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Need Help applying without bubbles

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by tamif, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. tamif

    tamif T-N-T Designs

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    I have been doing signs for 7 yrs now and I still have a lot of problems with air bubbles. Could it be the type of vinyl I am using? Lately I am using HP prime gloss vinyl. I do not laminate my prints because I do not have a laminator. Does lamination make a huge difference that keeps the bubbles out? I have this problem with big and small prints on all different substrates. I have tried both wet and dry mount. I'm at my wits end trying to figure this out. I feel like I am not giving my customers what they deserve.
     
  2. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Is this just for substrates? Buy a manual laminator for $150 and you'll lose 99% of your bubbles.

    If you're hand applying with non air egress vinyl.... You'll likely always get bubbles. Look into a big squeegee or a manual laminator
     
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  3. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    Maybe you need a bit more soap in the water.
     
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  4. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    You need a laminator, don't sell unlaminated prints. Also use vinyls that have Rapid Air / Air Egress and you won't see a single bubble again.
     
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  5. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    It's mostly all about technique........ and then practice, practice, practice.

    Have you ever worked along side of someone who could do it without bubbles ?? If not, I would venture to say, you need to learn the correct way.

    edit: needless to say air egress, cast, calendared, laminated or not, translucent....... they all CAN be done without bubbles. Other than floating translucent onto an acrylic face, all should be done dry.​
     
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  6. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    7 years sounds like an awful lot of signs with bubbles in them. And most of them are probably faded by now too! Why not just get a laminator?

    If you’re going to do it, do it right?
     
  7. ewded

    ewded Active Member

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    The natural progress is working as an employee at a sign company to learn the basics. If you have enough money to skip this and just buy your printer you'll miss a lot, as applying the vinyl bubble free is only the first step. It needs to be applied correctly, you need to use the right material, get the right price, use the right tools and so on. Get a job as a sign maker at a medium sized company and in a years time you'll profit much more than you could every imagine even if you'll earn less. You can always restart your business when you feel ready.
     
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  8. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    Lamination won't help with the bubbles. However, it not only enhances the longevity of your product BUT it also makes your vinyl thicker and easier to handle during the application stage.

    If you're wet applying and getting bubbles, then you need more soap in your water and a keen-eye for spotting their formation.
    If you're dry applying and getting bubbles, then you need a better process of application.

    ....OR shop a vinyl product line that contains ControlTac/AirEgress/AirRelease/etc. adhesive and just dry apply everything without bubbles no problem.
    They embed a channel pattern or raised dot pattern into the adhesive, that allows the vinyl to "float" above the substrate and allow air to flow out as you squeevee center-outward. If you haven't experienced this type of vinyl, i would recommend you do ASAP. Nearly impossible to get bubbles.
     
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  9. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    ij35c is around $200 a roll or less right now. Laminating somewhat helps with bubbles, as the thicker substrate has a tendency to roll rather than tent as it's layed down.
     
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  10. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    100% about that squeegee technique. You can't just wave the thing around on top the material and except it to work. You have to know how to work it. I show all my new employees the Arlon series of videos regarding vehicle wrap installation. After watching those, there is a considerable jump up in the quality of their work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  11. tamif

    tamif T-N-T Designs

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    I have not had the privilege of working with anyone else. Would love that opportunity, but being from a small town I don't know that I would get that chance.
     
  12. tamif

    tamif T-N-T Designs

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    Are those videos available to anyone? I will definitely look into it.
     
  13. tamif

    tamif T-N-T Designs

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    It is a long time and I don't feel like I'm giving the quality my customers deserve which is why I'm trying to figure it out. So far I have never had a customer complain and have not had a problem with fading. I would love to be able to laminate I just don't have the funds to buy a laminator. I have tried the hand press lamination, but just got bubbles in it too.
     
  14. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Let me be gentle on this, as I have just put a rather large problem behind me and am feeling good, going into the weekend.

    There are no priviledges in this or anything else. You, and you alone, are responsible for what you are, where you are and what's in store for you. If you are too timid to ask someone to show you in person or cannot find a decent video, I would venture to say, you are in the wrong business. After 7 years, you can afford to do almost all of your prints wrong and admittedly they are installed poorly, but can't find the funds to buy a few thousands dollars worth of needed machinery, something is really wrong.

    Is the vinyl you're using air egress ?? Can you at least tell us that much ??

    Why is it, people come here with problems, but don't give you any information........ and getting that information is like pulling teeth ??
     
    • Like Like x 3
  15. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    Unfortunately the specific video is no longer available. Not sure when they took it offline. It was called the "wrapitright" series has mostly been set to private. I think 3M also had some videos. But the Arlon one went into a bit more detail about preventing wrinkles and such.
     
  16. Ldireprophil

    Ldireprophil Member

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    I’d recommend a $20,000 laminating table.
     
  17. tamif

    tamif T-N-T Designs

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    no money and no space to put it. We are just a mom and pop shop here.
     
  18. tamif

    tamif T-N-T Designs

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    If I was too timid to ask for help I certainly wouldn't be asking on a forum where some people tend to be rude rather than helpful. It is not that I don't ask for the help it is that there is no one to ask. There is one other sign shop in my town and he is also a one man shop and has no printer. There is a town an hour away which I wouldn't mind traveling to but I assumed they would not be willing to help someone that could potentially be a competitor. I have watched tons of videos and continue to look for videos, books, webinars, etc. I have switched over to the air egress vinyl, however this last roll I bought I apparently ordered the wrong one. It turned out to be HP prime gloss CP instead of the HP prime gloss air GP.
     
  19. tamif

    tamif T-N-T Designs

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    I do have a big squeegee and just recently got a timbermaxx. Where are you finding a laminator for $150? I will definitely look into that. Thank you
     
  20. kheebl

    kheebl Member

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    Not sure how wide your printer is but you can get a cheap manual laminator off aliexpress. here's a 62" one for fairly cheap. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/400...earchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

    I'm not sure where to get one for $150 tho unless your printer is smaller.
     
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