Sign & Digital Graphics

July '17

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48 • July 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S WRAPS DIGITAL GRAPHICS vinyl. The soft edge is usually a felt cov- ering that protects the graphics against scratches. There are squeegee options where the entire squeegee is a soft felt material, while many combine a plastic squeegee with a felt covering on one or both edges. Some of the soft edges are designed specifically for wet applications. The squeegee options don't end there. They're also offered in many different shapes and sizes. One of the handier small squeegees we've added to our tool kit is from GeekWraps and has a hooked plas- tic edge. It's the Mighty Micro Squeegee and is great for tucking vinyl into door jambs and getting into tighter areas. A tool that multi-tasks is also an ideal feature. The Mighty Micro squeegee also has a couple slits in it that you can put your blade in. One slit is set to an 1/8" distance, the second slit is 1/4" dis- tance. By placing the 90-degree edge of the squeegee against the edge of a win- dow you can slide it around the window and cut a clean edge through perf win- dow film. Wrap Gloves Until the recent training class I hadn't tried the wrap gloves out too much. Once I took the time to experiment with them I realized how much gloves can speed up your installation. The gloves protect your hand against the heat from the heat gun while allowing your fingers to easily slide over the surface of the vinyl. Using your fingers also presses the vinyl into contours that a straight squee- gee just doesn't move into smoothly. Most bubbles or wrinkles that you may get can also be felt right away and dealt with before you get too far. I've worked with at least three differ- ent brands of wrap gloves and they all seemed to work well. It will come down to personal preference and fit. Channel Applicator Tools So many newer model vans have deep channels, which makes it diffi- cult to apply the vinyl down into these channels without the proper tools. 3M's channel applicator tools, the VCAT-2 and the Roller L (large) are both handy tools for applying graphics into these channels while eliminating bubbles. The Roller S (small) tool is a great post application tool. Coupled with heat and Tape Primer these tools both speed the application process and help you achieve the best results. Check out 3M's product bulletins to review proper installation techniques. Heat Sources A good heat source is one of the most important tools used during a vehicle wrap. The heat allows you to both shrink and stretch the vinyl as needed during the installation process. A propane torch works great for vinyl removal but a heat gun gives you more controlled heat. Since post heating is a slow, even process a heat gun is necessary to achieve this. A propane torch is quick, super heat that you simply can't control. Heat guns come in a wide range of prices and options. Digital readings, multiple fan options, built-in surface temperature readings, programmable temperature settings and quick heat up are just a few of the options you'll find. If you don't want to invest in a heat gun with a built-in surface temperature reader, you can purchase them separate from one another. I know from experi- Squeegees and tucking tools are available in a variety of brands, shapes and sizes. Choose the ones that work for you. A wrap tool should primarily satisfy two requirements to make it worth purchasing: efficiency and better results.

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