Check Out All the Things That Can Be Hydro Dipped When you want to customize things you use every day or some of your favorite items, hydro dipping is a smart choice. This process allows you to turn an ordinary item, such as a coffee cup or hard hat, into something that shows off your style and personality. If you’ve been wondering what can be hydro dipped, you might be surprised to learn about the long list of things that qualify. Read on to learn about what can be hydro dipped and get ready to start creating one-of-a-kind items. How Hydrographics Work Hydro graphics, water printing, immersion printing, and hydro dipping all refer to the same process. You place the film in a tub of water and apply a chemical activator. As you slowly dip the item into the water, the film adheres to it. A unique feature of hydro dipping is that it offers 360-degree coverage. The printed film gets into the curves, crevices, and corners of the product you’re dipping. This results in total coverage of the item’s three-dimensional surfaces. The process doesn’t take long. It’s also permanent, so the design won’t rub, wash or flake off once a proper top coat is applied. The newly-printed item won’t fade, peel or crack if exposed to sunlight, water, or wind. Vehicles and Parts One of the top categories of items that people use for hydro dipping is automotive parts. You can dip your engine cover, spoilers, wheels, or any other interior or exterior part of your car, truck, van, SUV, ATV, snowmobile, or other types of vehicles. Plastic and metal parts can be dipped. Personal Items The things you use every day for hygiene and self-care can also be hydro dipped. You could use the process on your cell phone case, hairdryer or razor. Game controllers, clothes hangers, and refillable lotion or soap bottles can be hydro dipped. Customize Your Items If an item can be painted, it can be hydro dipped. There are specialty paints for, plastic, metal, ceramic, and other materials. With hydro dipping, the same film will work on any product that you want to customize. This makes the hydro dipping process simpler and easier to do.
Aerosol Activators vs. Paint Gun Activators If you’re going to be doing painting, you may be wondering if you should choose an aerosol activator or a paint gun activator. Each type of equipment can be preferable in certain situations. Here’s what you need to know about each type of activator to determine which one is the most appropriate one for you. Aerosol Activators Aerosol activators make it possible to spray the activator without using a paint gun. They’re designed so you can spray the activator right out of the can. Here’s what you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of them. Advantages of Aerosol Activators If you’re looking for an activator that you do not need to spend a lot of money on a spray gun, an aerosol activator is likely to be best for you. In addition, you will not need an air compressor to use it, and they’re exceptionally easy to put away. Aerosols are ideal for small jobs and those starting out that want to give it a try without a huge initial investment. Disadvantages of Aerosol Activators • Difficult time getting consistent coverage when sprayed • Not ideal for professional use • Inconsistency between passes • Longer to complete jobs Paint Gun Activators Paint gun activators are typically used by professionals and individuals who frequently paint for their hobbies. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of these products. Advantages of Paint Gun Activators Paint gun activators tend to be much more cost-effective than aerosol activators in the long run, and they can allow you to complete jobs more quickly. That’s because each pass is able to cover a larger surface area. While aerosol activators only are able to paint a swath that’s around 2 inches or so per pass, paint gun activators can cover 10-12 inches per pass! Paint Guns also give you more accurate atomization with each pass ensuring that your film is activated correctly resulting in a better end result. Disadvantages of Paint Gun Activators Unfortunately, the higher initial start-up costs can make them cost-prohibitive for some home and business owners, but the fact that they are most cost-effective over time does largely compensate for this. In many cases, paint gun activators tend to be longer-lasting, which also improves their cost-effectiveness.
