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Instructions for KAM Snap Press

We regret that the factory does not include any written instructions with the press. The following are instructions we created in-house for your reference.  (Updated 6-24-2013)

 

Please watch or read the instructions in their entirety and practice on scrap fabric before using your press! 

   The instructions apply to both the DK-93 and the DK-98 KAM presses.

 

 

 

Written Instructions

Attaching the Handle:

Insert the base of the handle between the two walls of the top of the press, making sure to align the holes.

 

Slide the screw through the holes.


Firmly tighten the nut on the end of the screw.

 

Check the vertical screw that sits right behind the handle (A in picture below). Make sure it is low enough that it doesn't interfere with the handle being pressed down.

If your handle seems to catch on something or still won't go down as far as it should, even after adjusting A as explained above, loosen the screw that goes into the big black bar (C in picture below).

Make sure the handle itself is bolted firmly to the press  (B in picture below).

 

Using the Press:

Check the alignment of the top & bottom dies.  When holding the handle down so that the top die sits directly on top of the bottom die, both dies should be perfectly centered with each other. The picture below shows a misalignment. This can be easily corrected by using the largest allen wrench to loosen the 2 screws marked E.  Once both screws have been loosened, you can move the large disc that those screws sit on over to one side until the dies are aligned.  It may require some force, so something like a rubber mallet may be helpful.

 

Here are the parts for each die piece.

 


This is how each of the snap components are attached to the dies.

 

The large cap die sits at the bottom of the press. Just drop it in. No screw necessary.

 

The socket and stud dies are attached to the top of the press.  Note that the DK-93 model has screw-in shanks, as shown, while the DK-98 has smooth shanks which will require the smallest allen wrench to tighten. If you have the DK-98, do not overtighten the screw.  Just tighten it enough to keep it secure.

 

We start with the stud die.

 

Lay the cap upside down, with the prong facing upward, on the cap die.

 

Attach the stud, with the mouth facing upward, to the stud die.

 

 

Press the prong of the cap through your fabric.  We recommend using at least 2 layers of fabric to help prevent tearing over time. Using an awl to first poke a hole in your fabric may make this easier. 

 

Press the handle down hard.

 

We mean HARD.

There should be enough pressure so that the rubber bulges out, as shown on the right in the image below. You may find it easier to place the press on a lower surface, or to stand on a stool so that you have more leverage when pressing down on the handle which results in a harder press.  (Interesting side note: it is actually easier for some people to get a firmer press using pliers than a press.)

 

When you release the handle, your fabric will be stuck to the top die.

 

Detach the fabric from the die.

 

Remove the stud die from the top and replace with the socket die.  Follow the exact same directions to attach the socket.

Note that the prong should be fairly flattened.  If it is not, it will get in the way when you try to close the 2 sides of the snap so that they will not fasten securely.

In the picture below, the prong on the right has not been flattened sufficiently so it sticks up more.  When this happens, the protruding prong will get in the way when you try to close the 2 ends of the snap together, so the snap won't close properly or even at all.

To correct this, simply re-attach the socket or stud to the top die and re-press, this time applying more pressure.  Be sure to place the stud or socket back into the upper die, rather than just laying the cap on top of the bottom die as that may cause off-centering.  If you continue to have this problem, read our Troubleshooting section below.

 


Removing Snaps

It is much easier to attach a snap than to remove it.  But if you have made a mistake with your plastic snap, you can try to remove it in a number of ways:

-        Apply a small amount of heat to the cap prong at the center of the snap which holds the snap together. The heat will melt the prong, which will allow you to simply pull the 2 pieces of the snap apart. You can use a soldering tool if you have one (eBay has inexpensive “soldering pencils”), or just heat up the tip of a fork tine over a flame and quickly place it against the prong to melt it.

-        Small pliers, wire cutters, or nail clippers can also be used to chip away at the sides of the snap or the snap prong until the snap breaks.

-        Use a leather hole punch tool to punch a hole around the smushed prong.  This will create a larger center hole in the attached socket or stud, which will allow you to simply pull the 2 sides of the snap apart.

-        Use a dremel/drill with a small rounded tip against the prong until the snap can be removed.

-        Place your fabric upside down under the press (cap side up) or sideways. Press down as if you were applying a snap, and it should fall off.  We have a video showing how to do this with both the snap press and the pliers here.

Whichever method you try, be sure to go slowly so that you don't damage your fabric.

