January '21

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7 2 G R A P H I C S P R O J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G Wrap Finish Techniques: O ne of my installers often com- ments that he likes installing graphics but hates the trim- ming. This is often the tedious part of wrapping, but finish techniques are essential both visually and from a du- rability standpoint. It's important to keep in mind that the installation of the vinyl on the vehicle, and the trimming involved in finishing a wrap, are not two separate steps. Rather, a good finish starts with a properly installed wrap. And a properly installed wrap requires an experienced and well-trained installer. EXPERIENCE When I took the 3M Pre- ferred Graphics Installer training, one of the last stations we had was wrap- ping the front bumper of an HHR. This installa- tion combined most of the techniques we had learned over three days. A few of these techniques included deep concave areas and how to feed the vinyl into these areas, proper stretch- ing over objects, working vinyl to avoid trapped air or closed air channels, fin- ishing around curves, and clean trimming to prevent lifting. Taking the class, along with years of hands-on ex- perience, means that I'm working the vinyl so that my installation will be solid before I start trimming. So how does the way I put the vinyl on the ve- hicle affect how I finish the graphics? INSTALLATION If a wrap is not installed correctly, you'll run into collapsed channels, trapped air that can lead to adhesive lines when releasing the air in a bubble, and having to lift and rework sections of vinyl before the graphics can be trimmed. Not only does this slow down the installation, but it can also lead to overheat- ed and overworked vinyl that can affect the integrity of the adhesive and the luster and texture of the vinyl used. Over the years, we've had the opportunity to work with customers needing to either re-wrap or repair a wrap they had installed by another company. In some cases, the en- tire wrap is a mess—panels are misaligned, important text is cut off on obstacles, or the wrong material was used. Sometimes the wrap might have been installed well, but the finish work is slop- py. The corners may have excess material, sloppy cuts, overlaps, and trimmed areas are jagged or lifting, and cuts are messy. Whether the entire wrap is a mess or it's primarily the finish work, both issues Let's Talk Shop Considerations in Choosing the Right Film Learning to wrap the front bumper of an HHR during my 3M training brought together multiple techniques taught during the class. (All images courtesy Charity Jackson) TIPS FOR A PROFESSIONAL, DURABLE FINISH B Y C H A R I T Y J A C K S O N

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