Equipment You Need To Do Hydrographics at Home Hydrographics is a process that has been used in the printing industries for years. It involves transferring intricate patterns onto three-dimensional surfaces. Some of the surfaces include glass, metal, plastic, and wood. The process of hydro dipping requires hydrographic equipment to succeed. Below are some of the supplies you need to do hydro dipping at home. Hydrographic Tanks Hydrographic tanks yield the best results for your hydro dipping process. They are available in different types, which include stainless steel tanks, plastic tanks, and fiberglass tanks. The stainless steel hydro dip tank is the most commonly used and offers the best longevity. Most hydro dip tanks include a timer, adjustable temperature controls, an industrial heater, pump, and a film-divider system. They also come in a variety of sizes, from small-sized tanks to production-level tanks. Kick start your hydrographic process with an excellent hydro dip tank. Hydrographic Printing Films Hydrographic films are used for many different applications, from helmets to guns and cups. You can customize your objects’ surface with beautifully designed hydro films of your choice. Hydro dip films offer different design prints, including abstract designs, camo, wood grain prints, animal prints, and many others. There are also great texture prints with trendy designs like skulls and carbon fiber-patterned dip film. If you can’t find the print you have in mind, our team can customize the design that best suits you. Always try to ensure you have high-quality hydrographic dipping film for your dipping project. Paint and Activators A hydrographic activator is used for activating hydrographic films. It liquidizes the film easily and produces good wrapping abilities and rinse abilities. A hydrographic activator requires a single application at low pressure. It, therefore, uses less product, ensures minimal film distortion, and produces good dipping results. Paint is essential to the hydrographic process. There are several ready to spray hydrographic paints on the market. Some of these will allow for no adhesion promoter or primer to be applied as well. Automotive paints can also be used for a desired base color but will need primer and adhesion promoter depending upon the part it is being applied to. Hydro Dip Kits A hydro dip kit is perfect for beginners. The kit includes a hydrographic activator, speed shapes for testing, samples films for testing, and a spray gun system to be used for your top coat or base paint if needed. With a beginner or professional setup you will always need to wear protective wear as these chemicals can be dangerous to your health. It is recommended to wear a respirator as well as latex gloves during the dipping process. Working reliable hydrographic equipment is necessary for your hydro dip process to be a success. Whether you are just getting started or already in business, ensure you get the procedure’s best supplies. The equipment stated will move your hydrographic skills to the next level. Call us to purchase any of the equipment you need.
Choosing Between Solvent and Water-Based Cleaners While you should clean your different surfaces on a regular basis, you need to use a special type of cleaner if you plan to add a new layer or deep clean it. For example, if you want a new coat of paint on your wooden bench, then you should use solvent or water-based cleaners to remove wax and grease. If you don’t know which one you should use, we have advice for you. Why Use Oil and Wax Cleaners? Oil and wax cleaners are special types of cleaners. You can use standard soap or other types of cleaners to easily clean them. However, oil and wax cleaners are used to remove natural oil from hands, wax and other thin layers that you may overlook. In short, they allow you to deep clean various surfaces. You can use these cleaners on the surfaces that you plan to paint, shine or spruce up. These oil and wax cleaners will remove those hard to clean layers so you can properly put a new layer on the surface without much issue. Otherwise, the paint, finish or anything else will get stuck on the oil or wax instead of the surface. Solvent and water-based cleaners are the most common types for oil and wax removers. Each serves a purpose that you should keep in mind. Solvents are stronger chemicals that will do a better job of removing the grime, wax or anything else from a surface. This makes solvents great if you want to deep clean stronger surfaces. Solvent vs. Water-Based Cleaners Solvent and water-based cleaners are the most common types for oil and wax removers. Each serves a purpose that you should keep in mind. Solvents are stronger chemicals that will do a better job of removing the grime, wax or anything else from a surface. This makes solvents great if you want to deep clean stronger surfaces. However, it can remove paint, other finishes and it can damage some delicate surfaces. So if your surface is made out of wood or you’re worried about the paint getting damaged, then you can use a water-based cleaner to remove oils and other residue while protecting those surfaces. It comes down to figuring out how strong you want the cleaner to be and if you need to be mindful of damaging the surface. If you just want to clean it, then the solvent is a great option. However, the water-based cleaner works if you are worried about damaging the paint or the surface. Picking the Right Type of Cleaner It comes down to figuring out how strong you want the cleaner to be and if you need to be mindful of damaging the surface. If you just want to clean it, then the solvent is a great option. However, the water-based cleaner works if you are worried about damaging the paint or the surface. Keep in mind that both cleansers are strong, so you may not want to apply them directly onto the surface. Instead, you can put them on a rag. If you prefer, you can also use a special spray bottle designed for cleaners. This allows you to spray on only a little bit. Each of these cleaners exist to remove natural oils, wax or other types of grime from surfaces. This means you can use each of these cleaners on surfaces with oils on them. Make sure to review their purposes so you can pick the right cleaner for your needs.
