Introduction: Screen Print Shop Part 2: Create Platens/Pallets for Screen Printing on the ShopBot

Picture of Screen Print Shop Part 2: Create Platens/Pallets for Screen Printing on the ShopBot

My previous instructable dealt with creating frames using a ShopBot and tablesaw (or other router of choice). Today we'll be creating platens on the ShopBot. This is considerably easier and faster and will cost you about the same amount.

ShopBot with a 4'x8' bed or larger and associated tooling
Cordless drill and wood screws (for hold downs)

4'x8' sheet of 3/4" melamine board (as of writing this, sold at Home Depot but not Lowes (its actually 49'x97'))

The melamine board is usually pressed chipboard with a hard and flat plastic surface, usually comes in white and sometimes black. Its the same stuff that is used to make the sort of cheap furniture that falls apart if you ever try to move it (and yes, you could use that falling apart shelf or entertainment stand to make platens!)

A platen is a hard waterproof and flat surface that is slid into or behind the object to be printed. It is usually coated with a spray on tacky repositionable adhesive. When fabric is positioned on the platen it becomes hard, immobile, and rigid. This allows the printing to have even pressure across the surface (and thus result in good ink transfer) and keeps the shirt immobile for multicolor printing.

Step 1: Make or Acquire ShopBot File

Picture of Make or Acquire ShopBot File

Make your own ShopBot file or download the one provided. As I still can't figure out how to upload files other than images I will refer you to my google drive.

General sizes of platens:
Infant: 10"x10"
Small: 14"x14"
Large: 16"x16"
Jumbo: 18"x18"

You can stretch out platens to make them longer and add necks.
Also included are single and double sleeves and some small squares for printing cards and game pieces.

Step 2: Acquire Melamine Board and Shopbot!

Picture of Acquire Melamine Board and Shopbot!

Melamine board is finicky, if you try to saw it the melamine can often chip causing ragged edges. A good way to cut it is with a 1/4" carbide end mill. It just so happens the ShopBot is a router!

As of publication 49" x 97" x 3/4" melamine board can be purchased from Home Depot, but not Lowes. Cost is approximately $38.

In my pictures I am using a 15" wide shelf, this is because I was in a hurry and there is no Home Depot locally to me. It all cuts the same.

Throw it up on the ShopBot, download my attached file and create your toolpaths and cut! Simple as that. A tip with the chip board - its sawdust is very fine and loose, using a compression bit to create a sawdust hold down doesn't work. Use extra large tabs and sand them off!

Step 3: Finish!

Picture of Finish!

If you used tabs then all you need to do is sand the edges down so that the shirts won't catch on them.

You can use your platens as is or mount them to holders for use in a press. Each press is different and when I make my "Make a press" instructable I will detail how to do this.

BTW, I made it at TechShop (


mexicanic (author)2016-01-07

I convert the file to EPS. Download from here:

tbuayam (author)2014-01-13

Thank you for your kindness.

Would you mind if I asking for another file type such as *.esp for my Illustrator.

Please send to me via, Thanks a lot.

KaiLBuskirk (author)tbuayam2015-04-09

did you get an ai file for the pallet templates?

Please post a link or email to

Share Share Share!

strada570 (author)2014-03-25

Thanks for the file but I dont have vcarve, can you send me the files

-silk screen platen.crv

-silkscreen frames.crv

for illustrator (.AI) pleeeeease?

Thanks for your help

KaiLBuskirk (author)strada5702015-04-09

did you get an ai file for the pallet templates?

Please post a link or email to

Share Share Share!

KaiLBuskirk (author)2015-02-28

Vector PDF?


id luv to cut these...


TangibleImagination (author)2014-10-14

Dear lord... I pay Ryonet forty bucks a piece for platens like that... Well, full-on MDF though, not particle board...but still... Wow. Very nice!

Of course, not everyone has an $12,000+ ShopBot. ;(

jvega15 (author)2014-09-21

can you send the file to my email

yourmichelle made it! (author)2014-09-04

After opening the crv file with a trial version of some cnc software, I used print screen to bring the image into photoshop. Then I resized it for kid and adult sized platens and printed it out (the small one on 2 pieces of paper & the large one on 4), attached the printouts to some scrap wood with spray adhesive, and cut it with a jigsaw. You can resize the attached image for your own use, although in this orientation, the height of the image will end up being the width of your finished platen.

agguilar (author)2014-08-13

Thanks for the file and this great tutorial i will be making some thanks !!!!

notingkool (author)2013-04-06

Awesome plates. Do you use something to prevent the t-shirt to moves on the plate?

agguilar (author)notingkool2014-08-13

hi to prevent the t shirt from moving you can use regular white glue(liquid one) and spread it wit a credit card and then use a hair drier just to let it dry so that it is tacky to the touch, or you can buy screen printing glue it comes in a spray can. hope it helps you.

rmaresjr (author)2014-02-24

I'm having the same problem with the google docs.

DivaB (author)2014-02-23

Nice instructable! I couldn't get the google docs to come up though.

sekohone (author)2013-11-02

Can you please email me the file to

gordondesigns (author)2013-08-16


could you send me the file for this in a .DWF file type so it can be cut out on a router please please.

gordondesigns (author)2013-08-12

Hi, can you e-mail me the file for the pallets so I can cut them out on a como router thanks,

scottiblasto (author)2013-07-28 if you can email me fortuna!

scottiblasto (author)2013-07-28

Or how to contact a user via email on here?

scottiblasto (author)2013-07-28

Does anyone know where to get the cut file for this? Nothing in the ad works.

About This Instructable



More by Fortuna Wolf:Screen Print Shop Part 2: Create Platens/Pallets for screen printing on the ShopBotScreen Print Shop Part 1: ShopBot Silk Screen Printing Frames
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