Investing in the right equipment is the key to taking your t-shirt printing business to the next level. You must acquire nothing but the best manual screen printing press machine to ensure the growth of your income and profit eventually.
Now, you have to take note that screen printing machines have varying features and specs that determine their performance as well as their suitability for certain usage. And some of the unique selling propositions (USP) of these presses are its weight, durability, stations, supported colors, and whether or not it is easy to clean the machine.
Don’t worry because, in this article, we will review 5 premium models. Compare and contrast them to determine the best one for your printing needs.
List of the Best Manual Screen Printing Press– editor’s pick:
5 Best Manual Screen Printing Press
Do not be overwhelmed with the myriad of choices available in the market. You should always go for the best, and when I say the best, I mean the products listed below.
1. SHZOND Screen Printing Press 4 Color 1 Station Silk Screen Printing Machine
This first model is offered by SHZOND with four colors and one station. It is ideal for individual printing shops and small businesses.
The pallet of this machine is removable, which means that you can adjust it in every direction. You can position it backward or forward, upward, downward, right, or left. Again, however you want.
Its spring devices are specially designed for ease of operation. You can be sure of the accuracy of the spring intensity while positioning the screen up and down. In every operation, you can adjust it accordingly, depending on the weight and size of the screens.
As such, the splashing of inks and expelling of squeegees will be avoided during higher intensity. You can also avoid the tendencies of screen unfixing that is caused by loose intensity squeegees and heavy screen frames.
The screen clamp can work well with frames having a 1.8-inch thickness. This, too, is movable to secure the position of the screen and thus to produce quality prints. You can utilize this to print on clothing, most especially on T-shirts.
But it is also applicable for wood, metal, circuit board, plastic, copybook, paper, and woven fabric printing. A lot of printers also use this to print on pillowcases and on woven and non-woven bags.
Highlighted Key Features
- Supports four colors
- One press station
- Movable screen clamp
- Removable and adjustable pallet
- Specially designed spring devices
2. Vevor Screen Printing Press 200x100mm Manual Cylinder Screen Printing Machine
This Vevor screen printing machine is suitable for versatile applications. With this, you can undoubtedly produce quality prints.
You will like the sturdiness of this model because it is made of high-quality materials. Its plate is made of durable steel; that is why this machine is very stable when operated. With such a heavy-duty and durable, rugged construction, it is a guarantee that this machine will have an extended service life.
The lift and base are both adjustable. To fix the height, you have to use the lift. And to fix the position of the product, you can use the bottom base. With this excellent feature, you can greatly improve efficiency at work because the operation will be much smoother and easier.
Vevor has designed this to be user-friendly. It is a guarantee that the printing press will be safe and convenient to use because it also features a non-slipping handle. Much more, you can have more space for storing because the stowage plate is compact.
As mentioned earlier, this machine is useful for a variety of applications, but this is primarily used for conical and cylindrical products such as thermos cups, mugs, cosmetic bottles, and more. The printing size is as large as 200×100 mm. It can also cater to the daily transfer of an array of patterns.
Highlighted Key Features
- Adjustable base and lift
- Large printing size
- User-friendly design
- Sturdy and heavy-duty construction
- Suitable for a variety of applications
3. Single 1 Color Station T-Shirt Silk Screen Printing Machine
Here we have a unit that boasts of simple yet practical and rational design. This Silk Screen Printing Machine has one color station, and it is specially designed for t-shirt printing.
Its pallet can guarantee that you can position the shirt accurately, and thus, you can produce good quality prints. But this can also be applied to substrates that need overprinting such as bags and pillowcases. You can easily dismantle and change the pallet to satisfy different printing needs.
The spring devices are specially designed for ease of operation. This allows the screen to adjust accordingly based on the weight and size of the substrate. Through this feature, the expelling of squeegees will be avoided since the spring intensity is always kept precise.
In addition to the splashing of inks, the unfixing of screens will also be limited. That usually occurs in higher or loose intensities when the squeegees and screen frames are pretty heavy.
Furthermore, its screen clamp is movable to secure the screens in the proper position. This is suitable for screen frames with 78-inch thickness.
For its construction, the brand used metal and stainless steel in some parts. These materials make the machine look elegant. Aside from that, it has undergone advanced electrostatic spraying that makes cleaning easy and convenient without rust.
Highlighted Key Features
- Movable clamp
- One-color station
- Full metal construction
- Easy to clean
- Specially designed spring devices
4. Intbuying Screen Printing Press T-Shirt Screen Printing Machine One Color Manual
Now let me introduce to you another high-quality screen printing press machine that is built by Intbuying. This one has a lot of outstanding features that make operation easy.
