The TShirt Press transfers iron-on vinyl (NOT the sticky type!) to TShirts and other clothing. Cut it out with the vinyl cutter, transfer it with the heat press. Works like an iron, except with uniform temperature, pressure and it automatically stops when it's finished.
The TShirt Press is orange, "Take Care". But you can use it without training.
- Jo (informally)
See the owners for occasional demos and training.
- Machine gets hot, especially upper platen
- Do not trap any part of yourself or anyone else in it
- The lid springs up automatically on completion, do not be above it when this happens.
- Turn off after use
- Only use heat-press vinyl, NOT the sticky backed stuff.
Read all instructions and warnings before you start
If using sticky vinyl, ie NOT HeatTShirtVinyl, see Equipment/Vinyl_Cutter for instructions without mirroring.
- Create in Inkscape (see notes below about scaling if you use Illustrator!)
- There are TShirt creation resources on the Vinyl Cutter machine (templates etc)
- Load into SureCutsALot
- Cut on the Silver Bullet
- Press on the heat press
- Create your vinyl masterpiece in Inkscape
- Convert all your objects to path
- Check with view outlines it's what you want (line thickness is ignored remember)
- View -> Display Mode -> Outline
- Save as SVG
- Import into Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) on the vinyl cutter PC
- Check scale (you'll need to make things 25% larger if using Illustrator. Please don't change SCAL import settings)
- Mirror it (Menu: Object -> Transform -> Flip horizontal)
- View as outline to check (sometimes this will show things that it otherwise hides)
- Position top right in SCAL (**add this to the normal cutter instructions)
- Check tool offset is 0.25mm (Cutter -> Cutter Settings)
- Check mat orientation in SCAL
Set up Silver Bullet
- Check correct tip installed (45 degree standard cutter, "Click blade holder", the red one)
- Only ever use hot press Tshirt Heat Vinyl. The sticky backed vinyl is unsuitable.
- Please put money for the vinyl in the honesty box straight away
- Load up Silver Bullet with Heat Vinyl (matt side up)
- Use the Silver Bullet Cutting Sheet to make life easy, you can get away
without it for large vinyl pieces but it sometimes buckles. Portrait or Landscape to match Cutting Sheet.
- Check cut depth on red Click Blade Holder (4?)
- ZERO it (offline mode, cross hair button).
- After Zeroing, press Test to do a test rectangle. Check it cuts the vinyl but not the backing.
- Move cutting head to bottom right of sheet (material at back of printer) and zero it (offline, cross hair)
- Double check you zero'd it and press Online on the Silver Bullet.
- Delete any colours you're not cutting (undo with ctrl-Z later, but don't undo your mirroring!)
- Menu: Cutter -> Cut With Silver Bullet.
- Select Use Software Speed and Pressure. Set to Speed = 200 and f=60. (only use f=60 if you have a backing sheet. may need less if feeding from a roll. speed=200 unknown if optimum)
- Select "Origin Point". Bottom right of piece to match location in SCAL.
- Check Silver Bullet is Online.
- "Cut" to start
- Will start immediately. If there is a delay, you probably forgot Online mode and you should wait for it to download before pressing Online (probably - needs checking)
Pay for your vinyl
- Cut the backing sheet roughly to size - you can reuse largish areas of uncut vinyl.
- Peel away the vinyl that you don't want on your finished design from the backing sheet (this is tricky and you might need a craft knife to separate the layers)
- Weed it (remove the bits you don't want from the backing sheet with pointy thing and tweezers).
- Stick piece to TShirt. Worn TShirts look more narrow, so stick to the centre area.
- Shiny side up. Backing is sticky side down (won't mark TShirt, but will help keep things located)
- Backing is sticky, everything is the right way round at this point and you can see what you're doing
- Check you've got front and back of TShirt the right way round.
Start up the TShirt press
- Be careful - the TShirt Press upper platen gets hot
- Check the machine is in order. No frayed wires, damage etc.
- With the machine off, check the lid can be pressed down firmly (it will not latch with the power off)
- Turn the machine on
- Switch on the right side, at the back of the press.
- 30 Minute limit is on a green button. Clear directions to find this are near/under the machine. (This is to stop the machine being left on after use.)
- Lower the lid slightly to adjust the settings on the back. (Press warms up straight away - caution, hot!)
