Heat transfer of fully automatic heat transfer printing machine can be accomplished through a few different methods, but for this page, we will focus on commercial applications for heat transfer printing as opposed to DIY heat transfer you can do at home with an iron.
Computer – a computer with graphic design software is required to create your custom design to be printed for heat transfer.
Printer – a printer that is used for heat press applications are usually larger than your average printer by a fair margin to accommodate larger designs. Aside from size, printers used for heat transfer function the same as a normal inkjet printer, just with different ink and special transfer paper.
Ink – there are a few different types of inks used in heat transfer printing to achieve different finishes. Inkjet ink is the most commonly used because it is the most affordable and accessible ink type. Pigment ink is also used for fade resistance and sublimation ink is used for dye sublimation printing.
Heat Transfer Paper – this is special paper that is designed for heat transfer and is usually coated in a wax and pigment polymer film that makes a permanent bond with the fabric fibers when heated. Transfer paper typically comes in 13” by 19” sheets to offer increased freedom of design.
Cutter – a vinyl cutter is used to cut out the design from the transfer paper to be applied to the substrate.
Heat Press – heat presses come in a few shapes and sizes depending on the heat transfer application. Swing-away flat bed machines and clam shell presses are used for custom shirts and other flat apparel or accessories. There are also cylinder-shaped heat presses for transferring onto rounded objects like custom water bottles and coffee mugs.
Heat Pads – these are placed on the bottom platen of the heat press and serve as the surface for your product in the heat transfer process. Heat pads are typically made of heat resistant foam or silicone rubber.
Heat Tape – this heat resistant tape is used to hold the transfer paper in position on the product.
Heat Resistant Sheeting – these are usually made of Teflon and are placed between the heating platen and transfer paper to keep your heat press clean and prevent the transfer paper from scorching.
Substrates – this is the actual product that you are decorating – this could be a custom t-shirt, sweatshirt, polo shirt, bag, drinkware or much more. It’s the canvas for your heat transferred masterpiece!
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