Due to their incredible precision and ability to kiss cut layered materials, lasers have long been popular choices for cutting twill appliqués and pvc-free heat transfer products for apparel. But did you know that you can actually engrave intricate designs and photos on pvc-free heat transfer material and eliminate the need for weeding all together? In addition to eliminating the weeding step, engraving heat transfer material is also a faster, cleaner and less expensive option that silk screen printing.
In this sample club project we'll walk you through the steps of laser engraving Siser Easyweed (a pvc-free heat transfer material) and applying it to a t-shirt. And don't forget to check out the video above to see the laser and heat press in action!
- Siser Easy Weed - this material is CPSIA Certified and PVC-free.
- Engraving Table Hold Down Mat - we selected the Seklema Multi-Mat from Johnson Plastics Plus.
- Heat Press
- Epilog Laser System
We used a Fusion M2 40 120w:
Raster: Speed 100% // Power 39% // 400dpi // Stucki
Vector: Speed 100% // Power 5% // 100F
Step 1: Prepare Artwork
The goal in this application is to engrave away the transfer material to reveal the carrier/backing. The area that is NOT engraved is what will be heat pressed to the garment. For this reason, you'll want to:
- Invert the artwork you are working with
- Make sure to mirror any text as well so it appears correctly when heat pressed
Step 2: Send to the Laser
Apply the heat transfer material shiny-side-down onto the muti-mat. Ensure the material lays flat and there are no bubbles or ridges. Insert the multi-mat into the laser. Send the job to the laser with the correct parameters for your machine's wattage. Generally speaking, for this type of material you'll want to start at a high speed and low to medium power. For a 120-watt system, we engraved at 100% speed and 39% power. It may take some experimentation with your power settings to achieve the result you're looking for.
Other engraving parameters:
- Use your air assist feature and engrave from the bottom up. This will reduce any dust/debris from settling into unwanted areas.
- Select 400 as your engraving DPI
- Use the Stucki dithering pattern in the Epilog print driver.
Step 3: Heat pressing
Remove the finished piece from the laser and prepare to heat press it. All Siser materials will have instructions on the temperature and length of press. Most require a temperature of around 305°F/150°C and medium pressure in the heat press for 10-15 seconds.
Step 4: Enjoy
Once the heat pressing process is finished, your laser engraved Siser Easy Weed shirts are complete!
Where can you sell garments with laser engraved heat transfer designs?
- School clubs, teams or other organizations.
- Corporate team building exercises/retreats.
- Recreational sports leagues.