Hydrographics on motorcycle equipment looks insane! We are taking our first appointments this week so if you need some of your riding gear customized give us a call at (250) 386-0615 or contact us here: http://bit.ly/1A3ueFhPosted by Island Detail and Island Color on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
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. Motorcycle helmets have a long history of customization, but airbrushing can be exceedingly expensive. This dipping process allows you a completely custom look without the custom price tag.
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 helmet goes through the dipping process, then read below to learn how it is done and how you can set up an appointment for yourself.
Choice base coat
Any Pattern You Like
Tinted Clear Coat
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 choices you will have when you are planning out your helmet customization.
Helmets are already painted and clear coated, generally speaking, so the first step for us is to sand it down and smooth out any little imperfections, which is key, especially for helmets that have been heavily used already. We then mask off the areas that you do not want to get wet and the areas that you do not want printed. We can mask several areas to do two tone patterns and colours, just consult with us first and we will let you know what is possible.
Once the helmet is clean and smooth, 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 helmet to get a perfectly even application of your pattern. This is especially important when it comes to visibly symmetrical patterns, like carbon fibre or checkerboard patterns.
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 helmet.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Because each stage requires drying and sanding you can expect a job of this size to turn around in about a week.
The range we give in the price box above is in case a customer is looking for a two tone dip, where we mask off areas to dip two different patterns or two different paint types. You can see a helmet like that in burl wood and checks in the portfolio below. Otherwise, if it is just a straight dip, you can get in at the base price.