- There are three modes, the default displays the current temperature at the top and the desired temp at the bottom
- Click SET button and it moves to "SH". Adjust temp with up/down.
- Click SET again and it moves to "ST. Adjust time (in seconds) with up/down.
- Click SET once more to return to the default temperature indication.
- Suggested settings: temp=160 time=16 (seconds). Varies with different vinyls.
- Upper readout shows current temp, wait for it to hit 160 degrees.
- UPPER PLATEN HOT
Lay out and press your TShirt
- UPPER PLATEN VERY HOT
- Optionally flatten your TShirt in the Heat Press (whole TShirt between the platens, press down gently for a few seconds, not far enough for the magnet to catch and timer to start, but don't worry if it does). UPPER PLATEN HOT be careful.
- Lay out your TShirt on the table (facing you if you want to print on the front, etc)
- After the weeding (removal of bits you don't want) there is a tacky backing to the clear carrier. This goes face down against the TShirt (don't worry, won't stick)
- Place the vinyl on the TShirt, dull sticky side down, shiny carrier towards you, everything the correct way round.
- Bear in mind that the TShirt will be super wide when flattened, so stay in the central half.
- Generally designs go much higher up a TShirt than you might think - the centre is often around the midpoint of the arms. Look at other TShirts or try TShirt on in the mirror to get an idea.
- Insert the whole TShirt between the platens being VERY CAREFUL of the top bed. It's hot and easy to catch yourself on it, especially at the back. Be careful not to dislodge your masterpiece.
- Make it wrinkle free but not stretched.
- Make sure you, other users and objects are clear of the platens
- Carefully but firmly push the clamp down until it clicks into position. The timer will start and the lid will hold itself down.
- Keep clear of the lid, it will pop up automatically on completion or at any time if power is cut.
- When the timer has elapsed, the lid will gently pop up.
- Remove the backing sheet while still hot (this may differ between vinyls)
- Turn the machine off after use
- Carefully remove TShirt, being careful of the hot upper platen.
Double check you have turned the TShirt Press off, paid for your vinyl and tidied up
- Do not trap any part of you or anyone else in the press.
- Do not trap any cables or other equipment in the press.
- The lid pops up when it's finished - do not be near it when it is clamped down
- Do not put anything in the heat press other than clothing. No paper, tissue, bacon or pizza. No matter how tempting that is.
Procedure for a new material
Follow this procedure with a new material, where we take the example of 100% polyester, then report your success or failure here. Please note that safety is still your responsibility, i.e. you should ensure that the materials you use can take the heat and will not release toxic fumes.
- find a substrate similar to your target material to use as testing
- find the maximum temperature that your substrate can take (e.g., 148ºC for polyester)
- find the minimum temperature at to melt the glue in the heat vinyl (e.g., 125-150ºC for most heat vinyls)
- use judgment to set the machine to a reasonable temperature and duration:
- one suggestion is to leave for 30 seconds at the maximum temperature of the substrate
- another suggestion is to find the equivalent of the baseline recommendation of 16 seconds at 160ºC (e.g., 20 seconds at 148ºC for 100% polyester substrate and the heat vinyl in stock)
- either way, remember not to expose heat vinyl for longer than 30 seconds (so 15 seconds for each of two colours, 10 seconds for each of 3 colours, etc.)
- test the temperature and duration on the similar material, then adjust as needed
- heat press on the target material
- report results here and share a picture to email@example.com
Results on different materials
We've had success with the following materials:
- 100% polyester, e.g. for sports t-shirts: 20 seconds at 148ºC
- Consider a stencil font to make weeding faster and easier (eg Bodoni)
- If you have individual shapes or letters, place a box or ellipse in the unwanted space around them, to separate the weeding into smaller chunks.
- To stack colours, you can either cut around them and line them up together, or heat press the lowest colour and then heat press the next one.
- Multi colours are easier than expected: you can overly vinyl onto previous layers (don't stack the backing sheets though - do multiple presses). (Cannot stack flock nor reflective / shiny / gold / irridescent / silver etc)
Heat press vinyl stock (NOT the sticky backed type) is available on the usual honesty box system. Please pay for all vinyl that you use or damage by the sheet. We restock from the honesty box and this expected to be self sustaining. We do not make any profit on the honesty boxes.
See the vinyl cutter page if having problems connecting to the Silver Bullet.