Cleaning Vinyl Graphics

Sign makers should assume that many of their customers will do some pretty stupid things when cleaning graphics. For this reason they must provide the end user with instruction covering proper cleaning and care of any graphics.  When I sold fleet graphics, many years ago, I would give my customers an instruction sheet which included the do’s and don’ts listed below:

1. Take extra care when cleaning graphics with a pressure sprayer.  If you have ever user this equipment, you know that you can literally blow a baked on factory finish off of the metal.  I’ve done it myself! Just think what excessive pressure does to a graphic. Read more »

Faux Finishes

My flight out of New Orleans wasn’t leaving for several hours.  Just a few miles from the airport, was the antebellum Destrehan plantation overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. So I had plenty of time to take the guided tour. Walking through the mansion, the marble mantles and sides of some of the fireplaces caught my […] Read more »

What Causes Ink Adhesion Problems?

The $64 question is: what causes ink adhesion problems when screen printing polycarbonate film?  While some have suggested moisture absorption as the culprit, the most likely candidate is exposure  to UV light and oxygen.  As the polycarbonate absorbs UV light, it excites the photons of the atoms, which in turn creates free radicals. Free radicals […] Read more »

Screen Printing on Polycarbonate

Painting is not the only solution for decorating plastic signfaces. For high-volume  jobs, screen printing is an economical solution. In selecting an ink system, ask your screen print supply distributor for a recommendation. The technical bulletin  will give you printing recommendations. The type of mesh, squeegee, stencil and thinners are a few of the variables […] Read more »

Painting Polycarbonate Sheet

The extraordinary clarity of polycarbonate makes it an excellent substrate for backlit signs.  Generally, but not always, the sheet is sprayed on its second surface. Because the paint faces the inside of the sign cabinet, it is protected from the elements. Any painting done on the first surface of the sign face must be clear […] Read more »

Vinyl Application to Polycarbonate Sheet

Even if polycarbonate sheet was covered with a surface protection film, you should always consider the surface contaminated. That means that you must clean the sign face before applying the graphics. Before you prep the substrate with a solvent or detergent, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions. For most plastic-sheet applications, the most reliable cleaning method […] Read more »

Hygroscopic Plastics

Outgassing: Problems Arising Out Of Thin Air Some plastics can absorb moisture from the air.  These materials fall into the category called “hygroscopic plastics”.  The best known product in this group is polycarbonate. It’s not, however, the only hygroscopic plastic. Nylon and polyester can also absorb water vapor. Read more »

Mottling and what to do about it

Have you ever occasionally noticed a dull, hazy or blotchy appearance on the surface of some vinyl films or overlaminates? This is a condition called mottling.  There’s no reason to get too excited. While this hazy appearance certainly detracts from the aesthetic appeal of your graphics, mottling can easily be remedied, which I will explain […] Read more »

The Importance of Fire Inspections

A Proactive Approach to Reducing the Risk of Fire The old saying, “forewarned is forearmed”, should remind us that conducting regular fire inspections is the best way to keep the incidence of fires low.  By identifying fire hazards in your shop, you can correct them before they cause a fire. Read more »

Surface Preparation of Unpainted Aluminum

How to Remove Oxidation on Aluminum Many years ago, some of the tankers and trailers had unpainted aluminum skins.  Direct application of pressure-sensitive vinyl graphics to these surfaces often resulted in adhesion failures. The cause of adhesion problems on aluminum is usually oxidation on the surface of the metal. Whether you are applying an emblem […] Read more »