Awards & Engraving

September '19

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A&E SEPTEMBER 2019 • 17 Step Three: After we have our pieces cut, the next step is to sublimate our hardboard. This transfer was printed on a Sawgrass VJ628 with sawgrass inks. The first step is to remove the protec- tive plastic coating from the surface of the hardboard. After you peel away the protective coating, line up your hardboard onto your transfer sheet. It helps to leave a 1/8" bleed around the artwork to give some margin of error. If you live in an area that has high levels of moisture in the air, I recommend pre-pressing the hardboard for 60 seconds by itself to draw out any unwanted moisture. Moisture can cause issues for your sublima- tion inks as everything heats up and starts to turn to a gas state. You can also lay the transfer under the heat press without dropping down the heat platen; instead, let it hover over the transfer to draw out any excess moisture. To adhere the sublimation transfer to the hardboard, you can use either heat resistant tape or a repositionable spray. Once we have our transfer adhered to our hardboard, we can begin pressing. Press settings: • 400 F • 3 minutes • Layering bottom to top: • Teflon or scratch paper • Hardboard (face up) • Transfer (face down) • Teflon or scratch paper Step Four: After the hardboard has been sublimated, the next step is cutting our vinyl. The first thing needed is to load our etched vinyl into our plotter cutter. Once the vinyl is loaded, we can send our vector art file to the plotter cutter. For this particular sign, I want a second surface installation so I'm going to cut the vinyl in reverse. If the substrate is transparent, like glass or acrylic, we have the option to cut the vinyl right-reading and apply to the top, or first surface, or we can cut the design in reverse and install to the back side (second surface) so when looking through the transparent substrate, you can still read the content correctly. Cutter settings: • Force: 18 • Speed: 40 • Blade: 45 degrees Step Five: Once the vinyl has been cut, the next step is to remove the excess vinyl in and around our artwork. This process is referred to as weeding. Step Six: After the design has been weeded, the vinyl needs to be transferred from the backing paper it is currently on to the surface of the acrylic. This requires transfer paper, also known as application tape or pre-mask. Transfer paper is an adhe- sive paper that can either be a transparent plastic or an opaque paper base. Transfer paper comes in three levels of adhesive strength: low, medium, and high. As a rule of thumb, the larger the graphic, the lower the adhesive strength required. For this project, I use a plastic, medium strength transfer paper.

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