There are tons of multifunction heat press machines for sale on Amazon (literally). Do an Amazon search for that term and you’ll see all the listings – there they all are with their main central press surrounded by all the bits and pieces!
In this article we want to give an overview of what these machines are, how they work and whether or not they might be for you.
What Are Multifunction Heat Presses?
Multifunction presses are those which have a standard flat heat platen for pressing t-shirts and other flat substrates, butalso take attachment presses or platens in order to press on other non-flat surfaces, such as plates or mugs.
They have an outlet on the control panel, usually below the digital time and temperature display, that you plug the different heat platens into.
We want to consider whether these machines are any good. Do they work well? And most importantly, who should get one? Who should shoot for another type of machine?
What Attachments Do They Come With?
The attachments that come with these machines are:
A hat/cap press
A mug press
A plate press
And of course they also have a main heat press platen which will be sized either 12 x 15 or 15 x 15 inches.
The reason you can get more attachments with some machines is because they come with multiple sized mug or plate attachments. Therefore, there are 3 different types of attachments which can come in multiple sizes.
How Do They Attach And What Sizes Are They?
The three of these attachment presses connect electrically through the main outlet on the control box. However, there are differences in how they attach to the main body of the machine.
The mug press is a separate device that plugs into the main control of the heat press. It works alongside the heat press, unlike the other attachments that screw onto the press in the place of existing platens.
The typical sizes of mug press attachments are:
2 -2.75 inch diameter (6OZ)
3 – 3.5 inch diameter (11OZ)
12OZ latte mug (Cone)
17OZ latte mug (Cone)
These sizes are true for the Mophorn 8 in 1, but whichever press you go with you will need to check they have the size that you’re after.
When you’ve chosen the size and have set everything up, it can be a good idea to test that the pressure is set right before plugging it in. You may need to make slight adjustments to ensure a tight (but not too tight) clamp, and it is better to do this before she’s heated.
You will need to apply the transfer to your mug with heat tape in preparation for pressing. This will ensure your transfer stays in place.
The mug press will heat up once you have plugged it into the main machine. You will also set the time and temperature on the main control as you usually would.
Once the attachment is plugged in and the appropriate time and temperature have been set and reached, you can slip your mug into the machine and wait for it to finish.
Mug transfers tend to take much longer than a t-shirt press – generally needing over a minute.
Hat And Cap Press
The hat/cap press is perhaps the most difficult attachment to use on these machines because it requires you to unscrew and remove both the top and lower platens. The hat/cap platens are then screwed into their place and the top platen is connected to the control panel.
That’s not to say it’s difficult to use once set up, but it does take a bit of effort to uninstall the original platens and install the new ones.
The hat/cap press is a one size fits all kind of deal. You will only receive the one set of these with any given multifunction heat press. You can usually press on either the bill or the main body of the cap – or both if you like!
The top platen of the cap press will heat up for you to do the press. Heat tape can be very helpful when doing cap transfers because of the awkwardness of the curves.
The plate press is slightly easier to attach than the cap press. With this one you only need to remove the top heat platen and screw in the plate press.
Again, as with the mug presses, different models and different brand machines will come with different sized plate press attachments.
You are likely to get one or more of the following sizes:
a 5 inch maximum diameter
a 6 inch maximum diameter
Again, it’s always a good idea to set the right pressure before everything else is ready to go. You will likely need to turn the pressure knob all the way down for plates.
So, Are They Any Good?
Are they any good?
Well, that depends on what you’re comparing them to.
My feelings are that these machines are a bit gimmicky – that doesn’t mean however that they aren’t right for you. It depends on your intentions.
If you really want to press plates and caps and mugs, as well as tees, then a multifunction might be right for you. But if you really only need the t-shirt press and just like the idea of having the option of the attachments, I’d choose a standard press.
If you are mainly interested in mug pressing but like the idea of getting all the others, I would consider just getting a dedicated mug press like the Geo Knight DK3.
The cheaper multifunction presses can be prone to faults and so I wouldn’t want to have a second rate mug press just because I wanted all the other options.
Who Should Get A Multifunction?
A cheap multifunction press is best for:
Someone who like to experiment with all types of projects
Home crafts and hobby use
The Problem With Multifunction Heat Presses
When you try to do everything, you won’t do anything well.
Here are a few of the problems:
It’s a hassle unscrewing and re-screwing the platens off and on
The 15 x 15 platen is large and heavy and can be difficult to switch out or put back on
You have a bunch of spare attachment platens that you need to store carefully so they do not get bent or damaged
The wires in the attachment cords can be easily damaged through frequent switching in and out
They tend to be cheap Chinese made machines which are not of as high a quality as US made heat presses
Only get one of these machines if you really want to give it a go and are happy to take the risk of one of the above problems occurring.
I wouldn’t be jumping to get one of these multifunctions for a busy business. Far better to get a dedicated machine, one that has been designed for a specific purpose and that is going to do that well.