FAQ for Heat Printers

Heat Presses

What is the difference between a domestic iron and a heat press?

The three main requirements to successfully apply a transfer are exact temperature, time and pressure.  A heat press can be calibrated to these requirements and maximise your efficiency, whereas you will not be able to perform anything accurately with a domestic iron.

Which is the right heat press for me?

We offer an excellent range of heat presses that cater for all uses. As a proud member of the Stahls' group, we are pleased to offer the full Hotronix range, the world's leading heat presses. 

As part of our range, there is a heat press for every business. To see the full checklist of essentials for choosing your press, click here.

Don't buy a press unless it (a) has a minimum of one year warranty and (b) it is fully UKCA or CE approved. Check that the suppliers carry spare parts and can carry out any servicing necessary.

Which heat presses have inter-changeable lower platens?

All of the Hotronix® Heat Presses that we stock have interchangeable lower platens (with the exception of the Stahls’ Clam Basic range). For more details, see the lower platens section here.

What is the difference between “Auto Open” or “MAXX” and a “Swinger”?

The most obvious difference is that the “Auto Open and MAXX” presses are clam presses and open vertically, meaning they require less space and are lighter in weight. The Fusion IQ “Swinger” presses swing open to the left or right and leave a completely “heat-free” working area. They will require approximately three feet square of counter space, as opposed to the two feet square that the clam presses will require. The “Swinger” is the best-selling style for the serious heat press user, operating in bulk orders through the year. The Clam presses are more generally used for lower quantities, but you will see no difference in end result if you follow the application instructions given on either machine. The difference between the “Auto Open” and “MAXX” presses is the fact that the “Auto Open” version features the patented Magnetic Auto Open and Assisted Lock Down function. This makes the press easier to operate, and can reduce the physical demand on the user, especially if dealing in large volumes, or even if operating two machines at once.

What pneumatic presses are available, and what do I need to run one

At Target Transfers, we are part of the Stahls’ Hotronix group. As a result of this, we are able to offer the market leading Hotronix® Air Fusion IQ and Dual Air Fusion IQ presses. These are pneumatic presses and they will require an air compressor. Details of all of these products are available in the Heat Press section of the website www.targettransfers.com/heatpress .

Can I cover up the rubber mat on the lower platen to prevent it wearing?

A.Not only can you, but it is something that we would recommend. All you need is a Quick Slip Protector that is available from the accessories section of our website. They come in all the sizes you could need and you can find them here.

I already own a press.  Will it work with your material?

A.The only requirements that our materials and transfers require are Heat and Pressure. We guarantee that they will work on any Heat Press on the market, provided you follow the instructions. 

What happens if I lose my Press power lead

A.Contact us. It is imperative you only use the lead supplied with your press, as they are manufactured to a CE specification, specifically for our range of Heat Presses.


How can I improve my application results?

Although our instructions are as accurate as they can be, every single garment/fabric is different. That is why you are always advised to do a test yourself and work out how you can best apply your transfers. We also strongly advise that you use non-stick pillows (where appropriate) and finishing aids to make sure that you are getting the best results out of every fuse.

I am having application problems.  Is it the material?

It is highly unlikely to be the material. There are many different variables that can cause problems when applying transfers, such as pressure, temperature, time, etc. Once you have eliminated all other potential problems, we will be more than happy to check the material for any defects.

The design is not applying to the material as I had expected – what am I doing wrong?

We thoroughly recommend that no matter what design/material you are applying, it is always best to test. The instructions given are a guideline, and it is always advisable that you work yourself on getting the temperature and pressure right for the garment you are applying to. Subtle changes to the way that you apply can make all the difference. We also strongly recommend using appropriate accessories to get the best finish.

Custom Transfers

What are Heat Transfers?

Heat Transfers are your designs printed in ink onto a carrier that can be applied to any textile/ fabric that can take heat. They are an easy and affordable way to decorate garments and make a profit. Heat transfers are used to get a soft finish, that feels like part of the garment. And to get vibrant colours, neon’s and metallic finishes from your designs.

Common uses for heat transfers include: Full size graphic prints, chest prints, sports names/ numbers, leavers designs. hoodie sleeves, neck labels, cap/ hat prints, neck labels, bags and much more.

What is the best way to order custom transfers?

All you need to do is head to https://custom.targettransfers.com/ and upload your artwork for an instant price on our Easy View designer.

What is the correct transfer system for my needs?

All our Heat Transfers now come with stretch as standard, all you need to do is choose between 1-5 colour screen and UltraColour. If you require a dye-block then select the subliblocker version of the transfer.

Created with ink, screen printed transfers are printed onto release paper and applied with a heat press. They are great for large jobs over 50 pieces and graphics with 5 or less colours. 

Are a combination of the best qualities of screen and digital. Get the soft, detailed finish of screen with the unlimited colour and gradients of digital. This eco-friendly transfer is fast becoming one of the most sought-after transfer choices.  

What type of materials can heat transfers apply to?

Our Custom Heat Transfers can be applied to cotton, poly/cotton blends, some nylons, lycra, spandex and neoprene.

How durable are the transfers?