The manufacturer used durable materials for this model to ensure that it will last long. Its plate, as well as its attachment material, are made of stainless steel. They also treated the surface with electrostatic spraying to enhance their appearance and to make it easy for users to clean their printing press.
Both the clamp and pallet are designed in such a way that users can adjust them according to the thickness that they want. It also features two springs so that the tension of this machine can easily be adjusted according to various weights. And at the same time, it maintains the balance of the screen frame.
Another feature that this product boasts of is its ease of installation. That is because this model already comes semi-finished. There is no need for you to install each of its components. The package also includes a pallet bracket that is also easy to fix and install.
This machine is widely used for printing onto clothing, wood, circuit board, woven fabric, paper, and other plane substrates. But this is mainly used for t-shirt printing.
Highlighted Key Features
- Durable and rustproof material
- Adjustable clamp and pallet
- Two sturdy springs
- Ease of installation
- Effortless to operate
5. Techtongda 4 Color 4 Station Silk Screen Printing Press Machine
To complete the list, here is the Techtongda Silk Screen Printing Press Machine that features four stations and supports four colors.
With this machine, you can print onto various materials, including leather, ceramic tile, glass, wood, circuit board, plastic, copybook, paper, metal, woven fabric and clothing. This is also suitable to use on other plane substrates, that is why it’s ideal for printing shops and small businesses.
The press already comes with a bracket, so it will be easy for you to adjust and install the platen. Each fixing device of the screen frame is equipped with a positioning wheel that guarantees the precision of printing.
It also facilitates ease of multiple color printing because the pallet and the screen layers rotate independently. All you need to do is just to adjust one pallet, then the rest of the pallets will just settle down correspondingly.
The screen clamp can also be moved up and down for more secure and better print results. With all these excellent features, you can print up to 50 pieces of multi-color shirts in just an hour. That’s if you are quite a skillful operator already and if you have at least one person who can assist you.
Highlighted Key Features
- Four color stations
- Ease of installation
- Movable screen clamp
- Comes with a bracket
- Pallet and screen layers rotate independently
How to Use a Manual Screen Printing Machine?
In using the manual screen printing machine, it is important to understand that it requires physical effort in order to make it work. The carousel should be rotated, and the print heads are to be lifted or lowered. Also, you have to push or pull the squeegee all by your hands when printing.
- Setting up the Machine
Firstly, you should set up the screen printing machine. You are required to have four press stations, one for the print, one for the flash cure, and two stations will be allotted for the cool down process.
- Loading the Shirts
Then, load the shirts to the pallets and print all the colors before transferring them to the belt dryer.
- Moving the Shirts
Lastly, move the shirts into the next station for the flash cure and wait for it to dry. The process goes on repeatedly as you rotate the carousel. As simple as that.
Remember, the amount of print runs that you can finish will depend on your physical condition. Also, take note when choosing your manual press, you have to opt for the one with ergonomic and sturdy construction. Or those that are smooth and light enough for easy rotation.
What Materials Do You Need for Screen Printing?
Before you start screen printing, you need to prepare the materials, which include the water-based and plastisol inks, distilled water that is used for diluting inks, rubber squeegee, or a window cleaner, paper or fabric, hairdryer, and adhesive spray to keep the fabric in place.
If you will print on paper, it is recommended that you use a hard rubber. But a softer one should be used when you will be printing on fabric.
For the stencil, you will need plastic with a sticky back, stickers in geometric shapes, sticky tape, and cutting tools such as scissors, knife, or scalpel. Aside from that, you also need a wooden frame, stapler, glue, paintbrush, and a hammer for the silkscreen.
In addition, you will need a table where you can place the fabric. This is also where you print. Make sure that you will have space where you can keep your printed materials, test fabrics, papers, and tools.
Aside from that, it is a good idea that you prepare a bucket of water to wash your hands after you are done printing. But the other materials mentioned are just optional. As long as you have the tape, films, squeegees, scrubbers, printers, screens, and plastisol inks, you will be good to go.
How Can I Make My Own T-Shirts at Home?
There are several ways to create t-shirts at home. But you can follow the simple process that I will discuss below.
- Creating Your Design and Print
First, create the design that you want digitally. You can use computer programs such as the Illustrator for this. Place the paper on the printer, make sure that it is on the proper side. Then print.
- Getting Ready to Print the Design
After you printed it on the paper, cut the design as perfectly as possible. Then, get the shirt and an iron or press. Now, it’s time to transfer the design onto your shirt. Don’t forget to peel off the paper’s backside before you continue. Also, warm the iron or press first.
- Preparing the Press Table
Next, place your shirt on the press table or on the surface where you intend to iron. Then, put the design on the desired part, and you may start pressing or ironing. Usually, the heat transfer will only take 1-2 minutes in order to imprint the design completely onto the shirt.
