How to Properly Set Up Your Activator Gun Many painters have a problem with under activation or over-activation of the spray guns. The gun is always blowing dots at each end or hardly anything in the middle on most occasions. Such problems affect the spraying process since certain parts of the spray are likely to receive less material whereas other parts receive more. Spray guns should be reliable whether they are expensive or not, so if you face any challenge with your gun, consider the following gun set-up steps and procedures. Preparing to Set Up the Gun Depending on how you are spraying the activator, you should hold the gun in a straight position. Before you begin setting the gun, spray a point on a piece of paper to determine the shape it makes. If the pattern has round edges, widen the fan to see if it disperses. A good activator gun should have straight margins and a wide open fan in most cases. Adjusting the Needle When you spray the shape on the board and there is too much fluid in a certain area, it indicates that too much fluid is coming out of the gun. The shape may be even, but the fluid may be too much. This means the needle is releasing too much fluid and needs to be backed off. Slowly turn the needle about one turn inwards (clockwise if you are looking at the gun from the back side) to reduce the fluid release. You can try spraying the paper again and if you still get some excess liquid flowing, turn the needle until you get the perfect spray with the correct amount of activator. As you turn the needle in, the fan may also get smaller. The spray out of the gun should be even from the top of the fan to the bottom of the fan. This will produce an activator spray with even atomization across the entire fan pattern. The even fan pattern is what you should look out for to determine whether the fan is set up properly or not. Adjusting the Pressure Pressure is one of the factors that is crucial for a spray gun, and it also plays a significant role in how the spray needle releases the activator. The pressure should be set anywhere between 8-12 PSI to be able to spray the gun around 6-8 inches above the water. Because every activator gun atomizes better at different pressures, you may have to spray multiple pieces of paper to see how well the gun is atomizing to help set up your activator properly. Just remember at the lower PSI, you will be around 6-8 inches As the line becomes finer, the pressure drops, and the activator produces a very fine and even shape. As the pressure drops, the activator may be too much, or the shape of the fan may not be even. Too much pressure deters fluids from coming out of the gun and makes the middle of the fan very light while the top and bottom of the fan is much heavier. Adjust the air pressure to ensure it is moderate, not too much to over atomize fluids, and not too little to release thicker and overflowing fluids. General Setting Tips While using the gun, ensure the activator is atomizing properly by the settings that we have discussed above. Depending on how you set your gun, ensure that you hold it straight and set the fan and the needle accurately to get sufficient activator fluid atomization and even shapes. Ensure moderate but enough pressure to release enough activator for the way you will be spraying the gun. Ensuring you have properly set up your gun will be the first step in making sure you have a perfectly activated film for the hydrographics process.
Tips for Choosing the Right Primer Before building any building, the first thing to consider is the foundation. This is also the case when repainting any surface. The foundation in painting comes in the form of primers and sealers. The most challenging part is deciding the type of primer you need for different projects. Whether you are working with plastic, metal or wood this guide will help you select the best primer for the project. Why Is It Essential to Use a Primer? Primers help you to come up with a consistent paint finish. It improves the adhesion of your paint’s topcoat, which becomes more durable and appealing. Besides that, primers block substances like grease, tannin, smoke and water from damaging the original substrate. How to Select the Best Primer There are different types of primers: urethane and epoxy primers. Finding the best primer can be difficult, mainly because the market is full of varying primer coatings. To make things easier, we will look at each of these primers and when you should use them. Urethane Primers Urethane primers are designed for a high film build with excellent sanding, adhesion, hold out and fast-drying properties. It’s perfect for properly prepped metal, wood and fiberglass surfaces. Urethane is only a surfacer primer and you might need to use a sealer over the top of the sanded urethane primer before you paint. Urethane primers also come in handy when you want to smooth anything out. They are an excellent choice to use after you’re done with any bodywork. Epoxy Primers An epoxy primer is ideal for bare steel. It will help improve adhesion and prevent rust and corrosion. This primer can also be applied to properly prepped plastic substrates as well. It is the best standard base when bonding the paint with metal surfaces to bring out a quality finish. It’s normally also designed to be sprayed as a sealer so you can paint directly onto the primer without having to sand the primer first. Basically, an epoxy primer works as a sealer that produces a good finish on a substrate. You can count on an epoxy primer to prevent the oxidation of bare metals and give you excellent durability and flexibility. Factors to Consider When Selecting Primers Flexibility When picking a primer, it’s essential to check the firmness or flexibility you need. For example, urethane primers are more hard and prevent movement of the surface. Although a urethane primer is strong, it will eventually crack on moving surfaces. Epoxy primers will still retain flexibility. It’s perfect for surfaces that expand and contract over time with changes in temperatures or seasons. Sanding The choice of primer to use depends on how smooth or textured you intend the surface to be. Urethane primers are the best when it comes to texture. They can help fill in the areas that need sanding and smoothing out. Surfaces that are already smooth normally work best with epoxy primers as they remain smooth after being sprayed. Chemical Resistance Everyone using a primer normally wants to develop a chemical-resistant surface. Sometimes you can’t stop the surface from coming into contact with acids and bases. Epoxy doesn’t react very well with acids and bases however, when comparing epoxy and urethane in terms of chemical resistance, epoxy performs way better. Urethane primers tend to have a slightly less chemical resistance than epoxy primers. Picking a suitable primer for your project is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking. It depends on the type of surface, durability and the desired results. With this guide, you should have all it takes to pick the best primer for the job.
