🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur.
A rosin press is the primary piece of equipment that extractors use to make rosin. There are multiple types of presses, but every press incorporates a set of rosin pressing plates which apply heat and pressure onto the cannabis starting material. The pressing plates can be installed onto a regular hydraulic shop press which provides the necessary pressure for extraction, and temperature is set through a digital heat controller. Heating rods are inserted into the center of the plates which heat the aluminum to the temperatures needed for pressing rosin.
We put together a list of our top 5 rosin pressing plate tips, that apply to both caged and uncaged rosin press plates.
#1 Use Digital Laser Thermometers with a Piece of Masking Tape
Although high quality rosin pressing plates are designed for reliability and accuracy, it’s a good idea to double check the actual temperature at the aluminum plates after setting the digital heat controller. Wait a few minutes until the plates have heated up to the level set on the controller box, then verify the temperature at the plates using a digital laser thermometer.
Digital laser thermometers utilize infrared technology to measure surface area temperature. The shiny aluminum surface of rosin press plates can diffuse this infrared light, however, leading to an inaccurate reading. The work around here is a piece of masking tape placed on the outer edge of both plates. Aim the laser at the tape when you take the temperature reading, which will prevent the diffusion of the light and thereby offer more accurate results.
#2 Use Insulators under the Bottom and Top Press Plates
Rosin press plate insulators are thin pieces of material that act as barriers between the surface of the press plates and the press itself. Insulators minimize the transfer of heat from the plates and into the steel press. Shop presses are massive heat sinks, which are capable of pulling in heat from the plates and impacting temperature control during extraction.
Leather, pieces of wood, and fiberglass are kinds of material you can use as insulators. However, the easiest and most dependable insulators are those specifically made for rosin press plates, like these from The Press Club.
Be sure to use an insulator at both the top and bottom press plates to reduce heat dissipation during extraction.
#3 Choose the Right Size Rosin Bags to Use with Your Rosin Press Plates
Choosing the right size rosin bags for your rosin press plates improves your results by optimizing even heat distribution throughout the starting material. Rosin bags that are too big for the plates put the starting material too close to the edges of the plate, where temperature is slightly lower than directly in the center of the plates. Even though it might be just a few degrees, it can make a difference.
Using rosin bags that are too small creates too much space between the starting material and the edges of the press plates, so there is extra distance for the rosin to travel during extraction. This inefficiency equates to needless time for the rosin to spend at the heat source rather than quickly flowing out onto the parchment paper.
As a rule of thumb, use rosin filter bags with dimensions that allow for a .5-1 inch clearance between the edges of the bag and the edges of the press plates. For example, 2x4 inch rosin bags would be a good fit for 3x5 inch rosin press plates.
Learn more in our article Choosing The Right Size Rosin Bags for Your Rosin Press Plates.
#4 Wipe Down Rosin Plates with Isopropyl Alcohol for Cleaning
However careful extractors may be with pressing and collecting rosin, sometimes rosin can inadvertently get onto the press plates. After the rosin cooks onto the press plates it can be difficult to clean, but isopropyl alcohol normally does the trick. Don’t use any type of abrasive scrubber while cleaning, as this can damage the finish of your plates.
Use the smallest amount of alcohol that’s needed to remove rosin, and make sure to wipe any residual alcohol away with a clean towel.
#5 Periodically Take Apart Components of the Press Plates
Another good practice for long term maintenance of your press plates is to take them apart and wipe down all components with a slightly moist towel and clean water. Disassemble the plates by removing the heating rods and unscrewing the insulators, then clean the edges and crevices between components. This yearly maintenance ensures all components are clean and properly functioning.
One advantage to building your own rosin press is that it gives you convenient access to all components and is easy to maintain. Learn more in our article How To Build Your Own Rosin Press.
High quality rosin press plates like these from The Press Club are a valuable investment in your rosin operation. Dependable plates are worth their weight in rosin, so it’s important to use them and maintain them correctly. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll get the most out of your investment.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can you clean rosin press plates?
You can clean off any rosin that gets onto your press plates using a small amount of isopropyl alcohol and a soft towel or sponge. Don’t use an abrasive material when cleaning the plates as this might scratch the finish.
What is a digital heat controller for rosin press plates?
The digital heat controller is the component of a rosin press plate kit that allows the extractor to adjust the temperature at the plates during extraction.
What are heating rods for rosin press plates?
Heating rods deliver heat to rosin plates from the heat controller box. Wires from the heat controller connect to the heating rods which are inserted into the core of the plates.
What is the best material for insulators for rosin press plates?
Leather, wood, and fiberglass are all good materials to use as rosin press plate insulators. These pre-cut insulators from The Press Club are made specifically for rosin press plates.
How do you find the right size rosin bags to match your rosin press plates?
A good rule of thumb is to allow for .5-1 inch of clearance between the edges of your rosin filter bags and the edges of the rosin press plates. For example, 2x4 inch rosin bags would be a good fit for 3x5 inch rosin press plates.