Washing Parts Properly Ensures Hydro Dipping Success The process of hydro dipping parts can be complicated. It takes practice and experience to master the craft, allowing you to make beautifully printed images on nearly every imaginable surface. Water transfer printing is relatively tricky at first. However, after a few runs, it becomes more straightforward. One step of the process that’s crucial for getting a beautiful finish is dipping the parts correctly. There are a few tips worthy of consideration to ensure a uniform application. Proper Washing Ensures a Long-Lasting Finish The primary reason to wash each part thoroughly after dipping is to ensure the topcoat stays neatly and permanently adheres to the surface. That simple trick will make the final product quality much better. The water pressure matters, but an even more crucial factor is the volume of water. Most people wash the most significant pieces with a hose, but more advanced printers will use a washing station for water transfer printing. That is a unit specifically geared towards solving the problem and allows you to water the parts using a 360-degree angle. Streamline the Process Streamlining production like this will save a ton of time while simultaneously reducing all labor costs. Washing for at least five minutes is the bare minimum recommended time. After that time passes, printers remove any existing excess PVA and all extra ink. When they do that, they can move on to the final stages of the hydro dipping. As with other procedures during hydrographic printing, it pays to move smoothly and slowly. Don’t rush any part of the process, because it will harm the final finish. Nobody is an expert the first time they do this type of project, so it’s usually a good idea to start small. That way, you won’t waste too many materials or cost yourself too much in time or effort. Fortunately, self-education is possible because there are many learning resources online. It’s also equally important to dry your parts correctly. Most printers will wash them manually as thoroughly as possible. Others use the automated wash station, which also functions as a drier. Some people set up a dedicated drying room. That is an area where dry air circulates and dries out the piece slowly. Dry Parts the Right Way for a Beautiful Finish Either way, what matters most is that the piece is bone dry before moving on. For printers who do this type of work consistently, an infrared curing system is also an option. After drying, it’s time to look for any imperfections. If you find them, you can do any needed touch ups on the part or you can always start fresh with a new dip if the print is beyond repair. Inspecting throughout all stages ensures that only the highest quality pieces exist. It’s up to you to decide on the quality control to ensure that you always get the best overall outcome. Hydro dipped parts look fantastic, and as long as the steps taken are perfected, the finish is very durable. With the proper techniques and attention to detail, genuinely outstanding finishes are the result.
Learn the Basics of Hydro Dipping Hydrographics, commonly called hydro dipping, is a method for applying a pre-printed design on a three-dimensional surface. The printing process works on plastic, hardwood, metal, and a variety of other materials. Although you can perform hydro dipping on almost every surface, it’s worth considering that the process is very wet. You may, for instance, damage electronics if you use this process. Despite this essential warning, almost any hard surface is a candidate for placing a unique design on it. Is Hydro Dipping Permanent? Hydro dipping is a durable finish similar to the paint on a car. That makes it a viable solution for work that you want to last for a long time. No matter what surface you’re working on, this method will not only be a tough finish but beautiful when completed. Prep Things the Right Way Prep work is the first step towards completing your hydro dipping project. It’s crucial to keep the surface clean and free of debris or any material that causes an interruption. If you plan on hydro dipping objects, you need to use the right materials. Start with an automotive primer, then apply 1-3 coats of automotive base paint and then when that is dry, you can now dip the part. Fill up any plastic container about 75% of the way with water. When it’s time to lay the film onto the water, you must put the proper side of the film facedown. The simplest way to do that is to use a wet thumb and finger to grab one of the film’s corners. after a few seconds let go, and you’ll find that it sticks to one of them. The side that’s holding is the one that you put facedown on the water. After you lay the film on the water, let it sit for 1 min. and then spray the activator on the film. Look Out for Air Bubbles At this stage, pay careful attention to see if there are any air bubbles. Any bubble that is under the film’s surface will distort the final design. If you do find one, blow on it gently to get it to move out of the way. You may have to poke or press one if it resists. It’s smart to be a bit patient and thorough as you go through the process. That way, you’ll ensure less overall blemishes in the final product. The last few stages involve spraying activator, dipping, and rinsing. Slowly Dip Until Things Look Fantastic You will want to dip your object in and out of the water slowly. The design ends up on the item with ink from a PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) film. The water-soluble film absorbs moisture. As that happens, the ink and film both soften and the design becomes more pliable. Depending on how things look, some people also decide to add a candy to spruce up the display. It might take trying something a few times to achieve your perfect look. Nobody is an expert the first time they try hydro dipping. With enough practice, it’s possible to make out of this world designs that get attention!
