If you are having problems opening the upper platen then you are applying too much pressure and you need to reduce it with the knob.I just bought a 16x20 knight press for $300. OMG, that thing is GIGANTIC!!! I was freaking out so bad on my way home I could almost hear my car's trunk scraping the asphalt.
For all those that adviced me to go "big" - I wish I could drag you guys by your ears down/up to Boston so you could help me carry this thing up to the THIRD floor lol. I guess when I was seeking advice on which press to buy I should have mentioned I was only 5'1" and 105lb.
Well jokes aside - it looks ok, seems to be working fine, the pressure knob works and the upper panel heats up quick. The only thing is that when you turn it on it makes a sharp noise for the first few minutes. So I don't know if this is normal or it's something that needs to be fixed.
Oh yes and let me not forget to mention that opening and closing the press took the life out of me. I'm going to be jacked by the time I'm done pressing a couple of shirts.
Anyways, thanks to everyone that lead me through my little journey of buying my first press.
Sonds like the noise is exactly what Twinge mentioned...check your timer settings.