Our Custom Heat Transfers are highly durable, made from materials that will normally outlast the life of the garment (60+ washes) that it is applied to (when done correctly). Stahls’ Cad-cut® Heat Transfer Vinyl materials are washable, and are normally ironed on the reverse. Some materials can even be dry cleaned.

Can you reproduce transfers of licensed products?

Providing that you can prove that you have the license to be able to replicate an image, we will happily print it for you.

Are there any minimum requirements for ordering, such as quantity?

Depending on the process being used, we are happy to accept very small runs for customers (minimum 10) or runs stretching into millions. Our minimum order quantity for screenprintedn and UltraColour transfers is 10 pieces, for some subliblocker transfers the MOQ is 25.

What is the delivery time for custom transfers?

It depends on the process that you are using, but we pride ourselves on a short turn-around time, and can very often provide you with the transfers within two days. In most instances, consumables will be with you the following day, providing you order before 4.00pm (dependant on stock levels and volume ordered).

Is there a way in which I can achieve special effects on the transfers, such as a gloss or textured finish?

Yes, by using special cover sheets you can achieve such effects. They can be found on our website here.

What are the artwork requirements needed to enable me to have custom transfers produced?

The quality of file required depends on the process. As a basic guide, for ultraColour designs, we would be looking for Photoshop files that are at least 300dpi. For a screen process, we require an adaptable illustrator file or an EPS with outlined fonts. For our full Artwork guide please click here.


Media Paper and Print & Cut

What type of paper is right for my printer?

The key thing to stick to is the obvious, Inkjet papers for Inkjet Printers and Laser Paper for Laser Printers. There is more information on which printers it suits best on the website under the individual paper types. If you wanted to know which paper is best for a specific make and model, then please contact our experienced Sales team and they will be more than happy to help.

How durable are the transfers?

Due to the fact that these are printed on a standard inkjet or laser printer, the durability is less than the digital or screen printed heat transfers or print and cut materials. We would not recommend using the Media Paper if they are to be worn/used on an everyday basis.

What are the papers best used for?

These transfers are best suited to events such as Stag Do's/Hen Parties, etc, where longevity is not important.

For long lasting full colour prints we recommend using UltraColour Heat Transfers.

What is the difference between “solvent” and “eco-solvent ink”?

Basically, it can be said that eco-solvent inks are virtually odour free, and do not require any special ventilation or environmental equipment. They are generally considered less aggressive than full solvent ink.

Can I cut a contour/profile around the design once it has been printed?

Yes, you can, providing you have a cutter with an optical eye installed. As long as you print registration marks, you can pass it through your cutter and it can pick up the design from there.


Cad-Cut® Materials and Vinyl Cutters

Will Summa Winplot work with CorelDraw versions before version 10?

Winplot will work with older versions of CorelDraw, but the direct plug-in is only available for version 10 upwards. For older versions, saving the artwork as an Adobe Illustrator file (version 7) with text saved as outlines and then opening the artwork directly within Winplot will work fine.

Which cutter would be the right one for me?

There are a few things to remember when selecting a cutter. Firstly, make sure that it has a minimum cutting width of 60cms; that it has a cutting speed of at least 40cm/s; that it can generate at least 200 grams of force. Secondly, consider a table top model if you are going to move the cutter frequently. You should look to try and project the volume of work that you are going to get, and look to purchase a cutter suitable for this. They have different properties and you should make sure that whatever cutter you purchase, it can cope with the demands you will put on it https://www.targettransfers.com/plotter-cutters.html.

What do and what don’t cutters do?

All of the cutters available from Target will cut in reverse, vinyl rolls or sheets. Once you have produced your artwork as a vector file, you simply send the information through to the cutter and it replicates the design to the size and detail specified. The Summa D60 also comes with an optical eye, which allows you to profile-cut around media paper designs that you have printed, providing you add the registration marks to the design.

How easy is it to install a cutter on my own computer?

Extremely easy. As long as you follow the instructions with the software and your computer meets the basic requirements, then it will be very straightforward.

How long is the warranty and after sales support?

The warranty and after sales support varies from cutter to cutter but is clearly displayed individually with each cutter on the website and at the time of purchase.

What are the specific differences between the models?

Usually, the main differences are cutting speeds, cutting widths and pressure. Please refer to the website for the specific details of each cutter.

Which is the right material for me?

The material that you need will depend on the fabric that you are applying it to and the requirement of your job. We stock a wide range of materials, some suitable for lots of garment types (such as Sportsfilm Extra) and the more specialist ones (like Premium Plus). If you are unsure which product is going to be suitable for you and the task you have at hand, please feel free to contact our experienced Sales team.

What are the advantages of the different materials?

Each individual material has its own qualities, each one having something that makes it essential in our range of products. Some products have incredible versatility, offering you an excellent finish on most garment types, including Nylon, and the ability to cut terrific detail, especially on smaller designs. Other materials will provide a perfect solution to workwear problems. No matter what job you have, Target Transfers will have a process or material that will be able to provide you with a solution.

How much pressure and cutting speed should I use?

This will vary from material to material and you should follow the instructions carefully at all times. It is also best to test products and machines thoroughly so that they give you the best results possible. Regular maintenance of all machines and equipment will make sure that you obtain the highest quality results possible.