How to Hydro Dip Curved or Contoured Parts Hydro dipping allows you to put a completely custom finish on your firearm. Fortunately, the process can be completed even if there are curved and contoured parts on the object you’re wanting to dip. While it does require more special care when dipping say a standard, straight rifle stock, the process is still relatively simple and provides a unique, one of a kind look for your part. Cutting the Film Once you have chosen the finish that you want to apply, lay the piece that you’re going to coat in the center of the film and cut it. It’s important that you make sure that you cut enough film to prevent any sort of stretching or the finished product will have a distorted, fuzzy look. Leave a small amount of excess film on all four sides of the piece that you’re dipping. Dipping the Piece It’s important that you have your water at the right temperature before you put the film into it. Water has to be between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit in order for the film to activate and hold to your curved or contoured part. Once the water has reached the required temperature, you are ready to lay your film in it. Make sure that you lay the film flat, ensuring that there are no wrinkles or bubbles. Wrinkles and bubbles will transfer onto the part that you’re hydro dipping and will be very evident on the finished product. Once the film is laying flat in the water, you’re ready to spray the activator onto it to make sure that everything bonds correctly. Now comes the part that requires some care. Since there are curves and contours in the piece that you’re dipping, you need it to go into the film at the right angle. Hold the piece that you’re dipping at approximately a 45-degree angle and slowly submerge the piece, starting with the bottom, moving it slowly downward into the film. As you get near the curve or contour at the top end of the piece that’s being dipped, you will need to tilt the piece backward in your hand while still moving forward through the film. For instance, if you have the piece tilted from right to left, you will have to slowly shift the top from left to right while still moving in the same direction in the water. This ensures that none of the contours or curves capture any air Once you are done dipping the piece that you’re putting in the water, you’re ready to rinse it off and dry it thoroughly. What Happens If You Don’t Tilt? If you don’t get the tilt right on both ends of the curved or contoured piece, you will end up with air bubbles trapped in the curves. If that happens, you do have some options. You may have to “black” in the piece after it’s dipped, try to touch up the area that was missing or remove the film and completely redo the process. While this can be frustrating, it’s important to know that you can redo the process until you’re satisfied with the finished product.
The Best Way to Hydro Dip Carbon Fiber Hydro dripping or hydrographics is a decoration technique that allows you to give your instrument, tool, or asset a look you desire. A hydro film can be applied to various materials—not limited to metal, plastic, and wood. Unlike the regular painting and graffiti decorations, hydro dipping’s uniqueness is that you can make wood look like metal or metal look like wood. This applies to any object that can be dipped into a pool of water containing a hydro film. This article will look into the definition, uses, advantages, and the best way to hydro dip utilizing a carbon fiber film. What Is a Hydro Dip Fiber Carbon Film? The carbon fiber film is a roll of film that contains the desired designs or images to be applied to the object. These designs may be unique diagonal lines, selected ideas, or branding techniques available in different colors and sizes. Why Choose a Carbon Film Decorating your gaming device, vehicle dashboard, or instrument using a carbon film is an economical way to give it a longer-lasting look. Carbon films can be effectively used on any object despite the size, shape, or make of it. Because the film is permanent, You can not conveniently peel off the carbon film if you decide to change it after a long time. This process is a permanent coating that is meant to stay on for the life of the part. The Best Way to Hydro Dip Carbon Fiber Film Before you dip your object into the water for a subtle pattern imprint, we recommend you take precautions. Getting your design of choice doesn’t mean you risk your safety or that of your coworkers. Ensure you have the appropriate personal protective gear that includes gloves, mask, and eye-protection glasses. The following are the steps of applying a carbon film. 1. Cut a Small Piece of Carbon Fiber Film Depending on the size of the object you’re dipping, cut a film close to your object’s size - allowing in most cases 1-2” on all sides. This avoids waste and reduces the margin of error by preventing the emergence of bubbles. The size of the film should also be in line with that of the tub. 2. Apply Masking Tape on the Side of the Film Most films are delivered in rolls that sometimes curl up when unpacked. To avoid this, use masking tape on the sides to prevent it from rolling up when floating on water. 