Sign & Digital Graphics

October '14

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • October 2014 • 65 "It's not just the race cars, we'll do the monster trailers that pull the race cars, and we'll do the matching golf carts they use to pull the cars to the line. The rac- ers like everything to match," Davis says. The journey to get the cars to the starting line isn't an easy one, however. Wrapping a race car starts with the graphic designers at Kryptonite. Many sponsors are so familiar and confident with Kryptonite's work that they leave the artwork up to designers, as long as the sponsorship logo is somewhere on the car. The final design is then digitally stored, and it's up to installers to deter- mine how and where the wrap should be completed. Typically, all the foundation work for a wrap job is done at Kryptonite's shop, according to Davis. Often, if there is a shorter time frame, the wrap can be done at the racer's shop or wherever is convenient for them. But drag racing is a risky and often violent business, and wraps don't always hold up. That's why Davis has a fully stocked trailer, complete with printer, laminator and all the equip- ment needed for a full wrap project, if necessary. "It's essentially a toy hauler, so it has living quarters in the front and a garage in the back," Davis says. We use the garage portion for our equipment. It's climate-controlled so the elements aren't a problem. I have a fully function- ing design computer station in the trailer that, if desired, you could do it remotely from full design through installation." Just because it can be done remotely doesn't mean Davis prefers it that way. The primary wrap vinyl he uses for rac- ing cars is 3M IJ180cv3-10 with 3M 8518 overlaminate. The wraps are printed on a Mutoh ValueJet 1624 and a Roland XC-540, and the laminators are Seal 62 base. For something as challenging as a race car, Davis prefers all the work to be done in-house. These kinds of cars are fairly difficult, he says, because the major difference between them and street cars is that most racing cars are built with car- bon fiber shells where there are no seams and no body lines. "It's a one-piece shell," Davis says. "We take pride in our finished product here, and we do everything we can to eliminate seams, but when a car doesn't give you natural seams with doors, fend- ers and hoods, you have to be creative and hide your seams in your artwork. Another challenge about race cars is there are no natural body line breaks, and they're extremely flimsy. The cars have very lightweight and thin bodies, so you can just push on them and they'll bow in." Additionally, Davis pointed out, all the glass on a race car is Plexiglass. The windows and windshield have nuts and bolts close together that go all the way around each piece of glass. That all has to be removed before wrapping the body. "There's a lot of labor in taking pieces of the car apart before you can even wrap it that you don't do on a street car," Davis says. "There is a breakdown time that you have to factor in." If work does need to be done at a race site, the easiest thing to do—if it needs to be done entirely on location—is a trailer wrap. Most of the time, Davis says, Kryptonite routinely does bits and pieces as necessary on a fender or hood that may have been damaged in a race. "It's a labor of love, but you get to go all-out on the design," Davis says. "That's what makes you want to do a race car." SDG

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