Water transfer printing is the name of a finishing process that is often used in the automotive industry as well as in space and aviation. The technology is also used in seafaring to achieve a specific decor. The technology is part of the surface coating process and can be applied to different objects.
Water transfer printing - what is achieved?
Water transfer printing is used to cover an object with a defined pattern. A certain decor can be achieved that makes the covered area look particularly noble. The finishing process can be used on almost all surfaces. Furthermore, three- and two-dimensional shapes can be treated with the surface coating process. Even parts that have no straight surfaces or straight edges can be finished with water transfer printing to the last crack. The method is used for example on glass, ceramics, leather, metal or plastic.
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The finishing process is often used in the automotive industry and is also interesting for the tuning scene. Water transfer printing is used, for example, to coat automotive parts such as interior trims in the well-known and popular carbon look. The process can also be used to create a classic burl wood look. The finishing process is also used in space and aviation, for example to make interior fittings or various covers look more elegant. In industry, the process is also used to refine furniture, office items and even household items.
Water transfer printing - how does the finishing work?
A so-called transfer medium is required for water transfer printing. Transfer media are specific films (foils) that are available in many patterns. As already mentioned, the root wood look and various carbon patterns are known. Basically, there are no limits to individuality because almost any surface can be created here. A water bath is necessary for the actual coating process that takes place during the finishing process. In the process, three- or two-dimensional objects are coated. The surface coating is made to fit and leads to a special look. In preparation, the parts to be coated must be provided with a basecoat. The basecoat should be kept in the desired color. For example, if you want to coat a surface with classic carbon, the basecoat should be dark. This step must be carefully considered and the right color should already be selected from a wide range of colors.
next step - the plunge pool
Water transfer printing starts when the selected design film is placed in a plunge pool. The design film lies on the surface of the plunge pool. It is activated and the decor is deposited on the surface of the water. The decor is in liquid form after being removed. The immersed object to be decorated is covered with the decorative film by the water pressure. The decorative film is transferred to the object smoothly and without transition. The object is then placed in clear lacquer and subjected to a final finish.
Water transfer printing - conclusion
Water transfer printing is a coating process that can be used to refine surfaces. Different patterns and decors can be created and the interested tuner can individualize almost every motor vehicle component as desired. We hope that the info report on the topic / term Water Transfer Printing (further names / keywords: WTD coating, water transfer film, hydrography, aerography, water transfer printing) from the field of autotuning. Our goal is that the largest German-language tuning dictionary (Tuning Wikipedia) and to explain tuning terms from A to Z easily and understandably. Almost every day we expand this lexicon and how far we are, you can HERE see. Soon the next one will be Tuning scene concept be illuminated by us. By the way, you will be informed about new topics if you have ours Feed subscribe to.
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the following is the procedure for water transfer printing:
- Clean object - the object must be cleaned with water and washing-up liquid.
- Pretreatment - Sand the surface with fine-grain sandpaper. Surfaces that have already been painted only need to be sanded with an abrasive fleece.
- Degrease - Use latex gloves or other safety gloves and clean the surface with a silicone remover or brake cleaner. After this step, clean the degreased object with a special duster. Do not touch it with your bare hands afterwards.
- Primer - Now paint the object with adhesive primer and wear a protective mask. The primer should dry for about 15 minutes. Then apply the base coat. Let dry for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not touch the surface until the base coat has dried.
- Preparing the foil decor - Cut to size with a craft knife. The film should be 5 to 10 cm larger all around than the component to be printed.
- Checking the foil decor - which side of the foil faces down into the water bath is usually noted on the foil. Moisten the thumb and index finger and loosen the foil. Place the stickier side down on the water.
- Masking off the foil decor - With masking tape you should glue a frame around the edge of the cut foil. The film does not immediately contract when it comes into contact with water. This gives you more stability.
- Prepare from the pool - the basin should be slightly larger than the piece of foil. Fill it with approx. 30 ° C warm water. Then put the foil on. NO water may get to the foil from above. Now let the foil soak for 90 seconds.
- Spray on from the activator - Shake the spray can with the activator and after the 90 seconds have elapsed, spray the film generously and evenly with the activator. Then wait 5 to 10 seconds for the film to shine.
- Diving process - Now place the component on the foil. Start with one corner and then the whole area. Slowly press the foil with the object under the water. The immersion process should not take longer than 20 seconds.
- Wash off the object - Simply rinse off the remaining jelly-like foil residues with warm water. Attention: the surface is very sensitive after printing.
- Surface finish - After a drying time of 24 hours, the component can be sealed with clear lacquer spray.
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