3. Gently Align the Film at an Angle When placing the film on the water’s surface, put it at an angle of 89 -90 degrees to reduce bubbles accumulating due to trapped air. You may opt to use pressure from the air gun to remove the trapped air, or gently blow the film with your mouth. When you’re placing the film in the water, make sure the sticky side faces down onto the water. You can check this by wetting your fingers and holding both sides of the film at one time. The side that sticks to your finger, goes down on the water. **Remember that it is never shiny side up or shiny side down.** Always test the film and be sure which side goes up and which side goes down on the water. 4. Let the Film Soak Don’t hurry to spray the activator. Let the film soak for at least 60 seconds. During this time make sure your protective gear is set. 5. Spray the Activator Wearing a mask gently spray the activator covering the entire piece of the film for maximum coverage. If applied correctly, the film should glass out on top of the water. . 6. Dip the Object Proceed into the water at an angle of 45 degrees. Dip your object gently and smoothly into the water. When the object is fully immersed, move it back and forth along the tub without creating many waves and remove it to reveal the dipped pattern. Dipping an object, however, depends on the shape and complexity of the item. Take time to learn the extensions on your object and creatively determine the angle and side you will use. The final result is an object with a carbon appearance pleasing to the eye with outstanding clarity and taste. We recommend you take the time to train and prepare well before attempting to hydro dip, or seek professional assistance.
How to Properly Price Hydrodipping Parts Like any other business, pricing in hydro dipping companies is a critical element that affects revenues and profits. The price of a product or service can lead to the survival or demise of a business. Adjusting the price in any direction has profound impacts on sales, marketing strategy, and cash flow, which are crucial business growth indicators. As a business owner or a marketer in a hydro dipping business, failing to set a price that complements the operation cost and objectives contributes to how clients perceive a service or a product. High prices indicate high-quality services by invoking luxury in a client’s mind. Similarly, low-cost providers charge low prices, and in turn, consumers know what to expect. This article digs deeper into the factors to consider when pricing the hydro dripping parts of your business. Location A hydro dipping company located in a city with a large population is likely to attract a massive client flow. This is contrary to a business located in a town with a low population. Pricing in a large city uses relatively different strategies that aim at reducing the costs of operation. Operational Cost Setting up a business in a city with high land rates and renting charges will require you to improvise on pricing. The need to improvise fills the void of high operation costs that reduce the profit margin. Job Basis Depending on the market’s flexible pricing, some businesses charge depending on the square inches covered by the film. Therefore, the price must cater to the material cost and additional costs associated with decorating different materials. Nature of the Item Nearly any item that can be dipped into water can be hydro painted. This means that the item’s nature dictates the amount of film used and, ultimately, the price. It isn’t easy to come up with a general price list of items. We recommend that you individually scrutinize the item and price it according to expenses incurred. Net Profit The motive behind every entrepreneur’s mind is profit. Whether you inherited the business or are doing it as a hobby, it all trickles down to how much you have gained at the end of the day. Net profit is the total of all earnings minus operational cost, material cost, and additional costs. Price an item depending on its material cost. Customer Expectation If you are operating a business in a high-end region where customer retention is dependent on the quality of work, your prices must be in line with the services. Experience Operating as a hydro dip expert comes with customer retention. The prices you charge your regular customers could possibly be different from new customers. Nature of Clients Pricing services rendered to people with high-end automobiles and tools require more employees to match the required effort. The charges for decorating a luxurious item need better quality film and techniques. This calls for different pricing as compared to less expensive items. There is no single way to describe the best way to price hydro dipping parts. As a business entity, you must survey your market, analyze client needs, and price according to the factors we have explained.
