the other, but understanding the pros and cons of each will allow you to identify the variables that will make one right for you over another. Continue reading →