How do I know when a blade is blunt?

It may seem obvious, but when you find you are not getting the results that you are expecting and the material is proving difficult to weed, it is likely that your blade is blunter than it should be. If you increase the pressure and you find that this does not improve the cut, but starts to damage or ripple the material, then that is another clear sign. You should change your blade regularly to ensure you get the best results possible.

If I already have a cutter, will it work with your materials?

In a word - Yes! Don't believe anyone who tells you that you must use their heat press or cutter. They all do the same thing - and if you have some sign writing software, you can usually use it for designs for textile vinyls.

Can I get a replacement blade holder for my cutter?

Yes. We stock many different blades and blade holders. They are available on-line in the Accessories section HERE.

Can I get a replacement blade for my cutter and which one should I get?

Yes, we sell an excellent selection of blades and smart knives. The blade that you use depends on the materials that you are planning to cut. For general use, there is a selection of standard blades that will do the job efficiently. We also stock a Flock blade for the heavy duty cutting. In addition, we sell a selection of Smart Knives that will cut vinyl and flock perfectly every time. These are all available to view in the Accessories section  HERE.

The cutter is not cutting as well as it did previously – what am I doing wrong?

The most likely cause of cutting problems is the blade that is being used. Depending on what material has been cut, you can often find that the blade will blunt quite frequently and it can make a real tangible difference to the quality. There could be other problems, such as the pinch rollers or the optical eye, and it is worth testing and maintaining the machinery regularly to obtain good results time after time.

How durable are transfers made from Stahls’ Cad-Cut HTV?

Most Heat Transfer Vinyl transfers produced today are made from materials which will outlast the life of the garment that it is applied to. It is highly recommended to check the individual instructions for the different materials and processes, but you can rest assured that you will be getting a product that will give you fabulous results for a considerable period of time.

Do all Cad-Cut material brands match in colour?

No, they don't. You must keep to the same brand to ensure the same colour is used throughout the job - and for any subsequent re-order. We have a Pantone list for most of our colours that should give you an excellent indication of what to expect. If you want help selecting the right colours for you, please feel free to contact our experienced Sales team and they will be happy to help.

What are the differences in different brands of Cad-Cut materials?

Please remember that not all materials are created equally. There are some simple questions to ask to determine whether the brand is likely to be of good quality. Is it easy to weed? Can you see the cut lines through the material? Can it be overlaid to produce multi coloured designs? What is the smallest size lettering recommended to be cut from the material? Is it washable, and can it be dry cleaned? Will the Colour and quality be consistent with each order?

Target only stock Stahls’ HTV materials, manufactured to a specification you can rely on time after time.

How many Cad-Cut materials do I need to start?

You will need materials for cottons and polyesters; material for Nylon and material for work-wear. Initially you should not need to stock any other colours than white and black, and order most other colours as and when you need them. Remember, a good supplier should get materials to you by the next day.

How can I achieve a two colour design using Cad-Cut materials?

It is usually possible to create a two or even three colour image using Cad-Cut materials, by layering some of the materials. Please refer to the individual instructions on the website for full details.

What file formats will the cutter support?

All of the different cutters will use Adobe Illustrator (.AI) vector files as a baseline. Certain software have their own specific file formats but as an industry-standard, Adobe Illustrator files are more than sufficient.

Can I use Photoshop or MS Word?

Unfortunately, neither of these pieces of software are suitable, as they cannot produce designs as vector files.

Can I upgrade my cutter if my business expands rapidly?

Obviously, the specifications of the cutters vary from model to model, with some being better suited to irregular, low volume usage with others being more preferable for the higher volume, faster turnaround jobs. As your business evolves, you might need to consider a change to your hardware to keep up with the pace.

Do I need to buy any specific software for a cutter?

If you choose to buy a Summa or Graphtec Cutter, it comes with free plug-ins for CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator. Silhouette cameo and portrait machines come with free access to Silhouette Studio.

The cutter does not recognise the material – what am I doing wrong?

Firstly, and most obviously, make sure the cutter is turned on. Try reloading the material, as it could have been missed originally. Make sure that the pinch rollers are down and in position. If all of these things fail, please contact our experienced Sales team, and they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

How can I stop the material from catching on the blade when I am cutting?

Often, the blade catches on the material because it is blunt, so replacing your blade regularly can stop this from happening. It is often the case that when this happens, it is because the pressure is too high and it is going too far through and catching on the carrier.

The material keeps slipping through the cutter – what am I doing wrong?

You need to make sure that the pinch rollers are down and in position, as it is these that hold the material in the correct place. If you find that this is still happening when the pinch rollers are correctly aligned, you may have a problem with the mechanism. It may also be that the material hasn't been cut straight. If this is the case, as it feeds through, it can slip off the pinch rollers before the light sensor gets to the end of the roll.

How do I convert from Rastor to Vector graphics?

Please refer to the user manual of the software that you're using to produce the design.

Where can I buy garments, bags etc?

Recommended blank items companies include BTC and Ralawise. All our vinyl material and custom heat transfers get great results on these products.