How to Double Dip a Custom Gun Stock Double-dipping a custom gunstock allows you to make your firearm look however you want it to look. While you will need to invest in the proper tools and equipment to customize your own gun stocks, the process itself is relatively straightforward. It’s important to know what sort of gunstock you’re dipping. The process itself is the same when dealing with both a competition stock or a general use stock but it’s vital to understand the difference in dipping a wood stock vs a fiberglass stock. When dipping a rifle for competition use, it’s important to remember not to get any coatings where the lugs are seated from the action to the stock. This will ensure you keep the same accuracy and reliability when the process is done. Prepping the Gun Stock You can choose any color for the base layer and any film you want to use, which allows you to create a fully custom gunstock. Once you’ve chosen your combination for the base and the film, you will want to put a gunstock holder into the end of the stock. This will make coating the stock much easier when spraying the coating. Use a high-quality tape that won’t come off when it gets wet and tape the entire length of the bedding of the gunstock. You’ll want to be sure that all of the internal areas of the stock are well covered because you don’t want to have any sort of buildup inside them. Once you’ve taped over all of the internals, completely cover one entire side of the stock in tape. Roll out the film that you will be using for your gun stock and lay the stock directly in the center. Cut off enough film to completely overlap the stock. Dipping the Gun Stock Prepare your dipping tank by getting the water between 80 and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. Once the water has reached the required temperature, lay the film gently into the water while being sure to avoid wrinkles or bubbles. Before you dip the gun stock into the film, let it set for 60 seconds. Then spray your chosen activator over the film and allow the film to glass out correctly. Pick up the gunstock by the holder you put in place and smoothly dip the stock into the film. Start with the muzzle and slowly submerge the entire stock into the activated film. Gently move the stock left to right as you slowly pull the stock back out of the water. Holding the gun stock flat to prevent dripping and runs, take the stock over to your rinsing station to rinse it off before drying it. You can lay it down on the tape side and rinse until all the PVA is rinsed off the stock. Dipping the Other Side Once the first side has been dipped, rinsed and completely dried, simply do the same process to the other half of the stock. You will want to tape up the dipped portion of the stock and leave around ⅛” to 1/16” line so it will overlap from the first dip to the second. Once everything has been taped, repeat the entire process with the undipped side of the gunstock. After rinsing and drying the stock, spray with the clear coat of your choice and Congratulations! You have a fully customized, double-dipped gun stock.
How to Determine the Correct Clear Coat Activator Professional-grade clear coats often have more than one activator. So, how would you go about deciding which of them to use? Different activators contribute different characteristics. According to Liquid Concepts, activators typically vary in their speed they cure out the clear in certain temperatures. Your Work Environment Should Be the Biggest Consideration Temperature affects how quickly clear coat dries. Hotter environments tend to make them dry a lot faster. If you happen to work somewhere without AC, then you’d want to use a slower activator. These won’t dry too fast in such a work location. On the other hand, let’s say you’ve been working somewhere colder. You’d want to use a faster activator in that case. In cold places, slow activators take too long to set before you can start working with them. Slow Activators Work Best Between 80 to 95 Degrees Without AC, most garage workshops would be around this temperature during the summer. Slower activators give you enough time to clear your products if you work somewhere like that. When comparing different activators, check out its flash time. Flash times tell how long to wait between new coats, assuming optimal temperatures and activators are used. Medium Activators Work Best Between 65 to 75 Degrees Room temperature workshops ought to be around this range. Using medium activators above its typical temperature range would throw off the flash time. In other words, if you applied a medium activator to something 90 degrees, it would set much more rapidly. Your flash time could easily drop from 10 minutes to 8 minutes or less in this situation. Fast Activators Work Best at 55 - 65 degrees Fast activators are useful for two circumstances. They work great in cold workshops. Or, you could use them if that is the only activator that you have but make sure to just pay attention to the flash time. Match Reducers and Activators Of course, not all clear coats are as thin as you would like straight out of the can. Adding a reducer to the mix can help thin them out. However, you’ve got to make sure that your activator matches the reducer. Slow reducers should be used with slow activators, and so on. Everything evaporates appropriately that way. Matching Your Activator to Your Work Conditions Provides the Best Results Matching activators to your work environment is crucial. Working with something that is not suitable can be a huge headache. Slow activators could take several days to cure if you were to apply them in the dead of winter. Fast activators could set up entirely before the day is over sometimes. Only matching them to your environment creates optimal results.
