Troubleshooting Snap Problems
If you've read the instructions and watched the videos on how to install your plastic KAM snaps but still have problems, the following troubleshooting tips should help.
- Troubleshooting Snap Problems
Why does this happen? Take a loose socket and a loose stud (ie. pieces not attached to fabric yet) and snap them closed. You will find they will snap firmly together. Yet once they are attached in your fabric, you find they no longer close. Why?
Consider how a snap is held in place in your fabric. The prong needle of the cap/pin piece gets flattened out and creates a pancake-like barrier over the center hole in the socket or stud piece. If the prong isn't flattened sufficiently, then it will stick up too much and will get in the way when you try to close the 2 sides of your snaps.
Solution: Your snap is too long for your fabric, or your fabric is too thin for your snap. Snaps are not one-size-fits-all. 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. Try cutting the tips off the prongs to shorten them. (Alternatively, you can also add more layers to your fabric.)
We have a video which illustrates this problem. The video shows thicker fabric being used to solve the problem but the same result can be achieved by using shorter snaps.
Why does this happen? The extreme heat of the dryer causes the plastic to expand ever so slightly. The factory recommends heat less than 40 degrees Celcius (about 104 Fahrenheit). 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 dryer 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.
Solution: Re-press the snap, making you are using enough pressure. Going forward, consider using shorter snaps as explained in the Snaps Not Closing section above.
*** Re-pressing with pliers: To re-press a snap that you have already installed to fabric using pliers, first remove the rubber tip on the top metal bolt of your pliers. Then re-press the snap so that the metal bolt connects directly against the prong, as shown in the picture to the right. This will allow more force against the prong and will help to flatten it more. Be sure to re-press both the socket side and the stud side. IMPORTANT: It's ok to remove the rubber tip to RE-PRESS, but the initial snap installation should always be done with the rubber tip in place, otherwise the prong will not pancake outward properly.
A DIY method to help increase the pressure of the pliers is to add a small washer ring, similar to the one pictured to the right, between the rubber tip and the metal bolt. You can find these at any home improvement store.
You can try using the larger metal bolt for size 20 sockets. This will provide a flatter, more even press. You can re-press the snap as explained above with the larger bolt. (Note: some have reported success using the larger bolt for size 20 sockets AND studs, while others have said the larger bolt crushes the studs. You can experiment on scrap fabric).
*** Re-pressing with table press: First, 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.
Place the socket or stud back in the top die.
When pressing down, 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.
Snaps falling off your fabric?
Why does this happen? Consider how a snap is held in place in your fabric. The prong needle of the cap/pin piece gets flattened out and creates a pancake-like barrier over the hole in the socket or stud piece. Without that pancake barrier properly covering the hole in the socket or stud piece, the pancake would just slip back through the hole and your snap would fall apart.
When snaps fall off, that means the pancake barrier isn't wide enough to hold the socket or stud in place, so the socket/stud just slips through and falls off.
Solution: Your snap is 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. If the snaps stay secure to the thinner material, then you know you need snaps with longer prongs.
*** Pliers: Most pliers will have an uneven press to some small extent. Unless this unevenness prevents your snaps from closing properly, it is considered a cosmetic issue. The photo below illustrates an extreme case.
To completely eliminate this problem for all eternity, you would need to invest in a professional table-top press with corresponding dies. Otherwise, to better minimize the uneven press with your pliers, :
1. tighten all 3 metal screws so there is less side-to-side motion. These screws should be checked and tightened periodically. A few people have found it helpful to replace the screws completely with tighter ones.
2. when using size 20 sockets or size 22 or larger sockets/studs, try switching to the larger metal shank. Do not use the large shank for size 20 studs or smaller snaps as it will crush your snap. (Added: some users have stated they've had success using the large bolt for size 20 studs as well, so you can test that on scrap fabric).
*** Table press: If using the DK98 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.
Please contact us with your order # for assistance if you have tried the above and are still having this problem consistently. It would help if you include photos showing examples of the uneven press.
Snaps are Breaking
Check that you are using the correct cap die. Snaps will crack if you are using a die that is too small. Use the cap die that exactly fits your plastic cap. The cap should sit completely and comfortably inside the inner cup of the die. If any part of the cap is resting on the raised outer edge of the die, then that die is too small and your snaps may crack.
Please contact us with your order # for assistance if you are sure you have the correct die and are still having this problem consistently because you may need a replacement part.
Pliers/Press No Longer Squeeze Hard Enough
If you've been using your pliers or table press for a while with good results, then one day they just don't seem to work as well, it may be time to replace some of the parts. Just like any mechanical tool, parts may wear out over time.
***Pliers: The tension spring and the rubber head in particular will eventually lose their "springy-ness" after continued use, though other parts can also wear down. Parts are available here.
***Table Press: The rubber and/or springs in the top dies will eventually lose their "springy-ness" over time and will need to be replaced. Dies are available here.
Snaps are Really Tight
KAM plastic snaps are industrial grade, which means they have a very strong, secure grip. For this reason, it is always recommended that you reinforce any thin, delicate or stretchy fabric with a sturdier material to avoid ripping over time. Size 16 plastic snaps have a slightly gentler grip if you want something a little less tight.
One tip offered by a fellow KAMsnapper is to snap and unsnap the snap several times to help loosen it just a tad. Another suggested using a tiny drop of Tri Flo Teflon lubricant on a q-tip to swab the interior sides of the snaps.