The Ins and Outs of Hydrographics
The word hydrographics has two separate meanings. The first meaning refers to the science of measuring and describing the physical features of bodies of water. The second meaning refers to the process of immersion printing or water-transfer imaging. Below, we’ll discuss what hydrographics is, how it’s used, and how to create your own.
What Is Hydrographics?
The water-transfer imaging process is used to apply designs onto a 3D surface. This method prints images onto glass, plastic, metal, hardwoods, and other materials. A few examples of materials used for hydrographics are water bottles, drinking glasses, steel tumblers, and even shoes, car parts, helmets, and other items.
A team member for Kabushiki Kaisha Cubic Engineering, an individual by the name of Motoyasu Nakanishi, created hydrographics in 1982. While anyone can hydro dip objects nowadays, the company still holds the patent for the hydrographic equipment.
People may confuse hydrographics with tie-dye, but the equipment used for each one is different. In tie-dye, the process requires various colored dyes. If you are tie-dying a shirt, you would only dip each section of the shirt into a specifically colored dye.
Hydrographics, on the other hand, uses printed images and a large dipping container filled with water. While wearing gloves, you would fully submerge the item, taking care to tape any location on the item to prevent printing. Then you would move the rest of the print away from the object before removing the newly printed object from the container.
How Are Hydrographics Used?
People use hydrographics to customize anything from firearms, bicycles, to even the interiors or exteriors of their motor vehicles.
Hydrographic applications, especially if done professionally, last for many years under everyday use. For this reason, you don’t have to worry about frequent reapplications, which would result in a changing pattern each time you choose to reapply the hydro dip.
How to Create Your Own Hydrographics
One way to hydro dip at home is to purchase a hydro dip kit either in the store or online. These kits typically contain the necessary supplies needed for creating hydrographics at home. If you don’t wish to purchase hydro dip kits, then you can put together your own supplies, such as paint or spray paint, gloves, tap water, a container large enough for the object, hydrographic activator, film, and tape to cover areas of the item you don’t want to be printed. You will also need to properly prep the item prior to painting.
There are several ways of approaching DIY hydrographics; it’s just a matter of searching for videos online for a solution that works best for you. While it’s inadvisable to dip your entire vehicle in water, hydro dipping lets you customize your vehicle one part at a time.