10 Things You Need for Hydrographics Hydrographics, also called hydro dipping, hydro imaging, immersion printing, or water transfer printing, is a trending process of applying graphics to almost any three-dimensional item. Looking over the internet, you’ll see everything from tennis shoes to car parts getting new and exciting custom coatings through the hydrographics process. Hydrographics in Brief Hydrographics is dipping items into a tank containing a dissolvable-printed film that floats on the top of the water. Hydrographics is not to be confused with the process of using everyday acrylic spray paint sprayed in different spots on top of the water as their color source. Even though both types of processes get lumped in under the Hydrographics heading, acrylic spray paint only gets you a limited amount of swirl patterns. Although using acrylic spray paints fosters beautiful results, you have a ton of printed graphics to choose from with the dissolvable-printed film, and it’s a far cleaner process. For this content, we’ll concentrate on the printed film process. What You Need If you’re just starting out, you’ll need the whole setup, which can be as straightforward or as involved as you want it to get. Remember, the more involved hydrographics supplies you have, the bigger the expense. We’ll start with this basic hydrographics setup list easy enough for anybody to get started: 1. Large, Deep Plastic Container The plastic container needs to be large enough to fill with warm water that is high enough to submerge your item without water spillage over the sides. 2. DIY Hydrographic Printing Kit These kits typically contain an activator, top coat, base coat, universal primer, film, respirator mask, gloves, scuff pad, and step-by-step instructions. 3. Item to Dip As long as you use the right method, your dipping possibilities are many, including plastic, wood, ceramics, fiberglass, and metal. However, if water can damage the item, think twice. 4. Sandpaper Sandpaper helps prep the item or remove flaws from the clear coat finish. Typically, use finer grit sandpaper for both. 5. Rags Even though the dissolvable-print film method is cleaner, you still should have a few rags around to wipe your item down at various times throughout the process and for water spillage. 6. Bucket of Mild Cleaning Solution and Water Thoroughly clean your item before the dipping process. Hydrographic experts say a mild dish soap works well here. 7. Gloves You’ll use gloves all through the Hydrographics process, so it’s best to have several durable sets of vinyl, rubber, or latex gloves. 8. Primer Coat Use a primer to ensure a secure base coat paint adhesion as the hydrographics process encompasses mechanical bonding. However, make sure you use the right primer for your item. 9. Base Coat Applied after the primer; the basecoat color is critical to the overall final look of your item. However, different films will take different colors so make sure to check before you spray your item. 10. Top Coat The clear coat helps seal in the inks and promotes a cleaner finished product. Depending on how glassy you want your item, topcoats come in matte, semi-gloss, or high gloss.
Why You Must Paint Parts Prior to Hydro Dipping Hydrodipping creates some of the most impressive-looking plastics. But, you can’t just dip your plastics without preparing them. If you were to dip something without painting it first, the dip would just slide right off. Proper preparations ensure that it sticks to the plastic permanently. Top Coats Give Parts a Durable Finish Painting your parts and applying a topcoat enhances their durability, so the film doesn’t damage as easily. It is best to always apply a Satin, Flat, or Gloss Clear coat to give your part the best protection possible. However, Dips Won’t Stick to Clear Coat Well Parts that are already painted and cleared will require you to process them for the hydrodip to adhere. These parts will require proper prepping as well as a fresh base coat for the hydrographics to work properly. You cannot dip directly to already cleared parts as it will cause the dipped film to rub or slide off. This happens because the clear coat has already cured, so after dipping the part, there was nothing for the dip to adhere to. Your Paint Must Not Be Fully Cured The reason the dip won’t adhere to the already painted part or plastic is that it can’t bond with the paint. As a result, washing the dipped part would remove most of the dip. This happens when the paint has already been fully cured. Fully-cured paint creates an impermeable barrier, preventing any adhesion. Hydrodipping Must Occur Within the Dipping Window So, if paint creates a barrier, why should you paint before dipping? Well, there is something called a bonding window. Paint takes a certain amount of time, after applied, before it cures. The bonding window is when your dips adhere the best. Dipping your products in the middle of this window is crucial. Otherwise, your dips will keep sliding off. Bonding Windows Vary Depending on the Paint Do keep in mind that each paint has its own bonding window. Certain paints can have windows as long as several months. At the same time, most of the paints are ready to dip within a few minutes of spraying. That helps eliminate any issues when you are ready to dip them. A large bonding window like that means you’ve got more than enough time to work with your products. Correctly Dipped Parts Always Need to Be Painted Dipping a painted part won’t guarantee that your results will be phenomenal. You’ve got to dip them during the paint’s bonding window. This timeframe is when dips bond to paints, instead of just resting on their surface. Applying the dips after the bonding window won’t work out well. When you do that, dips slide right off the item since they can’t bond to anything.
