What You Need to Know about Hydrographics
Hydrographicsis the process of applying printed designs to 3D objects. Some of the common items that have been imaged through the process includes ATVs, cars, and sports equipment, just to name a few. The process can be utilised on plastic, metal, hard woods, and other materials.
Hydrographics design is permanent. It is as durable as the finish on your car. The final top coat makes the design adhere better to the surface, and at the same time protect it from peeling off. The process takes into account the finish and contours of the surface. The item is prepared with careful detail. There are times when the item must take several dips into the product, and to ensure that the seams are aligned with every dip. The top clear coat will extend the lifespan of the item.
There’s no need to worry about the item losing its sheen or colour over time. Images can withstand high temperatures of up to 300 C, as well as very low temperatures. That’s why outdoor products utilise hydrographics. Whether it is guns, motorcycles, boats, and other objects, hydrographic images can withstand harsh weather day in and day out. The aviation and military industries use this process to ensure their outdoor equipment benefit from durable designs that doesn’t fade or peel off over time.
It is also perfect for home décor products. The items that are processed with hydrographics are shielded from the harsh elements of nature. Their appearance doesn’t change even if the temperature or weather does.
Hydro dipping is another name for hydrographics. It is also known as water transfer printing. It is known as hydro dipping because the process requires the dipping of the item into water. The polyvinyl film that contains the design is placed in a vat of water.
The process begins by placing a hydrographic film that was printed with the image on the surface of a vat of water. Then a chemical is sprayed on the film to activate it and dissolve into liquid form. Then the item to be printed on is dipped into the vat, and through the ink layer, that’s floating in the vat off water. After the item is removed from the water, it is rinsed and dried. Lastly, a clear coat is applied to protect the design.
The design is printed on the hydrographic film that is made of Polyvinyl Alcohol. It is important to use high-quality hydrographic film to ensure the design stays on the item for a long time. The film is sensitive to temperature and moisture. It must be stored properly to ensure long shelf life. If possible, store the films in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. That way you can maintain the quality of the hydrographic films.
Hydrographic film is developed to protect against the UV rays. It contains chemical compounds that provide high levels of protection against ultraviolet rays. It improves the look of the products. When used on vehicles, the print doesn’t degrade even when exposed to sunlight every day. They are often used as hot engine cover or on wheels.
Before the start of the hydrographics process, it is important to treat the item properly. The pre-treatment process involves applying the right primer and base coating to the surface of the item. The quality of the equipment and materials is important in the pre-treatment process. When done right, the adherence and durability of the printed design will be preserved for a long time. It is also important to get high-quality protective coating material in order to get the results that you want.
The best thing about hydrographics is that the patterns stay and stick for a long time. It adheres to all types of materials. The ink from the hydrographic film converts into liquid ink. Then it is transferred to the surface of the item, which triggers a chemical reaction between the ink and surface. And this is when the adhesion begins.
The adhesion keeps improving even after the object was removed from the water, and rinsed to get rid of the residues. When the item is drying out after rinsing it, the durability of the ink begins to increase.
Once the object is dry, a clear coat is applied. It will make sure that the design is resistant to scratches and stays firm. The final coating adds a minimal amount of surface thickness, which is why it is preferred by a lot of industries.
Surfaces that are printed through the hydrographics process can be reprinted. All you need to do is to sand the surface of the object to clean it out and smoothen it. Then you repeat the process again.
These are the things that you need to know about hydrographics. The process usually takes around 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the complexity of the item that is being printed.
This is our latest project, we manufacture our own tanks, and we carry thousands of metres of film with over 250 patterns.
We also manufacture our film activator from our formula too.
Films include Woodgrains, Camo, Carbon fibre, Marble, the list goes on and on. Again you can apply any film to almost any surface within wonderful results.
To apply you first need to prepare your piece for dipping. A coating of paint is applied, depending on what finish you want will depend on the colour of the basecoat.
First you choose your film, then cut to size, it is then placed on top of the pre heated water in the tank and left to hydrate for approximately 1 minute. After that our activator is sprayed over the film. This melts the film but leaves the print floating on the surface, you then dip your part through the film and then once rinsed with water to remove any unwanted film You can dry it and the lacquer it. Contact Us for further information in the contact box on the right for further information