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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my heat press (Hix SwingAway) for a few months now and can't seem to figure out how to press heat transfers on polyester without worry that I'll burn the material. I've read every post I can find on here regarding the topic, watched countless YouTube videos, Googled the issue 100 times, and scoured Stahl's and other company blogs to figure out a way to confidently press on polyester garments without worrying that I'll either a) burn the material, or b) not press it long enough and have it peel.

I started out using the company's recommended settings with disastrous results. I'm using FM Expressions and Stahl's heat transfers. For example, Stahl's says you can press their SimStitch on polyester for 20 seconds at 350 degrees F. I pressed a sweatshirt at 285 for 30 seconds with a Stahl's pillow and teflon paper and the material is discolored in the shape of the pillow.

The letters/numbers from FM recommend 325 degrees F for 7 seconds with firm pressure. I did this on a dry fit shirt and it now has the sheen. I experimented and thought I had it down with 285 degrees F for 13 seconds with the pillow and medium pressure but one of the shirts had a letter peel.

I'm frustrated and finally decided to come to the experts. Are the companies putting out these instructions to cover their backs so that the transfers are sure to stay attached at these high temperatures, but they completely disregard the condition of the material after printing? Will I have to experiement with 2-3 transfers/shirts every time I purchase a new material or heat transfer type to ensure I get it right? If I do that how will I know that the transfer will stick for the long term?

I've done some 50/50 cotton/poly hoodies with great results, but I'm sure as most of you know, the dry-fit performance type tees are the hot thing right now and my customer base is mainly athletic clubs in the area. I greatly appreciate any and all tips and tricks you all might respond with to assist.

Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I use lower temps with a little longer press times I never really had to many issues
I'm also experimenting with that. Last night I pressed some Goof Proof logos on A4 performance tees. Goof Proof calls for 350 degrees for 3-5 seconds and lists cotton, polyester, and cotton/poly blends. That is insane. There is no way the material wouldn't burn at 350 degrees even for 3 seconds. I ended up pressing at 250 degrees with medium-light pressure for 8 seconds. The transfer looks to be on there well but again, there is a box where the pillow sat underneath the garment. Not much of one, but a mark nonetheless.

I've considered this flexible application pad from Stahl's: https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-flexible-application-pad. Reviews are mixed. Covering it with something doesn't seem logical because if the heat isn't getting to the garment then it isn't getting to the transfer which is the point in the first place.

Could it be my heat press? Too much pressure? I spent over $1000 on it but it doesn't have a digital pressure guage, it's a manual screw type. I don't need any muscle to clamp it down at the pressure I'm working with.

It's just very frustrating. I'm hoping at some point I get it figured out. I thank you both for responding.
 

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have you tried a different brand of garment? At 320 medium pressure you should be ok. But there is always the exception to the rule. What color shirt are you pressing ? And I hate you are getting frustrated and I know shirts are not cheap, sorry you are having those issues:(
 

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I’m sure it’s not the press and imo the digital doesn’t matter to much you will end up knowing what it is by feel. I have a dk20s and a dk20. I press at 285-295 ish. If you get press marks it’s probably too much pressure. Are you pressing a pocket or over a zipper that calls for you to use a pillow?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
have you tried a different brand of garment? At 320 medium pressure you should be ok. But there is always the exception to the rule. What color shirt are you pressing ? And I hate you are getting frustrated and I know shirts are not cheap, sorry you are having those issues:(
I've tried 3-4 different brands with the same results including UA, A4, and a no-name brand. If there is one brand that seems to work better for decorating than others, I'd be all ears. Thanks for the reply
 

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I know this is going to sound silly, but your temperature is in Fahrenheit right ? if so I would set the press at 320 and take a garment and just press a sleeve or some small area and see if adjusting your pressure lighter solves the problem. So press a small area, then lighten up the pressure and press another small area and see if you can reach a pressure where it no longer has the sheen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’m sure it’s not the press and imo the digital doesn’t matter to much you will end up knowing what it is by feel. I have a dk20s and a dk20. I press at 285-295 ish. If you get press marks it’s probably too much pressure. Are you pressing a pocket or over a zipper that calls for you to use a pillow?
No I am not pressing over anything but the Stahl's teflon pillow. I did a few test pressings without the pillow and oh boy, the platen marks were VERY visible so since I've been using a pillow every time. I'll start experimenting with lighter pressures and see if the marks go away and the transfer takes. Thanks a lot for the reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know this is going to sound silly, but your temperature is in Fahrenheit right ? if so I would set the press at 320 and take a garment and just press a sleeve or some small area and see if adjusting your pressure lighter solves the problem. So press a small area, then lighten up the pressure and press another small area and see if you can reach a pressure where it no longer has the sheen.
Not a silly question at all! I actually double-checked that myself, and noticed that my heat press lists both F and C.

I appreciate the advice regarding the pressure! This may have been the issue on the UA hoodie I ruined (still looking for a replacement but 4XL isn't easy to find in maroon!). I think moving forward I'll order one extra garment and test the pressure until I don't see a sheen. The tees I'm working with right now are about $4.30 for youth sizes. Not a large price to pay to ensure the other 30 look good.
 
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