Reasons to Use Rubber Floor Mats in Hydrographics Printing Areas When you’re setting up a space to do hydrographics painting, it’s wise to keep safety in mind. Although getting your films and the right size of sink or tub may be more exciting, don’t overlook the flooring in your workspace. Consider these reasons why you need rubber floor mats for hydrographics shop. Easy to Clean Rubber floor mats are easy to clean. When they need a little cleaning, you can just hose them off. Ideally, your floor should have a built-in drain. This will make your cleanup process as fast and easy as possible. No Risk of Staining or Water Damage Rubber floor mats don’t stain. Other types of flooring, including vinyl, concrete, laminate, wood, tile and cork will stain. The rubber can also handle frequent splashes, dripping and daily rinsing. Other hard-surface flooring will warp or rot with all of this moisture. Withstands Impacts If you’re using hydrographics on something heavy, such as parts for your car or truck, you need flooring that can absorb the impact if you drop the item. Rubber floor mats are resilient and absorb the energy of an impact. They don’t transfer the energy back into the item, so anything that falls onto rubber floor mats is unlikely to end up with dents, dings, cracks or other types of damage. Locks Into Place Rugs can shift around on a tile, concrete or wood floor. The last thing you want to do is have the rug slip out from under you while you’re applying an exquisite hydrographics film onto a treasured item. Rubber floor mats connect to each other and lock into place. They won’t move even if you move around or roll a heavy work cart across them. Reduce the Risk of Slipping and Falling A puddle of water on a tile, wood or other hard-surface floor is a safety hazard. Rubber floor mats are textured, and spills and splashes drain through the openings. This lowers your risk of slipping and falling. If you do happen to take a tumble, the rubber mats have some give. You’ll be cushioned, and you’ll be less likely to hurt yourself when you fall. Comfort for Your Feet Whether you plan to do hydrographic dipping as a hobby or as a full-time job, the process involves a lot of standing. When you’re on your feet for several hours, a hard floor puts a lot of strain on your feet, ankles, knees and lower back. If you have poor posture or ill-fitting shoes, just a short time of standing can lead to a lot of pain. Rubber floor mats offer more comfort for your feet. They soften the impact of each step, so you’ll be less likely to have heel or ball-of-foot pain.
How to Correctly Clean a Hydrographics Dipping Tank Whether you’re a beginner at hydrographics painting or you’re setting up a commercial enterprise, the tank is one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll use on a daily basis. The dipping tanks range from entry-level setups that are easy to learn how to use to production-level systems with high-tech features and add-ons. No matter what type you have, it will need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Use these tips to correctly clean your hydrographics dipping tank. Remove Large Debris The first step in cleaning the tank involves removing large debris. These are leftover bits of film that could clog the tank’s drain. Don’t be surprised if you pull out long, green strings of slimy material. This is algae, and it’s common in large, warm tanks of water. The best way to get them out is with an aquarium net. These nets have a long handle, and they’re made to go into dirty water filled with chemicals. Scoop the debris into a waste bin. Drain the Tank The next step is to drain all the liquid from the tank. It’s a good idea to wear long rubber gloves and a face shield while doing this. Small bits of debris may splash as the water goes down the drain. Scrub the Tank Use a scouring pad to remove debris and muck from the stainless steel tank. You’ll also need to do this on the adjustable baffles and any accessories you have in the tank. Most people go through at least one dozen scouring pads, so have a bunch of them on hand depending on how dirty your tank is. Keep a bucket with warm, soapy water nearby to dunk the scouring pads into. Scrape Stuck Debris An ice scraper or bondo spreader is a helpful tool to remove debris that has formed a film on the stainless steel. You can also try a stiff-bristled brush. If your tank is large, a janitorial broom will loosen sticky debris and film. Rinse the Tank Once you’ve removed the obvious film and muck from the tank, rinse it with a garden hose. The jet sprayer delivers enough pressure to loosen any leftover bits and particles left on the tank. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Sanitize the Tank and Drain Warm water is a perfect environment for algae and bacteria. You don’t want a clog in the drainpipe, so it’s important to sanitize and disinfect these surfaces. You can pour a 50% white vinegar solution or a 10% bleach solution into the tank. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation to dissipate the fumes from these disinfectants. Drain the tank. Rinse the tank again, and it’s ready to use for your next hydro dipping project.
