GRAPHICS PRO

WRAPS '21

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2 0 2 1 • WRAPS • 49 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M sources and each has their place. I'll start in order of the methods that we use most. We've become big fans of infrared heaters over the last few years. Prior to knowledge of IR heat, installers would mostly heat the vinyl with a torch or heat gun and then remove a little, and go back to heating. This cycle was repeated again and again. The beauty of an IR heater (that is mounted to a stand with wheels) is that you may place the heater ahead of your work area and scoot it along as you go. These heaters also heat large areas with sustained heat reten- tion. Think of a vehicle surface as a large heat sink, drawing your heat away from your isolated work area. IR heaters can heat large areas that in turn hold their heat longer. All these advantages allow you to move quicker by focusing more on pulling vinyl without the nuisance of picking up a heating tool repeatedly. Do use caution to keep that IR heater moving, as it never stops heating when left in place. You can burn paint and melt plastics if the IR heater is left in place too long. Eventually, you learn the sweet spot in timing and distance from the vehicle that works with your specic heater. In short, get yourself an IR heater on wheels and keep it moving. Another popular heating tool is a steamer. Steam is quite ef- fective as the moisture transfers heat very efciently to the surface and penetrates the vinyl quickly. That moisture also offers a level of heat sustenance, with residual hot moisture on the surface as you work. The only downside to steamers is most "pod" type steamers heat a smaller area than IR heaters, but are surely not as bulky. Next are heat guns. Heat guns are inexpensive and do work over a reasonable-sized work area. Like us, you likely already have at least a few for the installation process. As for the negatives, they are not as fast as a steamer, and unlike torches, they have an electrical cord in the way. Don't to forget to wrap your heat gun tips with thermal silicone tape. Finally, propane torches are nice as they can heat quickly and are cordless. The downside is that they do heat relatively small areas and have little surface heat sustenance. I prefer to use torches when I have a small area to remove, for small cut lettering, or when an electric outlet is not available. Removals come to us all in many varieties, and so do our meth- ods. I've found that various installers throughout our industry have their preferred methods. In the end, the best advice I can offer is don't burn yourself (or the vehicle) and give your ngertips rest on those nasty removals. Top: If the wrap you are removing is less than five years old and the ve- hicle has its original factory paint, you can expect today's high-quality vinyl to be removed smoothly. Above: If the wrap you are removing is older than five years or the paint of the vehicle is breaking down, you can expect either clear coat or the paint itself to peel off. Be sure to make it clear to your customer what this could mean for the vehicle. Images courtesy of Charity Jackson. " We've become big fans of infrared heaters over the last few years. "

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