Sign & Digital Graphics

July '17

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • July 2017 • 47 that we also ran into was the ability to get really low on the vehicle. We had a few rolling stools that had an adjustable hydraulic seat with a round storage tray that met most of our needs, but it simply didn't get low enough. So, with sore backs from leaning over we would then use a mechanics creeper and lie or sit on it to get lower. Not the easiest thing to get on and off of and not really comfortable. A year or so ago we found the chairs we currently use. They quickly can be adjusted to go from a regular cushioned rolling stool, to a rolling seat (with back- rest) that sits inches above the ground to a flat cushioned rolling creeper. There are also rolling seats that you can quickly kneel on. Whatever chair you choose, find one that is both comfortable and easy to change positions on. Since you'll spend hours on it, be sure it works for you. Hanging Tools Once the vehicle is cleaned, we'll hang our graphics. Now if it's a color-change wrap you may just apply the solid color panels without having to pre-hang, but let's assume it's a print wrap and we're setting up panels that we'll have to align. Magnets are a great tool for hanging up multiple panels, or even large sheets of graphics. Depending on the magnet used you can often slide the whole panel to make minor adjustments without hav- ing to remove any magnets. There are low-profile magnets, mag- nets with handles and magnets with flexible fabric (felt) covers. Personally, I prefer Image One Impact's low-profile yellow magnets as they don't distort the vinyl if I flip it over the magnet and they also slide easily if I need to adjust a panel. There are plenty of vehicles out there though where magnets won't be of help. If the vehicle or trailer has an aluminum or fiberglass side then the magnets won't stick. On these vehicles a good masking tape is another essential tool. We've used the same 2" wide masking tape from Bron Tape for more than 20 years. It gives us the right amount of adhesion. Measuring Tools Once the graphics are hung, you'll need to check that the panels are straight. A tape measure is a simple solution but of course there are a multitude of options available. We prefer a tape measure that locks in place on its own and doesn't retract until you push a button. Another handy measuring tape is a flexible, soft tape measure that allows you to smoothly measure over contours and obstacles. GeekWraps also offers their Power Slam Tape, which is a magnetic measuring tape that makes solo measur- ing an easier task. Cutting Tools Before we get to trimming tools and blades, I wanted to talk about the cutting tools we use for cutting backing paper from hung graphics. A good sharp pair of scissors can do the trick, but there are better tools available that will help avoid scratching the vehicle. GeekWraps Vinyl Wrap Ripper is a newer tool with replaceable blades that can cut both the backing paper and the vinyl itself. Another simple option is a snitty-type paper slitting tool. These are widely available in inexpensive plastic dis- posable options, or more expensive ergo- nomic knives with changeable blades, like the Martor Snitty Safety Knife. Squeegees Getting those graphics on the vehicle is where the right tools come into play to achieve both the best results and the most efficient application. Let's look at squeegees. There are hard-sided and soft-sided squeegees with many different plastic edge options for a stiffer or more flexible application. Some glide smoother than others, while others offer a little firmer pressure. Hard squeegees are typically used on masked vinyl but are also handy for tucking in graphics. Soft-edge squeegees are used when you're squeegeeing directly against the Keeping your tools both organized and close-at-hand creates efficiency during your installations.

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