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Hi all, I just got a heat press from Heat Press Nation, their Signature Series. It seems decent for its price, but when I did the pressure test with a piece of paper, there's a spot on the middle left that won't get as tight as the rest of the platen.

I cranked the pressure up super high, and the paper is tight everywhere else, but I can still slowly slide it out of this area on the left in the middle (the corners are tight).

I did some tests and HTV seems to adhere ok (I'll wash tomorrow to see if it survives), but a few (not all) plastisol transfers had issues with peeling and/or not sticking on the first press. I'm fairly new to heat pressing and don't do much plastisol transfer stuff anyway, but I don't want to be limited by this press if I decide to use it more later on.

I've had a month-long drama with HPN sending me damaged presses, so I'd rather not return this if it's not that big of a deal. They gave me a big discount on this press (15x15 with auto open, slide out platen) to make up for all the hassle.

So I'm here to ask: is this a big deal?

Would you send it back and move on to another company at this point?
Or live with it 'cause the features are nice and they cut you a deal?

Thanks in advance.
 

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That's a tough one. Sounds like just a frustrating string of bad luck, that you're tired of dealing with, and not necessarily HPN to blame.

I'm a noob, so i have limited hardware experience, but I have 2 pads on my bottom platten 1/4" each, and I can't imagine the plates being so uneven that the mats wouldn't compensate for it. But if your pressure is so uneven that it affects the finished product, then you're doing yourself a disservice to rationalize keeping it. Send it back. The features and price are meaningless if your product is substandard.
 

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Would you send it back and move on to another company at this point?
I would call them first. There might be a simple solution or hack. Like adding an extra layer of padding on the lower platen.

Can you look at the upper platen and see where it is not completely flat? If you have a yard stick, that would help detect any unevenness.

But by no means should you settle on not being able to use it for certain tasks that it was built to do.
 

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There is a small detail most people overlook... The heat press must be tested when hot.
Get a steel ruler and check the heat plate flatness when hot.
If the platen is straight, then the problem is likely to be the pad
 

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along the same lines as above,
i would have suggested if it was a really good deal and the temp across the platen seems decent, then invest in a set of teflon pillows to compensate (or another bottom pad)

or htv check this out, it will help 'set' your designs with a slightly uneven platen (it is thermoflex, not thermal flex)
 

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Only you know the troubles you've had but multiple samples of defective press's would be a red flag for me. Maybe you can put up with these issues now, but I always think ahead to when I might want to sell & trying to sell something that doesn't perform as advertised is just a pita.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There is a small detail most people overlook... The heat press must be tested when hot.
Get a steel ruler and check the heat plate flatness when hot.
If the platen is straight, then the problem is likely to be the pad
I tried this -- there were tiny gaps along that side, but also along the other sides that held the pressure just fine. Seems the platen isn't totally perfectly straight anywhere, but I sort of expect that from this level of press. I tried sticking notecards under the silicon pad to see if that helped close the gap -- and it worked in that one weak spot, but then it just shifted the weakness to another spot further back. It's kind of driving me crazy because it seems to get worse each time I try it, so I wonder if something is shifting around that shouldn't be (I tightened all the screws and bolts already)

This press was a free upgrade because they'd sent me a few damaged ones of their CraftPro model (supposedly all FedEx's fault).

I still have the last CraftPro here, and was gonna send it back today, but that one actually held pressure more evenly than this one. The main problem with it was that one of the feet was all bent up and so I had to shim it so it would stand flat, which got annoying since the press jumps a little when opening under high pressure. But even tho the Signature has a much improved platen drawer system, a threadable lower platen, and a better display box, this bent up CraftPro may just be the better option at this point. I just hate the idea of having bought a new product that arrived messed up, even though it functions fine.

I wish I could afford the better press companies at this point, but can't imagine the other companies at this price point are any better. (Tell me if I'm wrong about that -- I've heard mixed things about ProWorld)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
along the same lines as above,
i would have suggested if it was a really good deal and the temp across the platen seems decent, then invest in a set of teflon pillows to compensate (or another bottom pad)

or htv check this out, it will help 'set' your designs with a slightly uneven platen (it is thermoflex, not thermal flex)
The temp is fine across the platen. Maybe I should just get another bottom pad to make it all thicker. I don't know.