 

 

Maintenance & Storage:

You should lubricate the spring and threads that hold the dies periodically with WD40 or other type of machine oil/lubricant.  If you notice some difficulty in attaching the dies to the press or in removing them, please do not continue to force the dies in as they will eventually get stuck.  At the first sign of difficulty, lubricate the dies as well as the hole in the press where the dies go so that the dies slip in and out smoothly.

You may find it easier on your hands to wrap some fabric or padding around the handle for cushioning.  You can also use foam pipe covers available at your local home improvement store.

 

For easy access to awls and dies, you can use strong magnets to attach them to your press. Or make a simple organizer pad, which will also protect your table and floor.

 

 

 

Troubleshooting:

Problems can be due to user error, improper settings on the press, insufficient fabric (fabric too thin or too thick), or the inappropriately sized snaps being used (length of the prong is too long or too short for your fabric). 

If you are having problems attaching your snaps, in almost all cases the problem can be solved by following these steps.

Please work on scrap fabric!

 

Snaps Secure in Fabric but Not Closing?

Why does this happen? This is the most common problem experienced by users. The flattened ball of the smushed prong sticks up too much and gets in the way when you try to close the 2 sides of your snaps. We have a video which illustrates this problem, which we recommend you watch in addition to reading the rest of this section. 

 

In the image below, the center "ball" created by the prong on the right is high and narrow--you want it flat and wide, as shown on the left. 

 

Possible causes & fixes: 

1- First make sure you have the proper set-up for your press as explained in the instructions above, including checking the vertical screw behind the handle and the overall alignment of the dies.

2- Then make sure you are pressing down hard enough, making sure you see those upper dies bulge out as explained in the instructions above.   To re-press a snap that you have already installed to fabric, place the socket or stud back in the cap die and re-press.  Be sure to re-press both the socket side and the stud side.

3- Your snap may be too long for your fabric, or your fabric too thin for your snap. (This is the cause of most problems.) Most people use size 20 snaps, but in a lot of cases, the prongs on size 20 caps are too long for the thickness of the material you are snapping to.  If your fabric is too thin for the particular length of snap you are using, then the prong will not flatten enough no matter how hard you press. 

NOTE:   If you are using size 20 standard length snaps and only 2 thin layers of material such as PUL, cotton, or a thin fleece, then you may experience a problem of your prong being too long. Not everybody has this problem since it is also dependent on how strong their grip is when squeezing the pliers or or how strong their press is if using a table-top press. 

To test if this is the cause of your problem, cut the very tip off a couple of new caps so that the prong is shroter. Attach a socket and a stud with these shorter caps.  If the snaps close ok, then you know your original problem was due to the fabric being too thin for the lengh of your snap (or vice versa, the snap was too long for the thinness of your fabric).  In that case, you can do 1 of 2 things to correct the problem:

     a) Use caps with shorter prongs.  You can either purchase shorter caps, or just snip off the tip of the prong on the caps you currently have.

      b) Add more layers to your fabric, such as interlacing or fleece, to thicken it up.

"But how can I be having this problem with the press when this combination of fabric works fine when I use my pliers?" You have to keep in mind that although they both perform the same function, they are different tools, built differently and therefore will not work exactly the same.  There are upsides and downsides to each tool.

The dies of the press are more professional and therefore made of a thicker rubber that is stiffer than the rubber die of the pliers.  As a result, it requires more pressure to get the press dies to "squish" properly. Over time, the rubber of the dies may become more pliable once they've been broken in and easier to use.  But this problem is a very common one  experienced by new press users, especially when they are used to the pliers.

A very strong person will be able to apply more pressure with the press than a weaker person. For example, Superman would be able to flatten snaps on certain materials just fine, whereas if Lois Lane tried, the snaps might not flatten enough.  So it's not just about the dies themselves. It's a combination of the dies and how much force is being used to make them bulge out.  You may find it easier to place the press on a lower surface, or to stand on a stool so that you have more leverage when pressing down on the handle and can use more of your body weight which results in a harder press.    But ultimately, if you can't increase the amount of force sufficiently, then the solution is to thicken your fabric or use shorter caps (ex: short-prong caps, sz16 caps with sz20 sockets/studs, etc).

 

Snaps Stopped Closing After Wash/Dry?

Why does this happen? The extreme heat of the dryer and sometimes the hot water in the washer causes the plastic to expand ever so slightly.  The factory recommends heat less than 40 degrees C (about 104 F). If your snaps were attached securely, this won't make a difference.  But if they were on the verge between secure and unsecure, then the tiny bit of expansion caused by the heat will result in your smushed prongs sticking out too much so that they now get in the way when you try to close your snaps.

