Sign & Digital Graphics

2016 WRAPS

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2 0 1 6 • WRAPS • 91 Tools regarded as staples, for example squeegees, have even become highly specialized to fit particular needs and applications. Here is a look at some of the most popular tools on the market today, several of which are being manufactured in the U.S. A World of Squeegees The squeegee is the number one installation tool for all types of vinyl installations, and with the variety of choices, it benefits the installer to do some homework and testing to assure the proper squeegee for the job. In the end, it comes down to installer preference. Pliable Soft Squeegees—Usually sold in gold, silver and blue in various mate- rials. The four-inch standard size is the most preferred and readily available. A pliable squeegee works best when install- ing graphics with pre-mask over rivets as the squeegee is able to conform over each rivet using dragging strokes while initially laying down the vinyl. They are also used by installers that like the con- formability on corrugations and complex curved surfaces, for example. Hard Card Squeegees —These include Teflon blend, nylon and stiff plas- tic squeegees that are rigid, strong and glide smoothly across vinyl. The hard squeegees can accommodate most jobs from cut lettering and pre-masked vinyl to wall graphics. Soft Edge Squeegees—Developed for the vehicle wrap industry, these squee- gees are by far the most popular for all types of installations. The advantage of using a squeegee with a soft edge is that it eliminates scratching and marring on the surface of the vinyl during installa- tion. Available on both pliable and hard cards, the soft edge can be on one side or two sides of the squeegee. The higher-end soft-edge vehicle wrap squeegees often have a micro- fiber edge that will vary in thickness depending on the style chosen. Best at eliminating scratches, most of the micro-fiber edge squeegees can be used either dry or by wetting the edge, help- ing to glide over the vinyl without wrin- kling or scratching while at the same time reducing premature stretching and adhesion. The thicker soft edge, used wet, is the best method for installing preferred substrate wrap vinyls such as color change and chrome. Soft edge squeegees can be found in various sizes from one half inch detail squeegees up to a full 12 inches. Soft Edge Curved Squeegees—A relatively new concept in a squeegee is this specially designed ultra custom wrap installation squeegee. The soft straight edge is used as a typical soft edge squee- gee while the large curved soft edge allows the installer to develop sculpting finesse to master their own artistic style of egressing and exhausting the air from beneath the wrap, thus providing excel- lent air egress application. The curve edge can be used to hold and roll vinyl into severe crevices and groves, easily flattening the adhesive posts and collaps- ing the air channels of air-egress vinyls for permanent adhesion. Comply Power Grip—Due to its large size and wrapped edge, the com- ply squeegee will effortlessly disperse air evenly making it easy to apply large areas on flat substrates with uniform distribu- tion of pressure, assuring a bubble-free application. Other choices include clean felt squeegees that will not scratch a printed surface and squeegees with embedded magnets making it convenient to hold a knife or even graphics. For an economi- cal solution, there are stick on edges for a favorite squeegee offered in micro-fiber, felt sleeves, glass tape and Velcro. Wrap Magnets Magnets can't be beat for positioning printed graphics and color-change vinyls on a magnet attracting metal substrate (such as a passenger car, truck or van). There are several on the market, some more powerful than others. Whether using a disc style or a leather encased block style, magnets are a good tool for the installer doing graphic line-up and panel sizing. Trust them to be useful as another set of hands when needed and take advantage of their ability to hold other small metal tools such as knives and certain squeegees close at hand. Wrap magnets. The snap-off razor knife is an essential wrap installer's tool. (Image courtesy of the The Wrap Institute)

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