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Step 2 | heating

We use a 15” T-shirt press to heat plastic in our shop. Temperature and cycle time are both programmable and are shown on the readout. 

The tension between the plates on the closed press is also adjustable using a knob.

If you do use a T-shirt press you’ll want to cover the heating plate with a Teflon sheet to keep the Kydex from sticking to it.  Here we use some small magnets to hold the Teflon sheet in place.

You’ll want to have your plastic precut and ready to go.

If your T-shirt press is new, or you’ve changed holster material thickness, an IR thermometer can be helpful for dialing in your heating cycle.

You’ll need to play around with settings to find what works best for you for your equipment and material. 

Our press is set to 385 degrees for a cycle time of 110 seconds.  Again, these setting can vary based on your equipment, location, and material.

Once your press is hot, you’ll also want to preheat the bottom rubber for more consistent results. 

Close the empty press and let it run through a couple of heat cycles.  You’ll get much better consistency throughout your production run when you start with the bottom pad preheated.

When you’re ready to heat your plastic, it’s important to make sure that the smooth side is facing up.  In our shop, most all holsters start as 12” square precuts.  Adjust the size of your plastic blanks for your own forming practices. 

The key contributors to excellent holster definition, for us in our shop, have been even heating of the Kydex sheet and a strong vacuum with no leaks in any of the fittings.  Even a small leak between your pump and your table can give less than desirable results not to mention fill your shop with oil mist.

Now let’s get ready to form your holsters.

Tools, Hardware & Links 

15” x 15” Auto-Open Release Heat Press Machine

Teflon Sheet for Heat Press

Fluke 62 Max Infrared Thermometer


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