Hooping jig (Image courtesy Erich Campbell)

Quick Tip: Hooping Stations

Erich has more than 18 years experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry. Find more information on Erich and his publications here.

In my early days as an operator, I hooped every garment on a flat table positioning with templates and measurements. Then, later, by feel when my hands were more practiced. The first method wasn’t quick, and the second wasn’t precise, meaning neither achieved the best result in the fastest time. Switching to uniform, adjustable hooping stations gives you a measured, repeatable, and easy-to-record placement for each logo/garment combination without the extra time spent measuring or second-guessing your intuition. When using magnetic hoops, stations and fixtures are critical.

Alternatives to traditional hooping, like machine-mounted mechanical or pneumatic clamping systems, can save immense amounts of time for those whose product lines revolve around compatible items. Moreover, for certain hard-to-hoop items like belts, name tapes, or patch blanks, specific clamping fixtures and frames may provide the most straightforward method for achieving even pressure and proper alignment on the pantograph as compared to using conventional hoops. They may even allow you to easily place and stitch multiple pieces in a single hooping/setup.