Top critical review
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Returning this unit - poorly built, producing metal shavings, swing mechanism isn't secure
on August 2, 2017
FYI: On January 30, 2018, I was contacted by this seller to change my review (specifically my words -and- the star rating) or delete it in exchange for a $15 gift card. BE AWARE OF THE REVIEWS ON THIS ITEM. My item was successfully returned and fully credited back to me, so there was no reason to contact me (let alone over 5 months later) afterward. If I was in need of the $15 or did not put others' concerns ahead of my own, I could have been inclined to accept the offer. BE AWARE IN CASE PEOPLE ARE BEING PAID FOR THEIR REVIEWS.
I purchased this product on Amazon.com through Prime on July 30, 2017, received it on August 2, 2017, and am returning it August 13, 2017. Not sure why this review isn't showing me as a verified purchaser, but here goes...
UPDATE AFTER USE: Will be returning. The metal grinding from first impression showed itself after use. There was a silvery-white substance on the base under the swinging arm after 6 uses, and a quick finger-swipe of it confirmed it as metal shavings. The heat plate is not consistently heated across (differing by as much as 35 degrees from the sides to the middle) based on readings from two different heat guns. My unit does beep incessantly, but I found that hitting a series of Enter and OK buttons back and forth will ultimately quiet the unit. The timer does not work consistently. There were times it would begin counting down after setting it to 10 seconds, hitting Enter, then OK... and other times, the same series of buttons would reset the screen back to the temperature reading. I just did all my timing by counting to myself. In use, I learned that the unit can safely swing only to the right in order to prevent the power cord from coming into contact with the the top heat plate... if you swing left, the cord would get caught on the silicone base or your project as you swung it back to the right, ultimately hitting the top plate (just something to be aware of for other buyers wishing to use their unit at the end of a table.... make sure you have sufficient right-swinging space, not left). To answer any potential questions - yes, I was able to successfully press and multi-layer HTV on several shirts, but due to the temperature swing.... I needed to re-press more than once or twice in different positions on the base and for longer periods to ensure the vinyl would adhere properly. Will this press hold up after 50 presses? - in my opinion, no... not from the metal shavings I see after 6 uses, and certainly not from the wear & tear on the handle mechanism. It was already showing signs that the bolts holding the press/plate onto the swing arm would fail before the first year. The heat press never closes level or evenly unless I put a press pillow and reduce tension in order to lift my project to its surface (this was even after making sure all shirt seams were off the plate - it just wouldn't close evenly). I took a photo (attached) showing the press fully closed with tension knob bringing it all the way down to the flat, and it still shows a lift/space from the back (thicker shirts or materials, with a reduced tension, showed an even larger gap) - I would have expected that gap from a clamshell, not from a swing-away which presses directly from the top. I feel this inability to close flat has something to do with the metal shavings, because the entire swing arm and the control unit can be rocked slightly back and forth. The vertical shaft on which it swings was not holding the arm upright fully - there was a slight lean, taking out of being perpendicular to the base. I feel strongly that the gap between the press plate and the platform would worsen over the next few months as the metal continues to grind inside the vertical swing shaft, so the arm would be held less and less upright. Overall, it just doesn't feel secure or well built for a brand new unit. As I said in my first impression, it looked used when I received it.
First impression: It is a ZENY model I received, not the F2C I expected. The styrofoam packing material was broken up inside the box around the handle of the heat press, so the top plate/handle was free to move/sway a bit during shipping from what I could tell. The unit was loosely bagged inside the styrofoam. It almost looked used. There was a clear boxcutter slice mark across the face of the control panel that went through the plastic protective coating and is visible next to the temperature control buttons. The instructions, although I am grateful for them, are generic and non-specific to this unit. They do not address, for example, what the "FUSE" control knob is on the side of the unit. The control unit, which I presume is full of wires and electronics which control the temperature & timing, touches the top of the heat plate when the plate is in the raised position. The control panel is a metal box, so when it heats up from this contact (as you heat the press in the raised position), I imagine this will cause the electronics to short out sooner than hoped. I thought perhaps the height of the control unit could be fixed by lowering the heat plate using the control knob in the back, but the unit is mounted on the same vertical bar as the heat plate... so it raises and lowers with the heat plate. Lastly, the teflon coated plate is actually painted on... it is not a teflon sheet coating.... so just like a teflon pan.... after many uses, I imagine it will begin to flake off. It doesn't provide great protection. I am very disappointed, but I knew it would be a risk given the price. I was counting on the 4 existing reviews I read at time I purchased, so hopefully my review will help future buyers set their expectations. I will update this review, if possible, once I fire it up... although I am likely to return it due to poor quality. As others said, it does smell like it came out of an old used sneaker factory when I opened the box. My unit was only manufactured on April 2017 per the sticker, so I am surprised by the condition I received it in. Also, as the swing away is rotated, I can clearly hear metal grinding on metal.