Troubleshooting Common KAM Snap Problems

Please be sure to watch the instructional videos first. If you still have problems, the following troubleshooting tips may help.


1a. Snaps Not Closing (Shortening the Prong)

1b. Snaps Not Closing (Increasing Fabric Thickness)

 

2. Snaps Stopped Closing After Wash/Dry
The factory recommends heat less than about 104 F / 40 C. The heat from your dryer may cause the plastic to expand ever so slightly.  If your snaps were attached securely, this won't make a difference. But if they were on the brink of being unsecure, then the tiny bit of expansion will result in your flattened prongs sticking out too much so that they now get in the way when you try to close your snaps. Refer to Tip #1 (Snaps Not Closing).

 

3. Snaps Falling Off Fabric

 

4. Snaps are Cracking
This happens when the cap does not sit properly within the cap (bottom) die.  First, check that you are using the correct cap die.  When placing the cap on the bottom die, the cap should sit completely inside the inner cup of the die. Cracking can happen if any part of the cap is resting on the raised outer edge of the die. Refer back to the instructional videos to ensure you are using the correct die and setting the cap on the die properly.

Snaps can also crack if you apply way too much pressure, particularly if you are using pliers or no-change dies.

 

5. Snaps are Uneven
If you are using basic K1/K2 pliers, a slightly uneven press is normal but should not affect the functionality of the snap. Tightening all 3 metal screws may help. These screws should be checked and tightened periodically.  

When installing a snap, hold the pliers so that the bottom rests on a table. Then press the top handle down.  Like this. This helps to eliminate side-to-side motion and better ensures a flat press (not to mention it's easier on your hands and wrist).

If your flattened prongs are severely uneven, try "resetting" the pliers by taking apart the bottom black cap die tray and the top metal shank and then putting the pieces back together.

If you are installing size 20 snaps, K1 model pliers will tend to have a more uneven press compared to the K2 model (which is why we recommend the K2 for size 20 snaps).  You can look up your tool model here.

6. Snaps are Hard to Open
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 (like jersey) with a sturdier material (like twill or fleece) to avoid ripping over time. Size 16 plastic snaps have a slightly gentler grip compared to the more popular size 20 if you are working with these types of fabric and want something a little less tight. Snapping and unsnapping several times may help loosen the snaps a bit. Another suggestion is to use a tiny drop of Tri Flo Teflon lubricant on a q-tip to swab the interior sides of the snaps.

 

7. Fabric is Tearing
Fabric will tear if it is delicate, thin, or stretchy, like jersey. To prevent ripping, reinforce your fabric with a sturdier material, such as twill, around the snaps.

If you are using size 20 plastic snaps on such material, try size 16 plastic snaps instead, which have a slightly gentler grip. Reinforcement may still be necessary.

8. Pliers are Crushing Snaps
This happens when the inappropriate black cap die tray or top metal shank are used. Refer to the video instructions to ensure you have the correct parts in your pliers for the particular snap you are using. Note that instructions may differ depending on the pliers model and snap size. For example, installing size 16 plastic snaps with K1 pliers is a totally different process than installing them with K2 pliers. (K2 pliers are not recommended for size 16 or smaller snaps.)

9. Tool No Longer Applies Enough Pressure
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 or your newly installed snaps won't close, it may be time to replace some of the parts. Just like any mechanical tool, parts may wear out over time.

Basic K1/K2 Pliers: The tension spring, rubber head, and cap die will wear down the most with continued use. If any of the metal screws are significantly loose, those should be replaced as well. Parts are available for K1 or K2 pliers.

Table Press: Any rubber or springs on the dies will lose their elasticity with continued use, so dies will need to be replaced periodically. Dies are available here.

10. Squeezing Pliers Hurts Hand
A mounting base for your basic K1 / K2 pliers can help to reduce hand and wrist strain.  Or simply hold the pliers so that the bottom rests on a table. Then press the top handle down.  Like this. This also helps to eliminate side-to-side motion and better ensures a flat press.

11. Table Press Dies Don't Bulge Out
A) If you've just started using your press, first make sure the vertical screw behind the handle is low enough so it's not getting in the way when you press down on the handle.  If your handle hits the screw, then the screw is too high and needs to be adjusted lower, or even removed.  (The screw is to prevent too much pressure from being applied, but for most users, this isn't an issue.)
Adjust Screw in KAM Snaps Press

B) Unscrew the top die enough so that it sits lower in the press but is still stable. This will provide a deeper reach and result in a firmer press. (Your top die may look different than the one in the picture.)
How to Apply More Pressure with KAM Snaps Press

C) If you're using a table press with the 3-piece professional-grade dies to install plastic snaps and you've watched the video tutorial, you know that the top rubber dies should bulge out to ensure an adequate press, like this: KAM Snaps Press with Bulging Die
D) If you're new to the table press and can't apply enough pressure for the rubber dies to bulge, you may need to place the press on a lower surface, or stand on a stool, until you become more familiar with the machine.  The press should be low enough so that your elbow can *fully* straighten out when you press down.  This allows you to lean into the press and use your body weight to apply pressure.  The rubber will be become less stiff with use.

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