- Removing the Paper
Once you are done with this step, you need to remove the paper. Now, your T-shirt printing process is completed. But remember some instructions that the transfer paper may tell. For example, the shirt should not be washed for 3 days or make sure to wash the shirt inside out.
What Software Is Best for Screen Printing?
In terms of screen printing, there is plenty of software that can produce great print designs. Remember, what is best for one print shirt shop may not be good for another. Nonetheless, some of the best are Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Designer.
But if you are on a restricted budget, there’s this Ignition drawing. This software offers vector creation at a low cost. Much more, it can turn a low-quality JPEG into a flexible vector graphic. But using this for a long time can get costly too.
There are also some software options that are open-sourced, such as Gimp, Inkscape, and many other art software. Again, the best will still depend on your personal use.
Personally, I prefer CorelDraw. This is a vector illustration tool that offers excellent features, including a color separation function suitable in printing spot colors. However, this is incompatible with Mac.
Also, the price is a bit high. But then again, they offer a complete package, so it will be worth it. Each upgrade costs 200 dollars. But you won’t have to pay for this anymore if you pay for their yearly subscription.
- Is Manual Screen Printing or Digital Printing Better?
The answer to this question will depend on the print that you want to achieve. For instance, if you want to emphasize the detail of the print, digital printing would be better. But this is recommended for small quantity orders only. This is because only one substrate can be processed per setup.
Considering that this method does not utilize screens, it can produce a photographic print with more details as compared to screen printing. But since thinner ink is applied in order to achieve high-quality details, it is best to use this on shirts with light colors so that the design will be clear and apparent.
But if you want to focus on the vibrancy of the design, especially when you will print on dark colored shirts, the screen printing method is a better choice. Unlike in digital printing, this one applies thicker ink. As a result, the colors of the design will be brighter.
Much more, it is best to use this for specialty items such as mugs, koozies, and bottles since the design is manually printed by hand. Thus, the printer can handle uneven surfaces and curves.
- Screen Printing Machine vs Cricut
Both Cricut and screen printing machines require you to cut the design first before the application process. But these two differ in terms of different aspects.
For instance, the Cricut print dries faster than screen prints. It will only take a few minutes, unlike in the screen prints that need a minimum of 24 hours to dry completely. Of course, you can utilize a heat gun to speed up the process.
When it comes to the ink colors, both Cricut and screen printing machines come in various color options. You can even mix the inks to produce new colors. If you purchase 4 jars with primary colors, you can get at least 18 color combinations. Each of these colors can further be combined to create more shades.
In terms of their care instructions, Cricut recommends that you use mild detergents in washing the shirt. Also, ensure that it is inside-out. In drying them, it is not advisable to use a dryer.
Screen printed shirts, on the other hand, can be washed and dried according to your garment’s label. As long as you cured the ink properly, the print will certainly stay vibrant for a long time.
- Screen Printing Machine vs Heat Press
Screen Printing machines use a screen or nylon mesh that is cut accordingly to create a stencil for the particular design that you want. The ink will then be spread over the desired areas of the screen.
For each screen, you can only use one color. With that being said, you will need several screens to create the final item. But this will depend on the number of colors present in a certain design.
Screen printing does not work with all designs. This method requires more equipment and chemicals for it to work as compared to a heat press. With that being said, it is ideal for apparel companies.
On the other hand, the heat press can apply custom design into the material like tablecloths or t-shirts. This machine combines pressure and heat. There are various heat pressing methods, including digital and vinyl heat transfer. These two are the most common ones.
With the digital method, the graphic is initially printed digitally onto the special paper with the use of solvent ink. Whereas, the vinyl method uses colored vinyl that is shaped to form the letters and designs by using a machine. Then, the heat press is used to transfer the design.
- Can You Wash a Screen Printed Shirt?
Yes, you can wash a screen printed shirt. But you have to be wary because the print’s appearance may alter if you wash or dry it repeatedly. Years of wearing, washing, and drying can cause the print to fade or crack.
But you can avoid this if you wash and dry the shirt inside out. This is because the printed inks will rub against lesser elements while the shirt is tumbling in the dryer or washer. Also, set the temperature or the wash setting low. It is also a good idea to keep the white shirts separated from colored ones.
Another thing to remember is to use laundry detergents with mild chemical formulations. When drying it, set the dryer low. But you can also use the traditional way of drying by just hanging it on a rope.
If you ensure to keep these things in mind every time you wash your printed shirt, it will definitely last long.
Here we end this post. I hope that you find the best manual screen printing press machine that suits your needs from our recommended list. Or if not, I hope that you still find this article helpful.