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Discussion Starter #1
We have been hand blocking for over 30 years we are seriously thinking of getting an automative press. Can anyone give me the cons of automative presses? Can anyone suggest a great entry level machine? We have a very small shop so we are concerned with size of equipment. Thanks!:confused:
 

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off the top of my head I can think of the Lawson Mini trooper.

However, I don't have any experience with them and I've even heard some complaints about them. You'll have to ask around about their reliability.
 

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I'm sure there will be many who disagree with me, but I don't believe in "entry level" automated presses. Most of the time when I hear people use that term, they are referring to price. The reason I say this is that higher end more expensive presses are also usually easier to use.

So, if you are looking for an inexpensive press, I would suggest a Javalin or Lawson. If you want a press that is easy to use and will last forever go with a MHM or M&R.

Another way to look at "entry level" would be to go with a used machine. One that you can get cheap and can therefore beat up while you are learning how to use one. I would still suggest buying the best used auto that you can find.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I guess I meant a smaller automatic press. What are the cons to getting into the automatic press world...harder set up? Any other info would be great, I just want to be prepared for the worst! Thanks for your help!
 

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I guess I meant a smaller automatic press. What are the cons to getting into the automatic press world...harder set up? Any other info would be great, I just want to be prepared for the worst! Thanks for your help!
The biggest things that you will need to get used to include:

Screens will need to be burned more accurately than what you are probably used to.

You have to put much more ink into an auto than you normally would.

Overall use of adhesive is very different from running a manual.

Trying not to get hit by the machine the first couple of weeks is usually interesting.

Overall setup when you are first getting used to an auto is usually much longer.

Cleaning squeegees every time you take down

Learning how to load fast and accurately. You haven't learned that yet on a manual, and the pallets are usually wider than what you have on your manual so it takes some adjustment.

Hopefully you're somewhat mechanically inclined, because at some point the machine will break down and you will have to fix it. You need to be part electrician, part air guy, part mechanic.

Generally speaking, you will need a bigger, faster dryer.

You tape your screens differently for an auto.

That's all my brain could come up with at 12:30AM, if I come up with anymore for you I will let you know.
 

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Something else that I would try to find out when you are looking for an auto, is how far is the closest tech that can come and save the day when the press goes down.

Similarly, experience has shown that creating backup systems will serve you well in the long run. Whenever you buy a part for the press, buy two. I have two compressors, double the number of screens that I think I need, backup manual press, backup film output device, etc etc. It's terrible when just one of those thing goes down. It has taken a little time, but I now have backups for just about everything in the shop. We had the main drive arm in one of our presses crack, and I was able to get it rewelded, however just because I got the fix, I went ahead and ordered that part anyway. Just in case.
 

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Hey we got the tuf freedom cause of the flash..... many other things are user freindly ....now we just about never usr the manual like even 4-5 shirts are done on auto sold all but one manual....ya ya ya never go back ....jeffie
 

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I would definitely go with an M&R.. I love em.. I must forewarn you though, just about every one of the smaller shops i know that have gotten only a 6 color auto has soon regreted not going with an 8 color... Figure in an underlay for head 1, Flash for head 2 which of course is removeable, and very often a cooling station for head 3.. so if you go with a 6 color auto and you are printing dark shirts consider what those first 3 heads will probably be used for.. that leaves you now with only 3 more heads to print other colors..There are revolver series presses which help a bit but slow down production big time. Although there are many types of index jobs that can look real nice with only 6 colors, right off the bat down the road, you're probably gonna start looking at your art and figuring, ok what colors should i eliminate and so on and so forth..For the most part you can count out doing any sort of simulated process with only 6 heads. Those are my thoughts anyway.. Hope they help.
 

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there is a shop in L.A. that has nine autos and only two flashes. how does a huge shop like this get by with only two flashes? let's see who can guess. i know phillip knows this one. no hand stan
 

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Hey, again I say the tuf freedom 6/8 with 2 flashers is the way we went... pfpf on 1white;2,3,4print colors ;5 print flash,6 print outline .....6 colors 6 heads...jeffie
 

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Oh yeah, I forgot, you can print and flash with the same head on the freedom or javelin. My bad.
I think that a javelin with a shuttle flash is an OK way to start out. Be aware that when using a shuttle flash, your speed will be significantly slower. Now you also have the opportunity to print flash print your underlay which can have it's own advantages.

One way that we that we overcame this slowness issue was to jimmy up a manual flash panel in the press when we needed speed. For example, when you are just printing white on black, you can about twice as fast with a hovering flash. You just have to be really careful about burning shirts because it doesn't turn on and off quickly like halogen flashes.
 

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Be aware that you will have a lot more down time with a cheaper press. I know with the Javelin that you will be replacing the squeegee arm hydraulics more often that you would like.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks so much for everyone who left me their advise...that is a lot to chew on and I appreciate every word of it! You all are great! Thanks! Now lets just hope the lease company gives me the lease! Aloha all!:p
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Screen cleaning ideas

We have been hand cleaning screens after we break down and it gets so messy and time consuming, does anyone have any recommondations for any cleaning machines or easy ways to do it? All my employees hate the job and so do I!
 
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