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Applying graphics to 4x8 sheet by ones self

Discussion in 'Installation Equipment & Techniques' started by trakers, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. trakers

    trakers Very Active Member

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    Got in a situation where I needed to complete a dozen 48x96 fully coverage graphics on PolyMetal by myself. I got it done, but man it sucked. Prints were laminated 3M Print Film 40C.

    I used a large Big Squeegee, but that was less than ideal. Since it is an air egrees film, I was able to work the air out, but it took forever and wanted to bunch at the ends/corners.

    Do you ever do 48x96 installs by yourself and if so, what is your technique?
     
  2. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    We would have run 'em through the laminator :smile:
     
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  3. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    +1 Laminator. Could knock out a dozen in about an hour.
     
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  4. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    You need a laminator. Roll to roll or flatbed. Flatbed you would have to one at a time which can also be done with roll to roll, but with roll to roll you can print stopping marks all to roll and load on laminator, release liner to take up and continually feed your 4 x 8 substrate. Alignment will probably be more accurate one at a time but with guides continuous feed can be pretty accurate as well. If the panels need to butt and line up I would do one at a time. I wouldn't try doing that without a laminator.
     
  5. tim99

    tim99 Member

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    +1 on the laminator..although if your like us and don't have a laminator that size. i would hinge it and do a 2' section on one side then slowly work my way to the other side using a normal squeegee. the big squeegee is nice but it does leave alot of bubbles if you cant apply the correct pressure.

    on a side note these are cheap, I been debating on buying one for a while now and most likely will here shortly just for mounting purposes.
    51In Cold Laminator Manual Roll Laminator Vinyl Photo Film Laminating Machine | eBay
     
  6. Morph1

    Morph1 Levelup Digital

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    Felt squeegee, hinge the material half way and score the backer from the middle, unroll the backer in small increments as you squeegee along, we do 4x8 manual application in under 10 minutes,
    it's good to know how to apply manually, you can't apply window graphics with laminator...
     
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  7. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Like Morph said
     
  8. trakers

    trakers Very Active Member

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    Good tips guys. We do have a 65" laminator, didn't even think of that.
    I would like to be able to do it manually as well, so I'll give that a shot.
    Like was mentioned, especially by yourself, it is very difficult to apply even pressure with that wide of a BS.
     
  9. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Very Active Member

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    After years of manual install, this is how we do them now... best investment so far.

    On the cheap we used to use a OrangeA Laminator 51" Manual and made a stand to sit between 2 4' Long tables.
     

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  10. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    Well had he asked about applying a dozen 4x8 WINDOW PRINTS, I would have answered differently.
     
  11. signcrafters london

    signcrafters london Very Active Member

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    1. Laminator, as everyone else has said.
    2. Big Squeegie, but tape the print to an old core. Dale from Big Squeegee has the video below on how to do on Youtube.
    3. What Morph said.


    [video=youtube;3TJR6Dr5DHc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TJR6Dr5DHc[/video]
     
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  12. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    I think it's a matter of convenience, not skill for most of us...
     
  13. TXFB.INS

    TXFB.INS Very Active Member

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    use a laminator if you have it.

    a trick we found for the Big Squeegee is to fill a 54" core with small rocks, got ours from the dollar store since they were already clean, seal teh edges very good and then place that in the craddle area.
    This ensures that even pressure is applied while pushing
     
  14. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Member

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    +1 for the laminator. We always had a cheap chinese laminator for just this purpose. We use a laminating table now.
     
  15. signcrafters london

    signcrafters london Very Active Member

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    Hmm. If I ever have to use that method again, I may get a pvc pipe and try that.
     
  16. Morph1

    Morph1 Levelup Digital

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    agreed, just some of us when start off can not afford that kind of convenience.
    Just out of curiosity, would you dry apply clear printed vinyl onto a clear acrylic with laminator ? for some reason I'm always skeptical if I'll get the same quality application using laminator as if I wet applied with squeegee...
    I recently had a job that called for that kind of application and I was considering the laminator application, I was under short deadline and kind of felt uneasy running it through the laminator and did it manually ...
    It was a 4ft x 6ft - 1/4" acrylic, anyone
     
  17. TheSnowman

    TheSnowman Major Contributor

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    I'm in this boat a lot lately as we've picked up a new auction company and all they do is farm land, and 4X8's, so we'll do 2-3 of these per auction, double sided. What I've started doing (we manually laminate with the BS as well) is I'll cut a small slice out of the liner on the back with my YelloTools Bodyguard Knife, stick down a center channel just by running my finger up and down it, then I only have to lay down two 4X4 prints on each side. Leaves way less chance of skewing, and you don't have as much static buildup when you're release liner rolls up.

    I do this with cheap 3621 oracal, and rarely get any air trapped under it. The key is being on a flat surface when you do anything with the Big Squeegee.
     
  18. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    At that size we probably would have run it through the laminator. But we don't do a lot of clear prints mounted on clear acrylic. We do use if for second surface clear acrylic though, and it works great.
     
  19. Morph1

    Morph1 Levelup Digital

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    right on , I'm gonna have to try that, thx

     
  20. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Member

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    We just finished this 12' x 4' cabinet. It has a printed graphic on Avery 2050 Translucent mounted 1st surface and it has a reverse image printed on clear mounted 2nd surface. We used our laminating table. The only problem with mounting the clear using dry method is when the printed side of the clear is sliding across itself while applying. It tends to be sticky. We use a used backer paper between the surfaces and it slides with ease.

    20170118_121450.jpg
     
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