Heat press machine for flattening fibre prints

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by chioque, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. chioque

    chioque Subscriber

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    I'm looking to buy one of these to make it easier for me to flatten my fibre prints. However, it's nigh to impossible to find one locally and importing one from overseas is very prohibitive shipping cost-wise.

    However, I've come across a few places here that supply heat press machine, normally for use in the textile industry for pressing t-shirts etc. Example is here:. There are also quite a few on sale on ebay and they are much cheaper than those specially made to flatten prints.

    Have anyone comes across these being used to flatten fibre prints or can share their opinion on their suitability for the the job? Appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

    Mansur
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2010
  2. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    chioque-
    You dont need one of those, they are primarily for mounting prints onto mat board. What i'd suggest is to get a clothes iron (any old one), and sandwich the print between two pieces of cardboard (after is completely dry). then, iron around on top of the cardboard, and your set. I'd also reccomend getting some zone VI print drying screens. sandwich the print between two screens for drying, and you'll get fairly flat results. after that, you can iron them completely flat.

    -Austin
     
  3. chioque

    chioque Subscriber

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    Thanks Austin. Roughly that's what I've been doing. But in my case, I let the prints lay flat after drying under layers of books/bricks in between 2 mat boards for a couple of days. I would then iron the mat board with the print still in between. But, I'm just toying the idea of acquiring a press machine to make the process easier.
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I would say definitely get a dry mount press. You can work much quicker than the ironing method. I have flattened a dozen or so prints at once with a dry mount press (interleaved with paper). And they're flat.
     
  5. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    I see what your saying. Honestly, i looked into one too. But my dad talked me out of it. He told me that whenever he used to have to flatten out the fiber prints, he preferred using the iron. He had a dry mount press (well, the newspaper he worked for did), but he said the iron trick worked better. and all of his mounted prints, some of which are 30 years old, are still flat on the board. But it's up to you. I was just offering my insight from my experiences. That said though, i am trying to get a dry mount press, but for dry mounting, not for flattening fiber prints.

    -Austin
     
  6. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    There are print dryers that hold the print against a smooth curved metal surface with a canvas cover in a frame which is slightly stretched over the plate to hold the print flat. Heating elements are inside with both sides useable. Google "Arkay" print dryers for more information. A DIY project which should work is just the plate and the canvas cover. Either air dry or use a low heat like an infrared lamp.
     
  7. clayne

    clayne Member

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    What Mansur (chioque) really needs is a dry mount press. The problem is that he's in Malaysia and coming across used presses for sale is a difficult process. They're available here but the shipping is ridiculous. I'd gladly help him out next time I fly into KL, but a decent 16x20 press weighs close to 40kg and isn't exactly something easy to get past "excess baggage."
     
  8. chioque

    chioque Subscriber

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    Thanks Chris, that really sums up what my problem is. I really like the "excess baggage" part BTW :smile:

    Back to my original question, ideally I would want to have a "dry mount press", but in my case since I cannot have access to those but I can get these "heat press machines" locally, would these work to flatten fibre prints, you reckon?

    -Mansur
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2010
  9. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Mansur, that type of machine would probably work fine provided the platens were reasonably flat. The thing with a press is that the cam mechanism loads a large amount of pressure between the plates, creating an optimal pressing situation. Upon looking at the machines you listed, the 2nd one "clamp press" one is the one I'd go with. However, it'd really be necessary to test one of these things out with 2 pieces of matte board first. They aren't cheap at 1800RM - and a quality used Seal press here goes for 100-400USD, definitely less than 1800RM.

    The other thing you have to remember is that presses here will be 120VAC and not 230VAC that you need. The European Seal presses get around this by using a 230VAC compatible heating element. The element is swappable across US and European models.

    The Seal 210M (23x18.5" platens) which is the model I would go for, if I were you, weighs in around 78lb, or 35kg. You'd pretty much have to secure a Euro heating element (which you can buy from Seal as far as I know) and then fly it on a plane over here. Your best bet would actually be to vacation in the US, and load up a box on your way back and just pay the extra baggage charge - or alternatively ship freight out (but you might get screwed around with by Malaysian customs when it gets there).

    If you did that, your best bet would be to wait until early next year sometime when I move houses. You're welcome to send stuff to my place for storage and then come pick it up on vacation. :smile:
     
  10. chioque

    chioque Subscriber

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    Hahaha, a vacation to the States..... now that would be nice. But I don't think that's on the horizon anytime soon :smile: About the price for the heat presses in the link, you're right. They are definitely more expensive than the Dry mounts, but these heat press machines seem to be higher in specs that those used for photography. I'm quite confident it'll work fine to flatten prints. I like the last one, the one having 40x60 platten, for RM1,800 (about USD580), expensive but shipment to my house is free and comes with 250V power chord, as well as not having to deal with the Malaysian customs at all.

    I'm taking your advice and keeping my eye on the 210M, one is on ebay right now, about $400 or less.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2010
  11. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Any place you can find specs on those machines? Max pressure and heat? That would determine if it'll work or not. The actual mechanical nature looks similar.
     
  12. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Looking at the examples you referred to shows me that with one exception the platen size is quite small (around 12 inches). I think you would need the largest version which has a platen of around 16x23 inches. I was very lucky to get a 20x26 Ademco press for under $100 but a friend and I nearly did ourselves an injury carrying up the stairs to my spare bedroom
     
  13. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Yeah I moved a Seal 210M by myself and it's a back-breaker. 20x26 would be even worse.

    I agree, the last one looks best. Remember that one can always press in phases if happening to be dry-mounting, for instance. Otherwise I doubt you'll be printing larger than 16x20. I personally don't.
     
  14. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    IIRC the seal presses are a clam shell design. The Ademco is a Swan Neck Design with a 20 inch diameter "steering wheel" to move the upper platen up and down. The whole thing weighed about 180 lb fully assembled if not more.
     
  15. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Sounds like a great time.

    I remember the time myself and 2 friends moved a 375 lb engine/transaxle combo up a drive-way and into a garage - about a 20 foot total walk.

    There was no backing out of that one once we were moving.