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Hey there I am mseerob and I am a new user on this forum. I have an interest in making t-shirts and I have a great knowledge in photoshop as well as adobe illustrator. Im into making nice fancy cartoon designs, and fancy color designs. I do a lot of hip hop, urban style. I would like to know which option would be better an heat press machine or a screen print machine. And how much would it cost just for a small machine kit, cause I am going to setup the machine in my basement. Please reply back.
 

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Hi mseerob, :welcome:

The question of "which would be better" would mostly depend on your preferences, types of designs (how complex the colors are) and maybe even budget.

Here's a good thread about the differences between heat press and screen printing. It should be a good starting point for research before others get a chance to chime in on this topic :)

Heat Press vs Screen Printing Thread

If you have more specific questions about heat press printing or screen printing, it may help to post the specific questions in the different forums we have for those topics:

Screen Printing Forum

Heat Press Forum
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I will most likely be using a lot of colors. My designs has a lot of colors. I also
want for the t-shirts to come out in good quality and I also want for it to last long.
 

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I wouldn't leap into screenprinting using process colour (if your designs have many many colours, spot printing won't work....process uses 4 (sometimes 5, 6, or 8) base colours (usually CYMKW) and the colours blend in a similar way to magazine print...spot uses the specific colours of the print), without any screenprinting experience.

While spot colour is simple to master alone from a book or instruction set, process colour needs training, really. It would also cost in excess of $10,000 to set up a screenprinting rig to handle that sort of job, or a few weeks dedicated carpentry for $2000.

A heat press would probly be the better option (my god! the first time I've ever recommended a heat press over screenprinting!) at this stage. I'm not an expert of presses at all, and there are others on the board who are much more qualified to advise on them than I. I think prices ranges from about $400-$1500.

As for "good quality" this board is split with a preference of one over the other, which tells you that they're both pretty good (for different purposes/budgets).

Screenpringing lasts a long time. Low end transfer technology doesnt, but the things that the heat press experts will recommend here should.
 

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Heat presses are good for handle loads or colors?? How?? When dealing with heat press machines you have to buy this printer and these certain color paper. Some are blue, red, etc. How can you make color prints if when you have to use the red, or blue paper?! Im confused. I know there good for putting letters on t-shirts.

examples: http://homeusers.brutele.be/fgarcia/portfolios_images/mesfilmfest-posters.jpg
http://homeusers.brutele.be/fgarcia/portfolios_images/wayout-posters.jpg

Those are some examples.
 

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mseerob: I have no idea what you're talking about. I've never heard of specific colored paper for normal heat transfer; sounds like you might be thinking of vinyl/flock since you mentioned letters.

The normal heat transfer process is where you print your image on to a piece of transfer paper with an inkjet printer (some papers work for laser printers too) as a mirror image. You can use any number of colors here, only limited by the quality of your printer.
 

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hey twinge, you mentioned laser printers there. is this a more economical option in the long run. i know they cost a bit more. is the color quality the same or better than ink jet?
 

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Check this page out.

http://www.discoverylancer.com/catal1.html

When I went to the office and they were telling me that I would have to use the Duracad film or the Duracad flock type of paper if I wish to print out designs and use them in the heat press machine. When you goto that page you will see different color roll paper.
 

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sofaking: I've heard that laser transfers are generally worse than inkjets, though there was some paper (TransClip? I forget the name) that was supposed to be pretty good. I've never personally tried laser transfers, so I can't say for sure.

mseerob: Yeah, that is for vinyl transfers. Vinyl is nice because it can be done on both dark and light shirts, but you can use an inkjet printer and transfers to do ANY number of colors - and that's really the only way to do ANY number of colors easily.
 

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If you are planning on high volume printing, a color laser or LED printer and the right transfer paper is a powerful combination. Add an optical cutter and an air operated press and you're set.

28 printed pages a minute, relatively cheap toner that goes a long way, transfer paper for almost half the price of inkjet transfer paper... hey, what's not to like? : )

You'll save lots of time and money in the long run, but that will require a commitment and well... sales! Of course, if you don't want to take the plunge, the right inkjet will work just fine also.

99.9% of your customers won't care or be able to tell if it was printed by an inkjet or LED. When printing a *well designed* graphic, most typical customers won't even question if it was screen printed or not. A good design and quality shirt will lead to sales regardless of the print method.

Many people get into the t-shirt business thinking it will make them instantly rich. In reality, there are many used heat presses in garages and on eBay from failed attempts (I get emails from random people quite often trying to sell their "like new" presses). Before buying any equipment, research the market you would like to enter. Buy a small number of shirts with your design and try to sell them. A little homework up front can save you $$$.

Twinge said:
sofaking: I've heard that laser transfers are generally worse than inkjets, though there was some paper (TransClip? I forget the name) that was supposed to be pretty good. I've never personally tried laser transfers, so I can't say for sure.
As for Photo-Trans ImageClip paper... 1) too expensive, 2) too much additional time to prepare and press, and 3) unimpressive results. Just my opinion.
 

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Are there any sites where they sell the hot press machines and the paper to use to print on. I want to see the type of paper you can use to insert onto the heat press machine if there clear paper or not..
 

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mseerob said:
Are there any sites where they sell the hot press machines and the paper to use to print on. I want to see the type of paper you can use to insert onto the heat press machine if there clear paper or not..
A quick search on google will probably result in hundreds of paper distributors. I can't think of any that will show you a picture - after all, it's just paper.

Here's a quick explanation of basic "transfer paper". Most transfer paper is a paper backing sheet with some sort of clear polymer coating on it. You print your design mirrored on the polymer side of the paper - not the actual opaque paper. You then place the paper (polymer side down) on the garment on the press. The press then bonds the polymer coating to the shirt while trapping the ink or toner in between. The actual "paper" is then peeled away and disposed of.

There are a few exceptions to this explanation... opaque transfer paper (for dark shirts), sublimation printing (no polymer coating), etc.

Anyhow, the transfer is clear and will work on white and most light color shirts.

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
cool. Any t-shirts you made and any pics you've done that you've posted. Do you use hot press a lot?
 

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As for the whole heat transfer vs. silk-screen, I personally think that if you’re selling a high-end shirt, silk-screen is the only way you can go. You can get away with a one-time sale of a high-end shirt done through heat, but you’re not going to develop a true loyal customer base. Especially from the higher demographics.

If you’re going high-end, I would contract out your printing to a true silk or spot printer and once you're selling enough shirts to justify the investment, then jump into a machine of your own.

If designing is the aspect of the business you really enjoy, you might find this an adequate permanent solution. Eliminates all the hassle and you only need to deal with the inventory.

FYI – it’s been my experience that shirts w/ fewer colors, by far… out sell shirts w/ lots of colors.
 
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