- Monday - Friday-10:00am to 05:00pm
Hydrographics is also called water transfer printing, Hydro dipping, 3D printing, cubic printing and fluid imaging. This new printing technology is based on a water-soluble film, upon which printed patterns of ink are applied. This film base dissolves in the water, leaving the ink behind. The ink then adheres to any item placed into it. The Hydrographic or Water Transfer Printing process provides us with the unique ability to transfer patterns such as carbon-fibre, wood grain, marble, stone and camouflage onto your car, motorbike, fashion accessories, home decor and consumer goods of all shapes and sizes and is widely used in the:
A wide variety of products and materials such as metals, woods, glass, plastics and fibreglass can be dipped Everything from furniture, fashion accessories, motor vehicle parts and flat or 3-D objects can be printed with ease. Most items which are not harmed by being submersed in water and do not absorb water can be dipped.
Preparation is key to a successful water transfer. Most product surfaces are cleaned before applying a special primer, which adheres to the item and accepts the inks of the printed decoration. If necessary, objects to be dipped are base painted. This determines the pattern's colour, such as the white in camouflage or the brown used in a wood grain.
The pattern or image is then printed on water-soluble polyvinyl film and placed in a vat designed specifically for water-transfer printing. Sliding baffles keep the printed film in place to achieve a good decoration.
Printed film is sprayed with a chemical activator, which dissolves the film allowing the pattern to float on the water in an almost liquid form.
Water follows the contours of the part and forces the inks to penetrate the basecoat. After being fully immersed, the part is removed from the water and the eye can immediately see that the part has taken-on the colour and design of the original pattern. Because the graphic is only a few microns thick, decoration is possible for flexible plastic products such as ski goggles, and even moulded parts including ATV bonnets, car bumpers and related components. Many sizes and shapes can be decorated from firearms and instrument panels to games controllers.
After immersion, the product is rinsed and dried.
In the final process step, the decorated product is covered with an automotive-grade urethane. This gives the object a glossy or matte shine, depending on your preference. The urethane also acts as a protector from harmful UV rays and chemicals that may ruin the pattern. When the final coat has dried, the object is sanded and polished to shine.
We only use the highest grade materials. All items receive a durable clear coat in either a'high gloss, semi-gloss or matte finish as a final stage of the process. This final process will ensure that your item is fully protected from the elements, to the extent of the final lacquer finish on a car or motorbike.
Our turnaround time for items to be "dipped" is approximately 7 working days, dependent on the preparation work involved in your item. At busy times this may need to be extended but we will inform you of this when you book your items in. If possible, we could also offer an expedited service, additional costs will be incurred.