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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

I am preparing to start creating t-shirts in the back of my basement. My workshop will be in the same room where the furnace, water heater and washing machine is located in the back of the basement.

There is a cellar door that I can open for ventilation. I have two (2) heat presses that I will be running. As we speak, I have no other supplies or furniture.

QUESTIONS:

1. Can someone tell me if this room is hazardous to operate a home-based t-shirt business in.

2. How would I set the room up to operate effectively.

3. What do I need to get to run this business from my basement (supplies, tables, electric cords etc).

Any suggestions or comments is appreciated as this will become an income to assist with college costs for my daughter.

Thanks.
 

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Re: T-Shirt Equipment Setup Near Furnance

Are you going to be doing vinyl since you have heat presses? Keep in mind basements are dusty. If your going to get into screen printing some of the chemicals can be flammable. I would suggest at least 2-3 tables. A few plastic totes to keep your shirts in with closing snap on lids. This is to keep mice out because stained or smelly shirts don't sell, and mice live, even in the cleanest homes. Also keep in mind that your whole house will start to smell like the chemicals you use and the smoke that is produced. Some chemicals can even self ignite so make sure to take the trash out every night.
 

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Re: T-Shirt Equipment Setup Near Furnance

Thanks for replying. I will be doing heat pressing only. No screenprinting. How high and how wide should the tables be? Someone suggested that I get stainless steel tables. Where do most people put their finished shirts once they have been pressed?

Thanks again for replying.
 

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I don't normally do shirts but I heat press just about everything else. I have all of my presses on an old dining room table in my family room. My basement isn't set up for much of anything - very few electrical outlets, low lighting etc. I don't think you will have a problem with pressing where you are planning, but if it is a closed room and any of those appliances are gas you might get a build up of carbon monoxide. Heat presses use a lot of electricity. I can only run one press at a time where they are at now. I have read that the dyes get into the air and that you should use good ventillation. If you keep the door open, maybe a fan going to keep the air moving and maybe a window open you should be ok.
 

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May I suggest that you are on the right track asking for advice here, but please do not let reader opinions form your final conclusions about the safety of your home. Ventilation is always a good idea in any work environment, and depending on what items you will be heat pressing, some off-gas more than others. Tshirts alone seem (my opinion!) to be pretty harmless, but neoprene items like mousepads and fiberglass items like luggage tags or license frames smell awful after pressing and can and will stink up the whole house if you don't have decent ventilation. The smell is not permanent, and I cannot say whether or not the off-gassing from these products is dangerous to your health or not - as smell alone is not an indicator of toxicity. That said, I've been pressing these items and others for years in small areas and have not been overly concerned.

To start, be certain you have electrical outlets that are up-to-date, grounded, and of the correct rating for the equipment you operate. Same for any extensions, and try to avoid using extensions on heat presses. If you must, keep them short and make sure they are properly rated, or over-rated. Long cords increase electrical resistance and that can be troublesome for your equipment over time. If you need to have an electrician run a circuit to your work area, it would be cheaper than replacing equipment parts in the future, and safer.

As for equipment, are you going to use a printer? Have you decided what transfers you are going to produce and what methods you will use to produce them? That will dictate what other equipment you need.

Stainless tables are nice, but not necessary, I use a steel frame and laminate table that is very sturdy for the press, and regular folding banquet style tables for my prep areas. I use a printer cart for the printer and a desk for the computers. Plan your layout for easy work flow - kind of like the kitchen of a house you need a prep area, pressing area with room on both sides of the press, and a table for finished goods to come off the press, where you can fold and package. You also will want totes and plastic bins as mentioned early for storing your supplies. Having once worked in a basement, I can attest to mice, dampness, dust, etc being the enemy of quality if you are careless. Cover your equipment when not in use with a large cloth to keep laundry dust out. Having a door to your work area would be even better if possible. Observe where the vents and air returns are and perhaps avoid placing your work table directly under them.

Good lighting is essential, so that you don't strain your eyes and consider choosing a light source that will properly show the colors of your transfers, especially if you are doing custom work. Old fluorescent lighting is a pain to work in.

A clean floor such as cement, tile or vinyl would be preferable to carpet, which traps dust which can then end up on your product.

Hope this helps a bit, you can certainly work in a basement, just set it up with safety and cleanliness in mind and add equipment and furniture as needed once you see how your work flow progresses and what types of products you might start producing. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everyone for responding.

Good tips! I am new at this and money is tight so I have to be a little creative in setting up my shop. I am laid-off work so . . . I thought now would be a good time to become a small business owner.

Basically, I will be heat pressing anything that can be heat pressed for anyone and any business.

I would like to use white and colored t-shirts.

I have a Epson and HP printer. I have not ordered any supplies yet so I am not sure just what to get. Are there any companies that give samples? Most companies that I checked with charge a fee. I cannot afford a fee for anything right now.

I appreciate the input.

Peace and Blessings!
 
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