According to Sean Oakley, General Manager of Transfer Express, one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to applying transfers is “How do I know if my heat press is printing at the right temperature?” Sean asked me to address this in a blog posting, because he wants to remind everyone that your heat press is a production piece of equipment that requires regular maintenance. I echo his sentiment that “Heat Calibration is a must!” Heat is the most important ingredient to the success of a good heat transfer.
We all know you can’t properly apply a transfer without the right combination of time, temperature and pressure. If for any reason you have experienced an improper transfer or other heat print graphic application, the problem may lie in the accuracy of your heat platen. One of the easiest ways to test your platen for temperature accuracy is to order a Heat Press Test Kit from either Stahls’ ID Direct or Stahls’ Transfer Express.
The temperature strips will let you know if there are “cold spots” or uneven heat throughout your upper platen. Presses with cold spots are not ideal for transfer application and could cause transfers to apply unevenly or not at all. If you need help, Hotronix has a 24/7 Blue Ribbon hotline that you can call to have someone walk them through how to re calibrate your temperature readout if you are having problems.
To check the pressure on a heat press, place squares of paper in each corner of the press. Close the upper platen and lock it into place. Heat presses with a pressure readout will display the setting on the front. If your press doesn’t have a pressure readout, there is no way to determine pressure. However, you can see if the upper platen is providing even pressure by checking to see if any of the paper squares can be more easily removed. If this is the case, you may have a warped upper platen, which could possibly affect your heat print applications. If your test results indicate that you may need a new heat press, here is a list of things you should be aware of when choosing a new press.
Here are a few more tips for improved transfer application:
Always preheat your press. Before applying the first shirt of the day, lower the platen over the bottom platen to warm it up a bit as well. Also, don’t forget to preheat the shirt before application. This not only removes wrinkles from the garment, but also helps to release moisture and sizing in the fabric that could prevent proper transfer application. What’s your most frequently asked heat printing question? I’ll be glad to help you find the answer.