October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 46 of 152

I'm having trouble deciding what size heat press to purchase. What should I look for? When choosing a heat press, a few factors are important to consider. The size of the heat press is the first. Look at your space. Will the size you want fit where you want to work? If you're considering a clam shell model, is there enough room for it to open comfortably? If you're looking at a swing- away, you will need to determine if you have enough room for the top to swing away from you. Another consideration is the size of your typical designs and which garment sizes will make up most of your sales. If you are fo- cusing on left-chest pocket logos or smaller designs, you might stay with an 11" X 15" size. If you'd like to print a wider range of design sizes onto a variety of items and shirts of all types, you are better off going big with the 16" X 20" size. CHRIS GALLAGHER, STAHLS' Does the number of shirts you print per day impact which type of heat press you choose? Absolutely! There's a big difference between printing 10–15 designs a day and 20 shirts an hour. Choosing a budget-friendly, auto pop-up clam is enough to handle a smaller workload. However, you will notice a sig- nificant difference in how hot the shop (and YOU!) will get if you are doing 100-plus shirts a day, all day long. For mid to high production, you need to invest in a better heat press to keep the heat away from you. When printing 100 shirts a day, you need a heat press with a solid construction to handle the workload. Additionally, it's im- portant the press is professionally made. The time, temperature, and pressure need to be accurate every time, and not all heat presses are created equal. CHRIS GALLAGHER, STAHLS' If I am having problems with a heat-applied material not adhering properly (coming off in the wash), is there a troubleshooting checklist I can use to figure out what the problem is? Start at the beginning to determine the cause of the design coming off the gar- ments. Make sure you know what type of transfer you are applying and then verify you are following the correct application settings. Sometimes going back and forth between materials might mean the press settings didn't get reset. Secondly, check to make sure you are us- ing the correct accessories. Pockets and one- sies need a pad inside, and buttons or zip- pers need a pillow to ensure proper pressure during application. Finally, make sure your customer is following proper care instruc- tions. These vary depending on the heat transfer. Another issue could be not having the right heat transfer for the substrate. Check fabric compatibility and make sure the fab- ric has not been treated with anything such as waterproofing. Some coatings will pre- vent adhesion. Finally, avoid trying to apply heat trans- fers to garments that have been washed. Both detergents and fabric softeners can leave a residue on the fabric that will block adhesion. CHRIS GALLAGHER, STAHLS' What is the best tool to use to align heat transfers on apparel? One of the No. 1 fears I see the most when heat printing is making sure the transfers are straight and even on the shirt. This is especially true for those who are just start- ing out. There are so many tools on the market for aligning heat-applied graphics. A few op- tions include a placement ruler, T square, laser alignment system, and even a good old regular ruler. Although these can greatly help in aiding alignment, in my opinion, nothing beats a good eye. That's right. Your eyeball is the best tool to align your heat applied transfers. Why? There are several reasons I would rec- ommend training your eye to be your num- ber one, go-to tool. Some tools just require an extra step in the heat printing process. Placing and re- moving a tool onto the platen with every shirt just adds time. Movement is one of the seven manufacturing wastes. When you are printing hundreds of shirts, that extra two or three seconds per shirt will add up over time. Secondly, whichever saying you choose, "close enough for country," "close enough for government work," "close enough for rock and roll," that's exactly what it comes down to. When it's close, it's great. Don't HEAT GRPHCS 4 2 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 If you're shopping for a swingaway press, you will need to determine if you have enough room for the top to swing away from you. (Image courtesy Geo Knight)

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