Learn How to Do Water Transfer Printing at Home Water transfer printing is a fantastic process that’s gaining in popularity. Fortunately, it’s a technique that is doable at home for people. There’s no reason to leave it to others, provided you have the right tools and a bit of knowledge. Select the Film The first step is to choose the film you want for the application. The key is picking a print that will have a dramatic visual appeal. Once you have the one you plan on using, you can move on to the other steps. Apply the Base Coat The base coat is critical for the project’s success. The one you select will depend on the base surface. For example, if using wood grain, a tan or beige base coat is the best one to pick. If you’re using a carbon fiber print, you will use gray or silver instead. Pick a paint with a specialized formulation for Hydrographic printing. Patterns look very different depending on the base coat so don’t neglect the importance of this step. Prepare the Film Transfer Place the hydrographic film on the surface of the water in the dipping tank. The film partially dissolves because it’s water-soluble, which leaves the pattern floating lightly on the top of the PVA film. The surface tension of the water allows the design to curve around all surfaces easily. Activate The image that floats on top of the water needs an activator added. This liquefies all of the design’s colors but leaves the appearance and overall structure intact. Transfer Immerse the part into the water slowly and carefully at an angle. The water’s pressure causes the design to wrap around the object evenly. The final result is that whatever film you used to apply the pattern will have it on all sides of your part. Wash and Dry Remove all of the excess film and leftover residue from the water. Once that’s done, rinse the part until all the PVA is removed from the part. Let it sit and air dry to be fully dry to the touch. How long it takes to dry out thoroughly will depend, but it’s worth being patient. Apply a Clear Coat Clear coating is the last step in the process. It adds a protective layer and also makes the final design a bit shinier or more flat depending on the clear used. The result of all these stages is that you end up with a beautifully printed object. Ultimately, hydro dipping is relatively easy to perform. Like most things, a bit of practice will make the process more efficient and the results a bit more predictable.The exciting thing about the process is that almost every dip turns out slightly different than other ones. A hydrographic finish is durable and most of the coating lasts for years, however, they’re no different from a car’s finish. Scratches and other abuse will shorten the coatings lifespan and cause the part to look much worse. Bad enough scratches can ruin the whole thing. Keep that in mind when you decide which coating to do and what surfaces to paint. With proper selection and care, this form of printing has many advantages, chief among them is how great it looks. You’ll be very proud of your completed work and people will be impressed!
Decorate an Abundance of Items With Hydrographic Printing You can decorate any object that can be safely dipped in water when using this method of printing. Parts for vehicles or ATVs as well as matching helmets can look vibrant and beautiful. What Is the Hydrographics Water Printing Method? Hydrographics involves a film that sits on the water; the film is printed with graphics or a pattern. Pre-printed patterns are available, or they can be custom designed. The pattern sits on the surface of the water until the object is dipped. This type of printing is suitable for a variety of 3D objects. Often designs can be used in any direction, giving them a more universal appeal. What Surfaces Can Support Water Transfer Printing? There are numerous places where this printing can be used. Surfaces include: Glass Plastic Metal Fiberglass Ceramics Wood Liven Up Your Vehicle A variety of patterns can be used to decorate a dashboard or wheel covers. Depending on the size of an immersion tank, ATV parts can be decorated. Automotive trim can also be dipped if the part can be immersed in water. If you have a motorcycle and wear a helmet, your helmet can match certain parts of your bike. A base coat is put on first and can range from solid colors to glitter to metallics, neon, glow paints, and more. This gives the object a unique depth below the surface of the pattern. Add a Touch of Whimsy to Other Items Your favorite Yeti cup as well as your dog’s favorite bowl can be made brighter and more cheerful. Match the outside of the dog bowl to your cup, sharing the love of your furry friend. Ceramic cups and bowls can be printed on the outside area. Basically any object that can be painted on with traditional paints is a candidate for hydrographic printing. What Pre-Printed Patterns Are Available? You can find patterns that range from camouflage to carbon fiber to geometric shapes and much more. Textures are available as well as abstract patterns. From skulls to American flags, you’ll find a variety of pre-printed patterns. Animal prints, stone and marble, wood grain, metal, and royalty designs are some of the choices. Outdoor enthusiasts and campers will find many designs to blend in with the surroundings or their favorite environments. Softer designs include florals, paisleys, flowers, shells, lace, swirls, and cartoons. Add a paint splatter to a cup or a black and white checkerboard to a tray, giving those objects further interest other than carrying drinks. There are many items that can be hydrographically printed. As long as the objects can be immersed in water, they are ready to be uniquely decorated.
