t-shirt with heat press vinyl printing

Guest Post: So, How Exactly Do Heat Presses Work

t-shirt with heat press vinyl printing

Heat presses may be something you have heard a lot about recently, and investing in one of these machines could help you start a successful business. However, it could be that you are still not quite sure what they actually are and how they work.

In the following post, we aim to change this by discussing exactly what they are, how they are used and some considerations you should make when purchasing one.

First things first...


What Are Heat Presses?

Heat presses are machines that can transfer a piece of artwork, whether it is a logo, images, letters, a phrase or just numbers onto various materials including ceramics (such as cookware and mugs), wood and clothing such as t-shirts.


So, Heat Printing is?

Heat printing is often referred to as heat transfer printing and is the actual process of pressing or applying materials that have been warmed to various other materials, as noted above, using a heat press. The heat-applied materials used have an adhesive that is sensitive to heat and when the heat is applied using the heat press it adheres/sticks to the chosen item - resulting in a nicely decorated item.


What Can Be Done With a Heat Press?

There is a wide variety of ways a heat press can be used to easily and affordably decorate another item. Some of the items people have been known to use a heat press to decorate include:

  • T-shirts
  • Staff or sports team uniforms
  • Bags
  • Fan and supporter clothing
  • Mugs
  • A wide variety of other items, particularly used by businesses for promotional purposes.


Considerations to Make

If you are contemplating investing in a heat press, there are some important considerations you need to make before you do so. Remember, there are large number of different heat press machines on the market nowadays, which is why we will discuss some of these considerations to help you whittle the long list down to the perfect machine for your needs and requirements.

3 key aspects you need to consider if you are planning on using a heat press for decorating any item, as each and every heat transfer material available has its own unique heat printing instructions pertaining to the following:

Pressure: This is the downward force required for applying heat

Temperature: This is the optimal degree with which a design will stick or adhere to a garment or item

Time: This is the amount of time, measured in seconds, that the heat has to be applied for to the design and garment in question.


Choosing The Best Heat Press

Given that there are many different heat presses available, as we've established earlier - how do you go about choosing the right kind of heat press for your needs? There are a further 5 key factors you need to consider:

Cost - How much are you looking to invest in a heat press machine?

Experience - How experienced are you working with heat presses and similar machines?

Size - What kind of garments are you planning to decorate using a heat press?

Production - What size of operation do you have or plan to have and how much will use will you get out of a heat press?

Space - How much available space do you have for a heat press machine set-up?


Overview of Different Heat Press Machines Available

To help you make the right choice, we have given an overview of the most common types of heat press machines out there.


Auto Open Clam Heat Press

This is a heat press machine that is designed to allow users to multitask easily without any danger of burning the garments you are working with.

This type of heat press is best suited to beginners, takes up the least space of any other machine on the market and is therefore also, the most portable variety.


Swinger/Draw Heat Press

This is a heat press machine that is designed to allow users flexibility to thread various garments off or on the platen while in a workspace free of heat.

This type of heat press is best suited for more experienced users of heat printing machines and is able to produce a large amount of work; but, takes up a lot more space than the above open clam variety.


Air Swinger/Draw Heat Press

This is a heat press machine that is designed to decrease the fatigue suffered by users by utilising compressed air.

This type of heat press is best suited to businesses looking to or that already produce high volumes, and creates a workspace free from heat. However, this is variety of heat press costs the most amount of money.

Hopefully, thanks to the information in the above post, you now feel better able to navigate the often overwhelming selection of heat press machines there are out there, to find the best one for your business.


Guest Author BIO:

Simon is a heat press enthusiast and blogger. He runs a small blog (Heat Press Hangout) specializing in heat presses.

If you would also like to write for us, find out how on our guest blogger page.


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