How to Remove Hydrographics Film Hydrographics or water transfer printing is a decorating process where carbon fiber, wood grain, camouflage, and designer prints are applied to a product surface in 3D. Metals, plastics, wood, and glass are materials that can be decorated with this technology. This extends the range of items compatible with this technique. For example, car parts, ceramics, and pretty much anything that can be submerged in water and painted will work with hydrographics. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably had your share of fun with hydrographics. It’s a creative way to decorate your items with intricate patterns, as it’s durable and appealing. However, sometimes you might want to remove your design. Maybe you messed up in your application, or maybe you’re just ready for a new one. Fortunately, you can remove hydrographics. However, the final product’s acrylic is resistant to debris and scratches, making the removal process challenging. It will last for many years when exposed to customary conditions, but scratches destroy the hydrographic finish. The following are techniques you can use to remove hydrographics. Removing Hydrographics From Glass Glass is probably the most comfortable surface to remove hydrographics. Armed with rubber gloves, microfiber cloth, acetone, and water, rub gently on the glass surface to loosen the bond between the film’s atomic makeup. Finish by cleaning the glass with a professional glass cleaner that prevents streaks. Removing Hydrographics From Vehicle Surfaces Using a microfiber towel, pour a small amount of alcohol-based paint remover onto the vehicle. Using small circular motions, gently and thoroughly rub the surface, making sure not to damage the integrity of the material. The most appropriate solvent to use is acetone or lacquer thinner. Removing Hydrographics From Wood Denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, and a rag are all you need. Spray the denatured alcohol of choice on the wooden surface, give it a second or two to react with the film, and rub thoroughly. Removing Hydrographics From Plastic The state-of-the-art chemical process that creates adhesion during the immersion process creates a strong bond between the film and the plastic product. To successfully scrape off the film, use denatured alcohol, water, and oil. Soften the scraped-off areas using oil to maintain the uniformity of the product surface. Acetone is a powerful solvent capable of removing oil-based and water-based paints on surfaces around the homestead. It functions to soften the entire film coating along with a gentle rub. The film comfortably wears off due to acetone’s ability to dissolve plastics, glues, and acrylics. Paint Stripper Another chemical used to remove hydrographic film safely is your local paint stripper. It penetrates the hydrographic film, causing internal stress that weakens the film structure, resulting in the separation of layers. We recommend you research the best paint stripper available in your area before buying. Sandblaster This is an effective method used to remove deep-set film dried into a surface. It requires specialized equipment and thorough cleaning after the removal of the film. It’s less laborious when removing a film from a large surface, but care should be exercised to avoid scarring product surfaces. Hydrographic films are an excellent way of decorating your treasured surfaces. We recommend that you wear personal protective gear, whether installing or scraping off the film.
How to Hydro Dip Helmets The hydro dip is a unique process that allows the application of images or graphics to three-dimensional surfaces. The hydro dip is also known as immersion printing, water transfer printing, or hydro printing. Hydro dip has been used to decorate virtually everything imaginable, including helmets. Hydro dipping a helmet is relatively easy to learn with fulfilling results. However, you need to adhere to the protocols of each step. Your overall success or failure in getting an impressive print on your helmet depends on how well you execute each step. Discussed below are steps to follow when you want to hydro dip your helmet. Identify the Print You need to buy the film with the print that you want on your helmet. Clean the Helmet Though the helmet may be new, make sure that the surfaces to be printed are sparkling clean. Use 91% isopropyl alcohol and clean surfaces with cleaning cloths. While cleaning, we suggest that you wear gloves to avoid recontamination of the helmet. Primer Application Choose the correct primer for the helmet. The right primer will ensure proper adhesion of the paint. Apply the primer on the helmet evenly on all the areas to be printed. Base Coat Application Now that you have chosen the pattern, choose the appropriate base coat. Ensure that you apply the base coat evenly on the helmet’s surface. The base color is critical because it will determine the final look of the helmet. Film Placement on the Water Put the film with the print on the water surface. For perfect transfer of the print impressions, ensure that the water temperature is 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Take caution that there is no air trapped between the film and the water surface. Hydration of the Film Allow the film to absorb water by waiting for 60-90 seconds after placing it in water. Film Activation Holding the spray gun at approximately 8-12 inches from the water surface, spray the activator from side to side in quick successions. Ensure even coverage of the exercise. The spraying speed determines the amount of activator being deposited. The Dip Wait for five seconds after spraying the activator. On the expiry of the duration, gently dip the helmet at an angle of 30-40 degrees. Ensure the helmet is completely submerged. Rinse Rinse any residual PVA of the film off the surface of the helmet. You can do this using a light spray or running water from the tap. Take caution if you choose to use running water from the tap. Ensure the tap water does not hit the helmet’s printed area directly with pressure; this can potentially compromise your print. Dry the Helmet You have two options for drying the print, convection heating or air drying. We recommend you use convection heating because it is done at a lower temperature and yields sharper results if you are in a hurry. Application of Clear Coat The application of clear coat helps seal in the inks allowing for a shiny enhanced pattern on your helmet. You have a choice of three variants of clear coats to choose from: matte, semi-gloss, or high gloss. You may apply an optional second clear coat on your helmet for it to stand out from the rest.
