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 gun parts are the perfect candidate!
Hunting gear such as rifles and shotguns are perfect candidates for water transfer printing. All of the stocks and barrels are easily disassembled and easily masked, and when you find a complimentary pattern to your textured grip the result is stunning.
Check out the video above to see what it looks like when a rifle 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 issues of rifle & shotgun customizing so you know what to expect.
Since the gear will be dipped completely in water, it will need to be disassembled and any areas that cannot get wet or should not be printed on will need to be masked. Masking can be done to allow for multiple colours of paint or multiple dip patterns, or it can just be used to keep the ink out of the barrel when it is going through the dipping process.
All of the parts being dipped will need a base coat of any colour you like, followed by a hydrographic pattern that you choose from our list. If the pattern you choose is transparent, the base coat colour will shine through, and combined with a tinted clear coat, gives you an infinite number of choices.
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, and less so with camouflage prints.
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 rifle.
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.
This depends on the size of the gear we are printing and the number of parts you would like printed. If you are just looking for the stock and barrel you will be paying less than someone who wants the stock, barrel, and receiver.
When you get in touch just let us know how much you want done and we can give you a custom price.