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We're setting up our hydrographic gear as we speak. Who wants to be the first in line to get dipped? Contact us here or give us a call at (250) 386-0615. Appointments begin Monday!

Posted by Island Detail and Island Color on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Got Rims? Dip 'Em!

Water Transfer Printing, also known as Hydrographic Printing, allows patterns and designs to be applied to irregularly shaped objects. Any object that can hold a base coat and be safely submerged in water can be dipped. This means that rims are the perfect candidate!

Since many, if not most, of our patterns are transparent, you are able to customize your base coat colour, pattern choice, and clear coat tinting to make an infinite number of custom possibilities.

Check out the video above to see what it looks like when a rim goes through the dipping process, then read below to learn how it is done and how you can set up an appointment for yourself.

Rim Printing
/ Set

Choice base coat
Any Pattern You Like
Tinted Clear Coat

Hydrographics on Rims? This is what we do.

When it comes to the basics of water transfer printing, you can read the section below to see all of the steps you will go through with our team to pick out your base and clear coats and choose a pattern. Here we will discuss the specific issues of rim customizing so you know what to expect.

Since the rims need to be in good shape before we can paint and dip them, they sometimes need repair. We have extensively covered rim repair, which we do at our shop as well, and we can do a small add on to each rim that needs repair to keep the cost as low as possible. You can read about rim repair here.

Once your rims are smooth and free from any curb rash, we paint the base coat. If you are using a transparent film, you can choose the colour of your base coat as it will shine through the finished product.

After the base coat dries, we prepare the film and float it in our tank. We add activating agents to make it adhere, and we dip the rim to get a perfectly even application of your pattern. This is especially important when it comes to visibly symmetrical patterns, like carbon fibre.

We usually do a wet sand of the dip at this point to get it as smooth as humanly possible before we add the clear coat. Once it is smooth and dry, we apply up to 5 coats of clear coat, tinted with any colour that you like, to give a three dimensional glossy or matte finish to your rims.

The Steps to Water Transfer Printing

Water Transfer Printing is a five step process where any waterproof 3d object is prepped, printed, and preserved using extremely specialized equipment and techniques. Here is how we do it:

  1. Film Selection: You begin by choosing a texture or pattern from our library of hundreds of water printing films. We carry images related to Hunting, Camouflage, Automotive, Animal Prints, Metal, Stone and Marble, and Royalty Designs.
  2. Base Painting: In most cases, a base colour coat is applied to the objects which are being processed. For instance, wood grain designs often look better with a brown shade base coat; metallic prints benefit from a silver or grey coat. We provide a wide colour variety of water based paints, which are ideal for Hydrographic printing. Part of the versatility comes in choosing the desired base coat. Patterns will appear radically different depending on the underlying base coat applied.
  3. Preparing the film: The Hydrographic film is carefully placed on the water’s surface in the dipping tank. The clear film is water soluble, and dissolves, leaving only the pattern floating on the water. Surface tension will allow the pattern to curve around any shaped surface.
  4. Activation: Any remaining residue is then rinsed off thoroughly. The ink has already adhered and will not wash off. It is then allowed to dry.
  5. Clear Coating: After a close quality control inspection, the printed objects can be clear coated to protect the surface, and to provide a shiny appearance.

Rim Printing FAQ

Do I need an appointment?

You sure do! Just click right here and we can schedule you in at any time that suits your schedule.

What is the turn around time?

Because each stage requires drying and sanding you can expect a job of this size to turn around in about a week.

Are there ever extra costs?

The only extra cost comes if you need rim repair before dipping. We charge $50 per damaged rim to remove the curb rash and prime it before base coating and dipping.


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