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I will be establishing my t-shirt business using direct to garment printers. I am still confused about which Heat Press machine is suitable for this job (as a type, not a brand). Vendors often market their heat press machines for use with heat transfer papers, however, they specify some models for direct to garment technology. What is the difference? How can I choose the right machine? or are they same and can be used in either printing technology but with different settings? Kindly advise
 

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In theory, any style of heat press (clamshell, swing away,draw,...) can work for dtg printing. In reality, some heat presses depending on their features will work better for dtg printing. Here are the minimum features in my opinion for a heat press doing dtg printing:
- 16" x 20" platen
- Digital time & temperature

Here are my preferred options for dtg printing that I would really want if I was on a tight budget:
- Auto Open
- Digital Pressure

If I was going all out, then I would look at these features:
- Hover capability (great for curing CMYK+W prints)
- Automatic press

You should find a press that fits your budget, has the features that you find are important and that will fit in your shop (if space is an issue or not) based on your business model (i.e. from home, from a shop, taking it on the road,...).

Hope this helps.

Mark
 

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For Direct To Garment, I think the Hover press is a shoe-in. ;)
The press that think is the Lexus / Mercedes right now is the Hotronix Fusion press. I like the combo draw / swing away concept and how fast you can switch the platens out. But the best thing is the preset time and temperatures that you can put into it for all sorts of things (dtg, vinyl, sublimation,...). It does not have the hover capability though. Of course, it is one of the most expensive manual presses on the market as well.

Mark
 

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Yeah I liked the look of the Fusion and the functionalities, but I think it's $1700? A bit on the hefty priced side. Not sure if all the bells and whistles are worth it, but it does depend on usage.
 

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The Stahls STX Auto Open Clam heat machine has all the features you need available in a 16" 16" or a 16" x 20", digital timer, temperature, and pressure, and it is auto open, so you do not half to baby sit the press, to wait for a buzzer to tel it time to release the press. The STX 16x16 lists for $1,150.00.
Good Luck, ATC
 

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We use a Stahl's Hotronics 16x20 with all the features that Mark and Jerid have mentioned including auto-open, it's a real workhorse, ours is a couple years old, used every day and never misses a beat. I don't think you could go wrong with any major/name brand (Hix, Stahls, Geo Knight) press they all seem to be great products.

That said, I wish I would have bought a cheap Chinese press so I could throw it in the trash and buy a Fusion.....LOL!

Hope this helps.
 

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I have an embroidery business and want to add a heat press machine for t shirts, sweatshirts and children's apparel. Has anyone heard of George Knight DK20 Digital Clamshell Heat Press? What is a good size to get? thanks! Susan
 
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