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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone:

I'm seeking your advice on buying a screen printing press. So far, I've been printing on a DIY 1-color press with some nice results (water based and discharge inks). However, now I want to print more colors & also need different sized pallets. So I am considering purchase of a "beginner press".

At this time I am planning to print my own designs on textiles (Ts, totes, etc) to sell online. This means I am going to be printing in small quantities (12-24 items) at least until I have a better idea of what to print in larger quantities.

Here are some presses I'm considering:

(1) The 4 color/2 station SilverPress w/out micros=$735.

(2) The 4 color/2 station SilverPress with micros= $1200.

(3) Riley Hopkins 4 color/4 station with joystick registration= $2400.

(4) Riley Hopkins 4 color/4 station with XY micro registration =$2600.

(5) Vastex 1000 series V1-46 --4 table/6 color, micros = $2423.

Please let me know what you think (And, if I've overlooked other good presses.) Thanks!
 

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There is such a wide span of products there.
Assuming that they all fit within your available budget then they pretty much rank within price order.
Obviously four pallets are better than two, and micro reg is better than not. On that basis the only one that is out of place price wise is the 6/4 Vastex, and never having seen the 1000 model I couldn't comment as to its worth compared to the Riley Hopkins 4/4 micro reg. The Vastex 2000 have a good reputation but I don't know if that translates to the 1000.

When you come to buy get the best you can afford at the time. If your budget is limited consider buying used, providing you can get to look at it first.
 

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I second the used. For those prices you can get a really nice used unit. Maybe even a 8 color if your lucky. And going from a diy to anything else will be night and day. So if it were me I would get the biggest press you can afford and fit size wise, with micros. Used especially for you being new into it you will get way more for your money

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pat, thank you for your advice to buy the best I can afford. I can afford to buy a good press. In theory I should be able to sell enough to pay for one...eventually. It feels risky to sink a lot of cash before I have ever sold anything...Just do it?

Thank you to both Pat and Jeron for suggesting I search for used presses as well. So, I've found some used presses within 2-4 hours driving distance that allow up to 6-8 colors & more stations. The only downside is my ability to tell whether used equipment is any good or not. (I can definitely tell whether the press is clean and has good moving parts...what else?) Perhaps I will search to see if there's any posts on that/ or start a new thread if not? Thanks so much for your feedback!
 

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Do a bit of pre-journey research regarding each type of press, either on this forum or online. Check the manufacturers website to see if spares are still available. Unless something clearly bites you on the backside, only buy something from a manufacturer that you would consider buying a new press from.

The principal behind a manual press is fairly straightforward, what sets them apart is quality. It should feel solid and stable.

In general if it has a screw thread then check it!
You need to ensure that there is not too much play in the screw threads that adjust the micro reg. If there is then the micros could be halfway to needing replacement.
The other areas of wear and tear are the registration gate bearings (should hold the screen arm without lateral movement), the centre shaft bearings (shouldn't wobble) and whatever mechanism that centers/stops the platen over the print station. Most of these parts are replaceable.
If it has adjustable feet then check that they are all there and usable.

Ask to see something that has been printed on the press.

Don't worry about a bit of dirt, spray glue tends to attract it.

You appear to have done most of your research so trust your instincts.

Investment wise you are safer buying (good) used as you will be able to get most of your money back if you decide to resell.
 

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Typically manual presses are pretty strait forward and simple machines. They spin on bearings so you should check to see if the bearings have any slop to them.. meaning grab the platen and lift it up and down. There should be little to no play.. do this also with the upper carriage that holds the screen heads..

Second is the arms and the micros. Just look them over and see if you can notice any major wear on the parts that rub somewhere.

The micros should move easily but a lot of the times you can take them apart and clean them up, but not always.

Lastly is the registration gate. This is where the print arm comes down and locks into place on the platen arm. The two main types are roller bearing, and the one with nylon nuts against the print arm. I prefer roller bearing but both should work fine.

Just check the wear on all moving parts.

What brand presses did you find? You could post pics and we could tell you if it looks like a good deal based on the pictures

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Side clamps and Aluminium platens are worth having if you get the chance. The bigger (within reason) the platen the better. I find that a 16" wide platen will accept a shirt as small as Gildans Ladies medium. You should then be able to get away with one or two smaller platens for smaller sizes.
 
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