Heat Press Stations That Work Best
Finding a Heat Press station that works best for your business will help you complete projects smoothly and with minimal time and effort.
We’ll help you understand what to look for in a heat press station and what features you want to take into consideration.
Size of your space
Many heat presses, like the Hotronix IQ Fusion, fit comfortably onto a work surface. Ensuring you have the desk space to house the heat press and still move around it comfortably is important.
Another option may be the Air Fusion which comes on a stand. Allowing you to move it around the room when necessary. Or if you do not have the counter space available for a machine.
There is also the Dual Air Fusion. A two platen system so you can quickly work on two shirts at a time (prepping one shirt while the other is under the press), but does take up more space.
Swing-away vs. Drawer
A swing-away system requires you to have space to the side of the heat press. The top half of the press swings away, allowing you to place the shirt on the platen.
Whereas a drawer system pulls out and you need the room to step back a few feet. Using the drawer you can have other heat presses next to it or other work equipment.
The benefit of a system like the IQ Fusion, is that it has both. You can have still use your machine regardless of space constraints. You can take it to trade shows and not have to worry about how it’s set up. And you can decide whether you prefer working with the swing-away feature or the drawer.
One thing that many new custom apparel decorators don’t take into consideration is the threadability of their heat press machine. Threadability allows you to place the platen into the shirt, or other blank.
Why this is important is that it allows you to heat press onto both sides of the shirt. Without threadability you’re limited to creating designs on one side of the shirt.
Especially when working with rhinestones, where pressing too many times can cause the glue to soak through the fabric and glue the front and back of the shirt together.
The size of your platen determines the size of the designs you can create and the number of times you have to press.
When it comes to your work station space, you may find that you need the few extra inches that an 11” x 15” gives you. Just know that for some designs you may need to press the top half of the shirt first and then the second.
When you’re creating an order of 100 shirts, those extra presses add up. So, if you have the space, we always recommend going with a larger press. The IQ Fusion giving you a 16” x 20” surface to work with.
There are a few other things to take into consideration when setting up your heat press station.
- Air Flow – Heat presses do give off a little bit of residual heat. When you’re standing next to one all day pressing away it can get a little warm. Having a window you can open or a fan in your space may make things a little more comfortable.
- Supplies – Having supplies like your finishing sheets and paper nearby is always helpful.
- Additional Platens – Having more than one size platen allows you to work with different sized blanks. Children’s shirts may require a smaller platen. Or if you want to heat press onto pants and shirt sleeves.
Getting your Heat Press station up and running
Once you’ve purchased your heat press machine and accessories you’re ready to get started. Using a heat press machine is fairly straight forward:
- Power it on. The great thing about heat presses is that they’re compatible with the standard 220 volt sockets. You can use the press in a home business. If you’re in a commercial space you don’t have to move the machine to a socket that allows for higher voltages.
- Set the temperature. Different blanks and transfers will have different temperature requirements. Ensuring the transfer is cured properly. Heat Presses like the IQ Fusion have presets to make this process even easier for you.
- Set the timer. Curing the transfer onto the blank will require anywhere from a few seconds to 3 minutes. Working with your presets you can even set up multiple timers. Which is especially useful when working with layer vinyl.
- Place the garment. You want to thread the garment all the way onto the platen and make sure that it’s lined up properly so the design doesn’t go on crooked.
- Preheat your garment. This step is optional, but can be really useful to help remove and wrinkles in the fabric, ensuring your transfer goes on smooth.
- Close the press. Once the transfer is placed properly you simply close the press and the timer will start.
- Open the press. Once the timer goes off, open the press and peel the transfer paper off your blank.
Every custom apparel business has different needs when it comes to their heat press stations. Knowing your space and the type of transfers and clients you’re going to be working with will help you determine the right set up for your business.