What exactly is a heat press machine?


In this guide to heat press machine, we cover some basic information you need to know before you decide to step into the heat pressing world, including what is a heat press machine, the general categorization of it and which type to use in different scenes accordingly.

So, what is a heat press machine?
As the name suggests, a heat press is an impressively engineered machine that imprints designs or graphics on textiles with application of heat and pressure for preset period time. Most currently available models use aluminum upper-heating element heated by rod cast into its construction as well wire attached directly onto this devise itself. It sounds complicated, right? Let’s make it simple to understand.

Heat presses are a great way to apply vinyl graphics in less time and with better results than using hand tools. They generally consists of two parts: 1) the heating plate which gets heated up when connected directly or indirectly through power sources; 2) a control panel where you can adjust settings like temperature level and time for best result.

Most of the heat press machines are square in shape. This is because people tend to do some heat pressing projects on larger areas of substrates, for example, T-shirts, hoodies, garden flags, blankets, tote bags, pillow cases, puzzles, journal covers, etc. It seems that most articles for daily use can be heat pressed! Right! In the earlier days, heat press machines were popularly used by merchants, but now, it has become more common. In order to better meet the needs of ordinary consumers, there are many different types of heat press machines appearing.

Common Types of Heat Press Machines
Heat presses come in many different shapes and sizes, but they're all designed with the same goal: pressing your garment against an object so that heat can be transferred from one surface onto another. We'll get you up to speed on the different types of heat presses, and then we can talk about how they're used in your specific application.

#1 Clamshell
Clamshell heat press is operated by opening and hinging up. Some will have a drawer option to prevent your hands from touching the heating element and getting hurt, the plate can slide out for you to work then can slide it back in and press it. Clamshell heat press are excellent for people who want to do large orders of t-shirts or other products.

#2 Swing Away
In addition to be risen vertically, swing away also allows its heating elements to swing away from the pressing area. You will need more space for the swing all the way out and to the back and a larger footprint for you to operate.

The above two are regarded as larger heat presses mainly for business type stuff and more advanced crafting. For those who own a business in a certain scale, requiring a continuous heat pressing a day, the above two types would better fit them.

#3 Hand-held heat press machine
As more and more people like DIY these years, manufacturers of heat presses focus more on features such as portability and appearance design. This kind of heat press can be a very useful tool for the do-it yourself enthusiast. It has been designed to allow people with limited space and storage capacity in their homes or apartments, as well those that are looking forward on building up some DIY skills but don't want an expensive piece of equipment sitting around taking up unused room.

Generally, occasional DIY lovers who want to make some shirts every once in a while out of hobby, create special gifts for loved ones and friends, or just start a small business, trying to become a vlogger/influencer on popular media platforms, can choose this kind.

#4 Mug press
This machine is designed exclusively for printing quality and durable designs on mugs with its full wrap-around, handle to handle, top-to-bottom printing mug press. A mug’s round shape means that flat t-shirt press machines won’t do the job.

The most two common types of this press on market: one is designed with a vertical placement and another is designed with a horizontal placement. The former is in a more safe and neat design with a mug attachment supporting 11-15 oz cups. Automation and easy-to-use are its biggest features. The latter is more commonly designed in a industrial look with an adjustable clam. Mug press machine can only achieve sublimation printing transfer.

*Just make sure when you’re buying tumblers or mugs for printing that they are marked as sublimation blanks.

#5 Hat press
The hat press machine is a great tool for those who want to create their own hat projects. It has an adjustable heating element which can better fit onto the curves in hats, so it produces high quality heat transfer printing results when using this device! Some people also use it to DIY neck tags or sleeves guards. Hat press machine works basically same way that ones mentioned above do - just with different capabilities based on what you need them for.

Now you should have a clearer picture of the heat press family. Why do many people want to try heat pressing projects? Because it can absolutely bring you fun, sense of achievement and unexpected surprise! If it happens that OFFNOVA is the starting point for you to step into the DIY world, then let’s go into the wonderful journey together.

Back to blog