To fix this, go back and read the Snaps Secure in Fabric but Not Closing? section above.

 

Snaps Falling Off your Fabric?

Why does this happen? The flattened ball of the smushed prong isn't wide enough to hold the socket/stud in place, so that the socket/stud just slips through and falls off.

 

Possible causes: 

1- First make sure you have the proper set-up for your press as explained in the instructions above, including checking the vertical screw behind the handle and the overall alignment of the dies.

2- Then make sure you are pressing down hard enough, making sure you see those upper dies bulge out as explained in the instructions above.   To re-press a snap that you have already installed to fabric, place the socket or stud back in the cap die and re-press.  Be sure to re-press both the socket side and the stud side.

3- Your snap may be too short for your fabric, or your fabric is too thick for your snap.  To determine if this is the case, attach snaps to scrap fabric of a thinner material or fewer layers (like 4-6 layers of  a t-shirt material).  If the snaps stay secure to the thinner material, then you know you need snaps with longer prongs.

4 -  Your snap is too long for your fabric, or your fabric is too thin for your snap.  Refer to step #3 of the Snaps Secure in Fabric but Not Closing section above.

 

Uneven Press?  

The photo below illustrates an extreme case on an uneven press.  When using a professional KAM snap press, your smushed prongs should be completely even.

If your smushed prongs are uneven, then most likely your press is not aligned. Go back and refer to the instructions above regarding proper alignment of the dies.

If you continue to have the same problem after trying these solutions, please send an email describing your problem as specifically as possible to [email protected]  It would also be very helpful if you could include a close-up picture of the socket and stud attached to your fabric.  Remember, we can't see what you are seeing so we rely solely on the information you share with us. 

 

Video Tutorials

We recommend watching the videos in this order.

- Attaching the Handle

- Intro to Resin Plastic Snaps

- Intro to Dies for Plastic Snaps

- How to Attach Plastic Snaps

- Troubleshooting

- How to Remove Plastic Snaps

 

 

Installing Metal Snaps:

The concept behind metal snaps is mostly the same as for plastic snaps.  The cap and post dies (which have a wider base) go in the bottom of the press, while the socket and stud dies go in the top.  Please note that for 4-pc spring-style snaps, the cap installs with the socket and the post installs with the stud. Here are pictures of each part for your reference.  The stud (male) is the part that clicks into the socket (female) when the snap is closed.

You may need to punch a hole in your fabric to poke the prong of the cap/post piece through prior to installing the snaps, especially with thicker fabric.

Note for DK93 presses: Some bottom dies will be shorter than others. To compensate for the shortness, do not screw the top die all the way in so that it hangs down lower.

 

 

Removing Metal Snaps:

Open-Ring Snaps: Anything with a very flat head, such as small sewing or cuticle scissors, can be placed under the ring of the cap (between the ring and the fabric). With a little back and forth leveraging, you can raise part of the ring until it detaches from the socket or stud.  Please refer to the video on Removing Open-Ring Metal Snaps below.

Fashion or Utility Spring Snaps: It is more tricky to remove these types of snaps. The easiest way to do it is to use a drill with a bit that is about as narrow as the prong. Slowly drill against the center of the snap on the underside of the cap until you can pull the pieces apart. Here are some other suggestions we received by our amazing customers:

  • "I would suggest denting the cap in the center, then using a pliers to bend it up to expose the post. Once the post is exposed, use a pincer or a wire cutter to clip the post, or to cut the cap off so the post can be pushed through the fabric."

  • "I use nail nippers, an old pair, to squeeze the socket or stud side. When a prong or two is lifted, I wiggle it off."

  • "I use a small wire cutter ease my way under squeeze the grip kind of like a hammer prying a nail."

 

We have the following instruction videos for metal snaps:

- Intro to Open Ring Metal Snaps

- Intro to Open Ring Dies

- Attaching Open Ring Metal Snaps

- Removing Open Ring Metal Snaps

- Attaching Spring-Style Metal Snaps (this video shows fashion spring snaps being installed, but the same concept applies to utility spring snaps)  Remember that the cap installs with the socket, and the post installs with the stud.  You may need to punch a hole in your fabric to poke the prong of the cap/post piece through prior to installing the snaps, especially with thicker fabric.