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v1.0

Major VersionM

by Matt P. Lamparter

Introduction

This guide will teach you how create a custom tee shirt using the Heat Nation press. It requires you already know how to use the vinyl cutter.

The shirt press gets dangerously hot so please use caution!

  1. The press takes some time to warm up so turn on the orange rocker switch on the back, left side of the press first.
    • The press takes some time to warm up so turn on the orange rocker switch on the back, left side of the press first.

    • Caution! The press gets hot and the bottom side of the upper plate can give you serious burns. Be careful!

  2. Every type of vinyl has a particular temperature and press time.  We stock Sizer Easy Weed vinyl which has a set temperature of 305 F.
    • Every type of vinyl has a particular temperature and press time. We stock Sizer Easy Weed vinyl which has a set temperature of 305 F.

    • Read the green numbers on the display to see the set value (SV) for the temperature. If you are using a different vinyl or it is not 305 you need to set it for the vinyl you are using. In this picture the setting is 330 F.

    • While the time for Sizer Easy Weed is 15 seconds we find a time of 25 seconds works better which should be the default setting for the press. Here the time is 18 seconds as shown in the green numbers on the right.

    • The actual temperature of the top plate and time left are shown in blue numbers with the labels PV for process value.

    • If the settings are not correct the next step shows how to change them. Otherwise skip ahead.

  3. Skip this step if you don't need to change the settings of the heat press.
    • Skip this step if you don't need to change the settings of the heat press.

    • To change the settings press the OK button.

    • The first thing to set is the temperature units. Make sure F is selected.

    • Press OK.

    • Now set the Set Values (SV or green numbers) for the temperature using the up an down arrow keys for the vinyl you are using.

    • Press OK.

    • Do the same for the time using the arrow keys then press OK

    • Remember standard Easy Weed vinyl is 305 F for 25 seconds.

  4. Unless you are doing thick or thin fabric you should skip this step!
    • Unless you are doing thick or thin fabric you should skip this step!

    • The screw knob on the top plate is used to adjust the pressure. Too little and the vinyl won't stick. Too much and you can't close the press.

    • If you need to adjust the pressure put a piece of paper on the bottom plate and close the press.

    • It should be hard, but not impossible to pull the paper out without tearing it.

    • If it is easy to pull the paper out then turn the know clockwise to increase the pressure. If the paper can't be pulled out turn the knob counter-clockwise to reduce the pressure.

    • Repeat the above step until you get the pressure right.

  5. While the press is reaching its correct temperature you'll need to prepare the vinyl. The vinyl cutter is used to cut shapes just as in making decals.  See the vinyl cutter tutorial.
    • While the press is reaching its correct temperature you'll need to prepare the vinyl.

    • The vinyl cutter is used to cut shapes just as in making decals. See the vinyl cutter tutorial.

    • DO NOT use sticker vinyl to make shirts. A special shirt vinyl that has a shiny backing layer is used instead.

    • When you are cutting tee shirt vinyl make sure the shiny side (which is the backing) is facing DOWN on the vinyl cutter and the dull side is facing up.

    • The first image shows the reflection from the shiny side and the second from the dull side.

    • Images and text MUST be mirror imaged (flipped left to right) to show up properly on a shirt. You can do this with the original image or do it on the vinyl cutter.

    • The cutting settings used for decal vinyl should work just fine for tee shirt vinyl.

  6. Use tweezers or a sharp object to remove the vinyl you don't want.
    • Use tweezers or a sharp object to remove the vinyl you don't want.

    • When you are done you will have the shape to put on the shirt attached to a transparent sheet as shown.

    • The sticky side of the transparent sheet will go face down on the shirt or other object you are making.

    • Make sure the dull side is down and the shiny side is up on your shirt!

  7. Make sure the press has come to the set point - the green SV and blue SV values are the same. Pull out the bottom sliding stage.
    • Make sure the press has come to the set point - the green SV and blue SV values are the same.

    • Pull out the bottom sliding stage.

    • Carefully put the shirt on the bottom stage, being careful not to touch the hot top plate.

    • The second image shows the shirt on the bottom plate with the lightning bolt vinyl arranged on a shirt sleeve.

    • Make sure the cloth is flat with no wrinkles, especially under the vinyl!

    • It is better to put all the vinyl pieces that fit in the 16" x 16" area of the press on the shirt at once rather than do them one piece at a time.

    • Make sure that the vinyl pieces are well aligned to the shirt and each other before going to the next step.

    • Pressing is permanent, you can't easily pull the vinyl off once you make the shirt so take the time to get it right before moving on.

  8. When you have the vinyl aligned put one of the brown protective films over the top of the shirt to protect it from the hot press.
    • When you have the vinyl aligned put one of the brown protective films over the top of the shirt to protect it from the hot press.

    • DO NOT PRESS WITHOUT THE PROTECTIVE SHEET!

    • Slide the drawer in.

    • Press down HARD but gently on the handle until the press locks into place. You will hear a loud snap.

    • As soon as you move the top handle the timer will start, so push down fairly quickly and don't hesitate.

    • As soon as you start to lower the handle the green PV timer will count down and start to beep with three seconds to go.

    • When the timer reaches zero pull up firmly but gently on the handle to unlock the top plate. Raise it up fully.

    • Before removing your shirt slide out the drawer for safety.

    • The shirt is hot so wait a few seconds before taking off the shirt.

  9. Peel off the transparent backing layer when the shirt is cool enough to do so.
    • Peel off the transparent backing layer when the shirt is cool enough to do so.

    • Your shirt is done!

    • If the vinyl peels up while removing the clear adhesive film first check the settings to make sure they match your vinyl. If they are right then press the design a second time.

    • Now that you have some vinyl on the shirt you can layer it for an applique look or add new designs to the back or the sleeves

    • The next steps describe how to put vinyl on the back of a shirt or how to layer designs.

  10. The process of putting vinyl on the other side of a shirt is exactly the same except there is one more important step.
    • The process of putting vinyl on the other side of a shirt is exactly the same except there is one more important step.

    • Before putting a tee shirt with vinyl on the bottom stage you MUST put one of the brown protective sheets on the bottom, cloth stage!

    • This keeps the vinyl from sticking to the cloth on the bottom stage and ruining the stage and your shirt.

  11. If you want vinyl on top of vinyl you have to do it in two steps.
    • If you want vinyl on top of vinyl you have to do it in two steps.

    • First press the bottom vinyl to the shirt.

    • Remove the clear protective layer then place and align the second vinyl image on top of the existing vinyl.

    • Otherwise the process and settings are exactly the same.

  12. The image shows some common temperature settings and time settings for vinyl.
    • The image shows some common temperature settings and time settings for vinyl.

    • Note it generally does not hurt to increase the time by about ten seconds.

  13. When you are done making shirts make sure to turn off the press using the switch on the side.
    • When you are done making shirts make sure to turn off the press using the switch on the side.

    • Clean up your mess putting the extra vinyl pieces in garbage rather than recycling.

    • Report any damage to the machine or difficulties to the MakerE techs.

Conclusion

At the end of this tutorial you will be able to make custom tee shirts.

Alan

Member since: 08/31/2017

7 Guides authored

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