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




Introduction: 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

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!

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!

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 (



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19 Discussions

I convert the file to EPS. Download from here:

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.

1 reply

did you get an ai file for the pallet templates?

Please post a link or email to

Share Share Share!

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

1 reply

did you get an ai file for the pallet templates?

Please post a link or email to

Share Share Share!

Vector PDF?


id luv to cut these...


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. ;(

can you send the file to my email

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

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.

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

Can you please email me the file to


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

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

Or how to contact a user via email on here?

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