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MINKDADDY

starting into heat pressing shirts

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I would like some recommendations on what items i would need to purchase for starting into t shirt pressing. I already have a vinyl cutter and i am looking at the 15x15 us cutter model. What vinyl do you recommend and what other tools are of upmost importance. I would like to place an order today but dont want to get stuff and i dont need and vise versa. Thanks so much for the help. 

 

FYI i will mainly use darker shirts so i figure a white and yellow vinyl will suffice for now.

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For someone starting out, I would only recommend Siser Easyweed. It's pretty much the best and easiest.   Do remember that if you're doing something on leather, stretchy materials  or water proof items, you'll need a Siser variation.  (All of them are here:  http://www.uscutter.com/Siser-Heat-Transfer-Vinyl.

 

On the heat press, my advice is that if you're 100% sure you're going to build a business around this, get a Perfect Press, GeoKnight or Hottronix.  If you aren't up for spending big dollars, start out with a 15x15 clamshell and you'll probably make enough from your first few jobs to trade up to a more expensive unit.


As for suggested other tools, I find the Tee-Square it to be awesome for creating consistency between shirts on jobs.  http://www.uscutter.com/Tee-Square-It-Transfer-Alignment-Tool

Also - teflon sheets.  Get them. Use them.  You won't be sorry.


Good luck.

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White, yellow, red, blue will get you started.  Most of my cuts aren't any wider then 12" so keep that in mind when ordering your easy weed

roll width.  The girlfriend purchased a 15'' Gecko press.  It's a less expensive one but works flawlessly.  

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If you can afford it, go bigger get a 16x20. Used a cheap ebay china 15x15 swinger for about 6 months before upgrading to a 16x20 Geoknight. Never had any issues with the cheap press but the Geoknight is in a totally different league.

 

Same with this http://www.hotronix.com/heat-press-laser-alignment-system, completely worth it, really sped up my shirt making process.

 

Shirts - Jiffyshirt.com unless you have a resellers license etc.

 

This for those times you forget to weed something. http://www.uscutter.com/AlbaChem-Vinyl-Letter-Removing-Solvent HTV falls off with this stuff. I've had great luck using it applied to a Q tip and applied only to a specific location to remove unwanted HTV. Removed an entire design just to see what it does, there was a faint outline left of a few letters.

 

I too use siser easyweed, keep Black and white on hand, everything else is a special order. I wouldn't order a ton of material till you know what you're selling. Right now I'm running through a 50 yard roll of white in about 3 weeks. 15" wide, found this to work out best for me with minimal waste.

 

Tips:

 

Don't forget to mirror.

 

Check the temp of your press, verify what the readout says.

 

When layering HTV a few seconds is all that's needed to get the base layer to stick to the shirt, so the final layer can be the full siser recommended time.

 

I press a center line in all my shirts and same with the transfer. Folding the design in half lining up the weeding box as long as the weed box is in the center of the design. This gives you two center lines to align to. Using the laser alignment makes for quick consistent placements with the center lines, but it's not necessary just a time saver and time is money. 

 

Use the backing (what you peal off the shirt once it's pressed) as a scrap catcher when weeding more HTV.

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You guys are awesome and so much help. I really look forward to learning and trying this new machine. Thanks so much for helping all of us newbies and showing us the ropes.  ;D

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I'm going to go against the grain and say a 15" machine might not be bad to start up with. If your budget is tight and you are hoping to get rolling and then upgrade to a higher quality press then a mid sized would get you by. I ran for several years with a 15" and it was sufficient. I would NOT go any smaller than that but rarely is a design larger than about 13" and with HTV you can press in two stages if it is really big. If you don't anticipate upgrading any time soon and/or have a larger budget then a larger press is nice and will help align garments easier.

 

You will probably want to invest in a press pillow or two also to help deal with buttons and thick seams/collars. I use a "Perfect Press Pad" about 5"x 6" to do left breast pints when there are zippers or buttons and I used to use my press pillow all the time until I got a true threadable platen (Fusion) and I only rarely break it out now with the new machine. 

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Best advice is get the best cutter you can afford.  If you are just getting your feet wet and not wanting to invest much I would suggest avoiding the MH bottom of the barrel cutter. It is definitely an affordable way to try it out but at the lower level each step up in the cutter levels make a significant improvement. The SC is a better choice. If you anticipate multiple copies of logo's for shirts you will have better long term success with a name brand cutter (Graphtec or Roland would be my suggestion). HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl) comes on a plastic liner and generates a lot of static electricity as you run it through the cutter. Most of the lower level cutters suffer from all sorts of issues in large part due to static. A single design may not be an issue but trying to cut vinyl for 30 shirts becomes a problem. 

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One thing often overlooked, is the software.  That is, cutters must take vector graphics.  If you plan on hitting the ground running, but don't know anything about vector graphics, you will stall at the gate.  For some, its just a few days to get the hang of it.  For others months.  Just count that hurdle in your equation.

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:thumbsup:

Dave is right....unless you are just putting text onto the shirts you will need to learn how to make your own graphics

and how to trace photo files and logos.  Many small companies do not have their logos in vector files.

Main colors:  White, black, yellow, blue, red & green.....ladies like pink......

Also stock up on the "local" school and team colors. Plus silver and gold.

Sue2

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