How Scratch-Resistant Will My Hydro-Dipped Item Be? Hydro dipping has a number of names: water transfer printing, hydro imaging, hydrographic printing, immersion printing and more. Just like the number of names, this process will produce items with a variety of resistance to scratches. How they are finished in the final step can determine how scratch resistant they are. Resistance will depend on the type of paint as well as clear coatings; these will influence the durability of the graphics. Clear coats can be matte, semi-gloss or glossy. Whichever you choose, you’ll want your graphics to remain as beautiful as time wears on. Vehicles You’ll want to use automotive grade products to decorate rims and auto parts. An automotive-grade clear coat applied to the finished product protects it. U.V. inhibitors are part of the coating and protect the finish from fading. Like an automobile, normal use will not affect it, but if the printed area is scratched or abused, it will show. A scratch on the clear coat can affect the painted surface. Liquid Concepts utilizes these products to make sure you get the best coating for your automotive parts Bows, Cups and Other Objects Cerakote is sometimes used as a final finish. It is ceramic-based and can be applied to plastics, metals, wood and polymers. It is known to provide resistance to abrasion and wear. It also inhibits corrosion, while providing the hardness to resist scratches. It can be used on parts of your motorcycle as well. Nautical Objects If you have items from your boat that are being hydro dipped, you’ll want to be sure that the surface will hold up with saltwater as well. Clear coats used in marine applications are usually similar to those used in the automotive industry but with more UV and saltwater resistance. If Your Hydro Dipping Is DIY You’ll want to be sure to finish the objects with a clear coat. Kits are available that include a clear coat that promises scratch resistance under normal circumstances. Take into consideration the surface on which it will be applied and buy the right kit for your usage. Cure Time When an item is hydro dipped, it might take 30-90 days for it to be fully cured, as durability increases. Contact with solvents or other chemicals can damage it during this time of curing. To ensure scratch resistance and durability, use a professional who knows the hydrographics printing process. If you choose DIY for hydro dipping, do your homework to be sure of a final finish that will enhance the inspired graphics and leave your objects unique and beautiful for a long time.
How Activators Factor Into the Hydro Dipping Process Hydro dipping is a fun way to customize a three-dimensional object. Whether you want to put a cool film on a trinket box, shelf, hub cap, pistol or something else, it is necessary to follow all the steps of the hydro dipping process. An activator is a required part of the hydro dipping method, and here is what you need to know about activators before you start your project. What the Activator Is The activator is a chemical that liquefies the ink on the hydro dip film. After you have primed the object and painted it, the item is ready for the film. Hydrographic films are made from polyvinyl alcohol. The film is carefully placed on the water surface of a dipping tank. Once the film is hydrated, you add the activator. This liquefies the ink on the surface of the water. You dip the item, and the water’s surface tension allows the pattern to wrap around your three-dimensional item. The ink will not liquefy if you do not add an activator. What Happens If You Use the Activator Incorrectly Your hydro dipping project will not have the desired look if you do not properly apply the activator. Too little activator will not fully liquefy the film, and it will not stick to the item. Too much activator may cause the ink to disperse and not properly adhere to the prepared surface of your item. Types and Styles of Hydro Dip Activators Hydro dip activators are available in aerosol and liquid forms. The aerosol form looks like a can of spray paint. It is ideal for a small project. You just spray a light mist of the activator over the film. The liquid activator is for large products. There are two types of activators. One is designed for rapid use, and it is better for experienced hydro dip artists. The other type gives you more time to do the dipping. It is good for a beginner to use. Although each manufacturer has its own blend, the common ingredients in activators are xylene, isobutanol, butyl, methyl acetate and methyl ethyl ketone. The fast-acting activators swap methyl ethyl ketone for ethyl isobutyl ketone. Some activators may include isophorone, texanol, 2-butoxyethanol or cyclohexanone. Safety Tips for Hydro Dip Activators If you decide to try hydro dipping at home or as a project in a classroom or community center, it is important to be safe when using the activator. The aerosol activators should be used in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. No matter which type of activator you use, wear eye protection, gloves, a rubber apron and long sleeves. The activator’s droplets or splashes could damage your eyes, nose, mouth, throat or skin if they make contact with you. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on safe use of the activator, including how to store any of the activator that you did not need for your project.