How to Hydro Dip Wheels Hydro dip painting refers to the process where printed film resting on the water is transferred to an object. This is achieved by immersing the object in the water. Hydro dip painting is also known as water transfer printing, immersion printing, water transfer imaging, or water marbling. The end product of hydro dip painting is decorative or applied art. Water printing can be used on metal, plastic and hardwoods, and various other materials. Print Preparation This is the first step of the process. The desired pattern is created and then printed onto a special form of water-soluble film. Cleaning Clean the wheel thoroughly using 91% isopropyl alcohol. Ensure no foreign particles are on the surface. We recommend you wear gloves to reduce exposure after the wheel is clean. Wearing gloves helps you avoid recontamination. Preparation of the Wheel You should meticulously sand the wheel’s surface using 220 - 320 grit sandpaper. Spray primer on the sanded areas. Primer ensures proper adhesion of the paint. This is done to enhance the smoothness of the surface to be printed. For better results, you may opt to spray multiple coats of primer and sand it smooth after it dries. Dry and clean the wheel in readiness for the next step. Application of the Base Coat With the pattern chosen earlier, apply the base coat to the wheel. The color of the base coat is critical because it will determine the final look of the wheel. Laying the film on the water Take the film and make sure you have water that is between 80 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay the film in the water and let it sit for one minute. Apply the activator evenly across the entire film and wait for the film to glass out. Normally this is around 5 to 15 seconds Immersing the Wheel The wheel should be carefully lowered into the water. At this point, the film will transfer the image to the wheel as it descends into the water. Note that the water surface tension has aided the process by pulling the image around the wheel spokes. Rinse You can now rinse your residual film off the wheel. This can be done manually or by machine. You could do a light spray or use water from a tap. Drying Depending on the speed at which you need your wheel, you could choose to air dry, which will take you longer, convection drying or an automated method. Whichever method you use, it’s noteworthy that the convection method, though slower, is sometimes preferable. It’s done at a lower temperature, and this may enhance the appearance of your wheel. Clear Coat This is a highly recommended final procedure for the wheel. By this process, you help seal in the inks. You may choose matte, semi-gloss or high gloss as a top coat to finish off. Note that water transfer films are sensitive to humidity and temperature. It would be best if you appropriately handled them to ensure longevity and good results. Store them in a controlled room whose humidity levels are below 60% and room temperature of between 65 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Whenever you have any opened unused films, pack the films as soon as possible. This extends their quality.
How to Hydro Dip Rounded Parts Hydro dipping allows you to apply unique graphics to almost any three-dimensional object. This entails objects of any shape, be it round, oval, square, or cubed. Dipping helmets, firearms, and gaming controllers uses a different technique from that used when dipping round objects. As you might have noticed in your quest to understand hydro dripping, this technique can be used for three-dimensional and other shapes. The key is to make sure the surface texture can absorb the ink printed on the film. We recommend you scrutinize the sanding process for round objects for an even surface. More complex shapes require careful sandblasting for a final satisfying look. Below we explain the steps and things you should know when dipping round objects. Preparation Keep in mind the item you’re hydro dipping will be fully submerged underwater. All electronic items should be stripped. The only remains should be the shell where the graphics will be imprinted. A round object’s preparation stage requires that you analyze the surface, observe safety features, and sand if necessary. If the item has any screws on it, remove them for uniformity of the film upon dipping. Make sure you paint your round object with the correct base coat for the film to look correct after the dip. Dipping the object while having other attachments on it can alter the look and the symmetry of the pattern. For a professional look, we advise you to first plan how you will roll it. Rolling a round object is an improvised way to limit the errors you might experience when dipping the object the same way you would dip a flat item. Cutting the Film The size of the object you’re dipping determines the amount of film you’ll cut. Cutting a film slightly larger than your object’s size avoids waste and reduces the margin of error by preventing the emergence of bubbles. The film’s size should also be in line with that of the tub for convenience when dipping. Bearing the fact that this is a round object, the film’s size should give you the space to roll it. Tape the film to control it from rolling back in the initial shape it was packaged in. Laying the Film on the Water Make sure the tub dividers are pulled up far enough to give room for laying the film. Determine the side that faces down on the water by dipping your fingers into the water and touching a corner of the film. Hold the film for a few seconds, and the side that sticks to your finger faces down on the water. Lay the film from corner to corner to avoid trapping air. Tighten the dividers to control the position of the film and prepare to spray the activator. Gently spray the activator evenly across the film to create a sleek and glassed out look over the entire film. Dipping Gently dip your round object at an angle, slowly coming down at about half the object. Slowly turn the object to the remaining side and wrap it all the way around. The result will be a uniform pattern that goes all around the part. The trick is making sure the end of the pattern faces the backside of the object. This is just but an insight on how to hydro dip a round object. Be sure to thoroughly consider the design of the object before dipping for a one of a kind look.