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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, First post here,

Looking to by a heat press and vinyl cutter... I still have a lot of research to do! But here is what I am currently considering:

Heat Presses

  • A2Z $700 (Stahl)
  • HPN Black $700 (Heat Press Nation)
  • HPN Signature pro $810 (Heat Press Nation)
Vinyl cutters
  • Silhouette Cameo 4 pro 24” $500 (HTW)
  • HPN Specialist 28” (stand) $500(HPN)
  • HPN Specialist 28” edge (stand) $680
  • GCC 24” $570 (HPN)
  • GCC expert 24” $720
  • US Cutter SC 28” (stand) $450 (usc) $375 refurbished
For heat presses, I was looking mainly at swing-away types. I just think this gives more options for pressing other things than T-shirts if that becomes necessary. Also, those models are all 15x15.

I am tempted to get the refurbished US cutter just to save on that end. Does anyone know how that brand holds up? How would it compare to the HPN specialist? Is GCC any better than HPN? I like that HPN and USC have stands and catchers. I also don't think we will be cutting any super advanced designs. Mainly lettering.

Me and my wife are planning to start printing T-shirts with Christian messages. Also adhesive window decals.

We both have full time jobs, so it is a side thing. But we are also thinking that in the future it could become something more of an actual business. Making profit is not the immediate goal right now, but it makes sense to have quality stuff to begin with because we feel like we will start putting more focus into this project in future years. I looked at Amazon first, and they have a lot of stuff but they seemed to have mixed reviews. So I started looking at Stahl's, HPN and HTW and USC.

Thanks for reading and I know I have a ton of research left, but I would love any input, recommendations or tips.😁
 

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A couple of basics here regarding your choices.

A swingaway press needs more space than a clamshell with a drawer-type operation. Think about where the part that swings goes. You need a lot of real estate for that to happen.

I don't own any equipment, but I've been reading/studying/researching on here for quite a while and it seems that most folks find that their designs grow in area and it's not long before they need a 16X20 press. So if you can afford it, get the 16X20. This, of course, takes the A2Z out of the equation.

Out of all of those cutters, you don't even mention Graphtec which seem to be the most liked. Unless you count the Cameo which is made by Graphtec. So I'm trying to encourage you to look at some Graphtec units to see if you might find one that you like. I think the CE6000-60 is the most popular but I believe it has recently been upgraded to the CE7000 series. Seems like the only thing I've ever heard about the US Cutter is that it is loud.

Also, if you think you might venture into full color decals as well as stickers, you might consider some of the printer-cutter options such as those offered by Roland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great point about the space for the swing-away. I need to go and measure out some space. Also good point about the 16x20 and I need to start looking at what the possible designs might look like and consider how much of the shirt space I will be using.

I think I was avoiding the 16x20 thinking it's out of my desired price range. But if I go clam, then it would still be affordable. You're really making me think about getting a clam model. Then I could get the auto-open function and other features and it would still be not too crazy expensive. Maybe I was overthinking when I thought I would go beyond t-shirts, because that would anyway be the primary type of garment. On the other hand it is good to have options. Does anyone have experience pressing hoodies or bags and bulkier stuff on a clam model? does that work?

For cutters, I think Graphtech and Roland are out of my price range, since they are close to $2,000.

As for the designs, I think the will be pretty simple with mainly letters in single color. Possibly two-color.

Thanks,
 

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welcome aboard!

for my business i use a smaller cameo2 12" cutter and a hix swingman15 15x15 press with no issues
and i've done full 16' awnings with sign vinyl and 4xl tees htv (being a smaller cutter i do have to be creative with the design)

so i think you would be fine with a smaller 15" cutter (like the cameo4 plus) and with the savings get a hix swingman
the nice thing about the swingman is no computer/timers/magnets to fail (and they all do), quality made in the usa, and a decent price point (~$785)

if you are looking at a 16x20, i would recommend checking out proworld
proworlded is an active member here and can answer any questions you may have

as far as stickers go, you can get them at papilio and print with a desktop printer (the roland bn20's are over $5k for a print and cut machine)

EDIT:
i see you just posted above
clams are restrictive in placing designs and if you have the room swingaways are better imho
or get a clam with a slideout drawer

stahls/hotronix are decent presses but when something goes wrong parts are very expensive and difficult to put on

kiss is a good motto when designing and starting out, it's easy to get hypnotized by bells, whistles and sales shucksters
 

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kiss is a good motto when designing and starting out, it's easy to get hypnotized by bells, whistles and sales shucksters
To which I would add that the auto open feature on clams falls into that category, at least for me. My first press was relatively inexpensive and made in China, but it was threadable and had auto open, so seemed like a great deal. Threadable was useful, but auto open turned out to be the opposite of useful, as it keeps the press closed until the counter gets to zero. The only way to open before then is to turn off the power. Not convient if you want to press for 5 seconds to get moisture out of the garment, then lay down the transfer and press it for 30 seconds, then peel the transfer, and then repress for 10 seconds. Some presses allow you to configure multipart settings like that, but else auto open gets in the way. My newer USA made press does not have auto open, and I do not miss it at all. The electronics partially failed on the China press with very little use.
 
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