I use ThermoFlex and love it.

I just worry about if I'm doing a large print or using plastisol and that area might press it weak.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would call them first. There might be a simple solution or hack. Like adding an extra layer of padding on the lower platen.

Can you look at the upper platen and see where it is not completely flat? If you have a yard stick, that would help detect any unevenness.

But by no means should you settle on not being able to use it for certain tasks that it was built to do.
I called them and one of the tech's said "That's weird" lol. Then they had me tighten screws that were already tight. Then they told me to test some prints and see how it goes. I'm not confident they have a good solution. I would love a hack because I don't wanna keep dealing with this. I checked the upper platen and it's a tiny bit wavy, but nothing that extreme in that spot. But then again, I'm not sure what the tolerances should be for something in this price class.
 

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I tried this -- there were tiny gaps along that side, but also along the other sides that held the pressure just fine. Seems the platen isn't totally perfectly straight anywhere, but I sort of expect that from this level of press.
Hairline gaps are OK... so it looks like the heat plate is OK. Have you checked for even temperature?

I tried sticking notecards under the silicon pad to see if that helped close the gap -- and it worked in that one weak spot, but then it just shifted the weakness to another spot further back.
Looks like the bad is the problem...
Grab the pad from the other heat press and see if it works better.
Alternatively you can rotate or flip the pad and see if the problem moves.

I still have the last CraftPro here, and was gonna send it back today, but that one actually held pressure more evenly than this one. The main problem with it was that one of the feet was all bent up and so I had to shim it so it would stand flat, which got annoying since the press jumps a little when opening under high pressure. But even tho the Signature has a much improved platen drawer system, a threadable lower platen, and a better display box, this bent up CraftPro may just be the better option at this point.
Complexity and low price are a bad mix.
Bells and whistles on a cheap heat press mean lower overall quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hairline gaps are OK... so it looks like the heat plate is OK. Have you checked for even temperature?


Looks like the bad is the problem...
Grab the pad from the other heat press and see if it works better.
Alternatively you can rotate or flip the pad and see if the problem moves.


Complexity and low price are a bad mix.
Bells and whistles on a cheap heat press mean lower overall quality.
Yeah. They think it's the bottom platen that might be warped. It's going back. Now I just gotta decide if I wanna keep the CraftPro with the bent up foot, or start this process all over again. Fun! Lol.
 

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Yeah. They think it's the bottom platen that might be warped. It's going back. Now I just gotta decide if I wanna keep the CraftPro with the bent up foot, or start this process all over again. Fun!
Not ideal obviously, but I often repair minor things like this myself.
I just cannot be bothered returning and waiting for replacements.
I just happen to have the tools and the skills needed.
 

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Not ideal obviously, but I often repair minor things like this myself.
I just cannot be bothered returning and waiting for replacements.
I just happen to have the tools and the skills needed.
I wish I did too! I tried to hammer it back, but there's not a ton of clearance to hit it at the right angle. Also I wouldn't want to break it off completely, 'cause then it'd be totally useless. Unless someone could weld it back on, I guess.

I'd rather just get a not-messed-up press to begin with, but I'm sick of all the returning and trying again, so I'll prob just stick a shim under the bent foot on this CraftPro and live with it. Too bad, the Signature Series press was really smooth other than that pressure issue.
 

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Too bad, the Signature Series press was really smooth other than that pressure issue.
Have you tried swaping the pads as I sad?
If the pad is the problem, then just send the CraftPro back with the faulty one.
 

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Have you tried swaping the pads as I sad?
If the pad is the problem, then just send the CraftPro back with the faulty one.
I moved the pad around and flipped it over, turned it 90 degrees, but the weak pressure spot stayed in the same place each time. I can try the other pad tho, just to be sure. The CraftPro has great pressure, no weak spots at all, and the platen even seems flatter. So weird.
 
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