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Air bubbles 6 months later...

Discussion in 'Vinyl' started by stoliker, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. stoliker

    stoliker Premium Subscriber

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    Can someone please tell me why this is bubbling? Did a job last fall 3 foot by 16 foot. Stripped the old vinyl of a piece of lexan, cleaned with adhesive remover and let set an hour. Cleaned with alcohol. Let set another hour. Applied 3M IJ-35C from signs365 by hand because our shop isn't big enough to use the laminator for a piece that long. Looked great when it left. Stopped in last week to deliver some shirts and noticed bubbles everywhere. The sign is west facing six feet of the ground. We are in Michigan so its not crazy hot here. Any ideas?
    Thanks!
     

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  2. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Active Member

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    Bubbles are between the vinyl and the substrate or the vinyl and the laminate?
     
  3. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

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    We've had this happen before....I have absolutely no idea why.

    The only thing that was different on the jobs that this happened on was that we used a calendered (non-translucent, since signs weren't backlit) vinyl and matte laminate. In our case we had used Avery 2923 EZ Apply and Avery DOL 2080 matte.

    We've used this material combination of hundreds of ACM signs without any issue so I have no idea why it would behave differently on lexan.

    I've read comments here about lexan needing to "offgas" after the liner is pulled off....but that wouldn't explain anything in your case if it's an old face.
     
  4. stoliker

    stoliker Premium Subscriber

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    Appears to be between the substrate and vinyl but I have been wrong before. Whats the best way to tell?
     
  5. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Oh wow, I've had the problem with Poly carbonate too. I applied black Oracal 751 as the background with cut out letters (white) and after 1-2 days there were thousands of tiny bubbles everywhere!! I thought maybe it was because it was humid outside when I applied it (It was 20' long and couldn't do it in my tiny-house) Thankfully it wasn't noticeable 30' up but I was confused as to what happened.
     
  6. letterman7

    letterman7 Very Active Member

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    You'll have to pull the face and peel back a corner to the first bubble to see what's going on. My best guess is that not all the adhesive remover was removed, despite wiping the face with alcohol. Lexan is finicky.. If you can pull the sheet to the bubble and check underneath you may find it's "greasy".. surface contamination. Lexan is somewhat porous, so any adhesive remover will get into those pores and stay there. What did you use as a remover?
     
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  7. klingsdesigns

    klingsdesigns Active Member

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    We have had that happen before. Only thing i can think of is out gassing or lexan got too hot.
     
  8. stoliker

    stoliker Premium Subscriber

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    The old vinyl was cheap and came off in small pieces.
     
  9. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    This might be the case with me. The spots that had the bubbles were where the sun hit the black.
     
  10. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    It does appear to be some sort of contamination. Could be the prep method you used. Did you use any liquid of any sorts to aid in applying the vinyl ?? Since it's air egress vinyl, did you post heat it ??
     
  11. stoliker

    stoliker Premium Subscriber

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    applied dry. I did not post heat because it was a flat surface and appeared to be adhering good. Is it typical to need to post heat in this sort of application?
     
  12. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Supposedly, yes.

    Anytime you use air egress vinyl, it's almost normal not to get all of the air out of the thousands of tiny channels, especially with something of this size, so you need to heat it and make sure they get passed through. Aggressive squeegeeing can prevent this and you said you did this last fall..... outside, so it's quite possible lotsa air was left behind. Eventually with expansion and contraction, sun and evening air temperatures, the leftover air will travel and form larger bubbles as you have shown.

    Think about it, when you're in your shop and you squeegee the air out by hand.... doesn't it form larger bubbles as you push it out ?? Well, this is kinda the same thing, but takes more time as it travels according to the air temperatures and conditions.
     
  13. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    For all of those with out or off gassing on their minds: Vinyl is gas-permeable.

    A far more plausible explanation is that the vinyl didn't adhere properly in the suspect locations.
     
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  14. brycesteiner

    brycesteiner Member

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    I've had this exact same thing happen here. It only happens with signs facing west. We did one several years ago that was two sided. The east side is fine but the side facing west has all kinds of large bubbles under it now. We did not use air egress vinyl as we just laminated it on. I explained it that it was the combination of heat from the afternoon/evening sun in addition to the florescent bulbs.
    We are working with the client to get LED's now.
    I don't know if the explanation was right or not but it was the only thing that seemed to make sense to me.
     
  15. VanderJ

    VanderJ Take two Dampers and Call me in the Morning

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    Recently I had a customer who had a similar issue and it turned out to be the Lexan. It absorbs some of the application fluid and then when it gets hot it expands and creates bubbles according to FDC. You should wait 24 hours after the adhesive remover and then apply dry.
     
  16. stoliker

    stoliker Premium Subscriber

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    All very good explanations and thanks for all the great info!! Anyone have a source for 3' by 16' material other then lexan? I have 9 more of these to bid if I want them and none are backlit so a different board may help eliminate these issues. Thanks again everyone!
     
  17. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    If they're not illuminated and have a full cover print I would think ACM with vhb'd batten might work.
     
  18. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    From my experience this is from either using low tack vinyl or a matte vinyl, or else it's a degassing issue.
     
  19. signbrad

    signbrad Member

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    What is FDC?
     
  20. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    FDC Graphics Films, Inc
     
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