What is Hydrographic Printing?
Hydrographic printing (also called water transformation printing, or hydro dipping) is a method of applying a printed design to a 3-dimensional object.
Why do it?
Unique – we set you up to have a sick looking design so you stand out in the crowd!
Affordable – air brush quality, without the high price tag.
Durable – won’t rip or tear like a vinyl wrap does.
A water soluble film is placed on top of warm water in a dip tank. The film floats on the surface of the water for a minute, allowing it to become fluid and lose its “papery” feel. Then, a chemical activator is sprayed over the film which turns it into a liquid adhesive. Once the film starts dissolving, the part is slowly dipped into the water, allowing the design to adhere to the part.
How do we do it?
When parts arrive at our shop, the first step is to prep the part for primer and paint. All oil and debris must be removed, which is done in our parts cleaning tank. The parts are then moved to the sanding table to remove old paint. Once the parts have been thoroughly sanded, they are transferred to the paint booth where they receive primer and base coat.
After the parts are painted and have dried overnight, a film is chosen. The film must be cut large enough to coat the entire surface of the part, but not cut too large that material is wasted. Many films are transparent, which allows the color of the paint to show through the design, giving the part a unique look when completed.
After the film is cut to the desired size, it is placed into the dip tank for a minute. The water in the tank is at a set temperature, which activates the chemical agents in the film, making it flexible, but still solid. After the minute, a chemical activator is sprayed on the film, which dissolves it into a liquid, and also makes the film adhesive. When the film starts to liquefy, the part is slowly dipped into the water, allowing the design to cover the entire surface of the part.
After the part is dipped, it is carefully placed into a rinse tank for about 5 minutes. This is to clean off the excess activator and stray pieces of film. The part is then left to dry completely overnight.
Once the part is dry, it goes back into the paint booth for clear coat. When the clear coat dries, the part is ready to go!
Have a question or concern? Reach out directly to us through our Contact Us page.