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Big Squeegee - laminate produces "micro bubbles"

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by kffernandez, May 16, 2011.

  1. kffernandez

    kffernandez Member

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    hi all!

    i recently purchased a few big squeegee products, and had good results installing vinyl.

    but when i tried using the BS to matte laminate my prints - i noticed that there seemed to be "micro bubbles" sandwiched between my lamination film and print [in all areas]. let me make it clear that these bubbles aren't like the usual ones you see during vinyl install. the lamination surface is still smooth and buldge free. but since it is clear, you can obviously see discolorations in the surface due to trapped "micro bubbles" inside. Before getting my BS, i used to do all my laminations with wet installs - and they were always perfectly clear of any bubbles whatsoever.

    btw, when i try to squeegee the "micro bubbles" - they actually formed real, normal bubbles.

    i have tried using a 56" Laminator Tool with black felt, a 38" cradle tool with white cotton strip, and a 20" yard sign tool with white cotton strip as well. the worse performers were my 56" and 38" tools. the closest one to being perfect was my 20" tool. but that was bec i increase the downward pressure to try to get a better contact on the surface. [from what i've read in this forum, this is inherently wrong. i'm supposed to use more of a forward pressure... rather than downward pressure]

    i hope that i'm just missing something. most of my work involves small jobs up to 4'x8' in size, so the BS is a perfect tool for me. if only it would work on my laminations.


    kelly
     
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  2. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Sounds like "silvering".
     
  3. kffernandez

    kffernandez Member

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    doesn't silvering look like tiny hairs trapped inside? or does it apply to general area discolorations as well?

    i'm talking about the whole laminated area having these "micro bubbles."
     
  4. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Post a picture of the offending area.
     
  5. kffernandez

    kffernandez Member

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    here's a pic of my matte lamination. please forgive the quality of the print and the picture.

    you'd notice that the lower half is a bit better than the upper half. i manually squeegee'd the lower half to get that result. if i were to do my usual wet install on my lamination here, there will be no discoloration whatsoever.

    so, is this the usual silvering that supposed to go away tom? or am i going about this wrong somehow?

    thanks in advance!


    kelly
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Jack Knight1979

    Jack Knight1979 Very Active Member

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    Looks like silvering. Everything I lam with the BS has this for about a day and then looks perfect.

    If it's staying longer than a day you need to apply more pressure.
    I also hand squeegee everything I run with the BS to ensure even contact between the laminate and the print.
     
  7. kffernandez

    kffernandez Member

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    thanks jack! that was exactly what i was hoping for.
    tho i was wondering about your hand squeegee step. i noticed that when i hand squeegee it right after running it through the BS, it had a tendency to produce a few very small bubbles. have you encountered that scenario? or will it go away soon enough as well?

    kelly
     
  8. Jack Knight1979

    Jack Knight1979 Very Active Member

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    That's the reason I hand squeegee. Sometimes I will get some smaller bubbles after that step. The smaller ones will dissipate in a day or so. Bigger ones will take longer, so usually pop any larger ones. The micro ones I leave alone.

    Micro bubbles will go away. Any bubble that makes a dome shape like an actual bubble must be popped in most cases.
     
  9. rushworks graphics

    rushworks graphics Very Active Member

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    thats silvering...........will disappear on its own after a short while.
     
  10. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    +1 silvering

    little heat during application takes this right out... or even prior to application if you're careful not to destroy your graphic with too much heat.
     
  11. kffernandez

    kffernandez Member

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    thanks all for the BS tips. i've heard about silvering lotsa times - and even read dave's note about it being normal. but since i've always wet applied all my laminations, i didn't really know what it looked like.

    hehe. now, i kinda feel dumb. don't you just love these instances when you're humbled by your own ignorance? :p

    thanks again!
     
  12. rushworks graphics

    rushworks graphics Very Active Member

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    hey.........if you have never seen it before, you weren't to know! lol.........now you do, and can pass on the knowledge to someone else.
     
  13. john1

    john1 Guest

    Yep, Silvering goes away after a day or two. I was too concerned when i first started seeing it.

    When i use oracal gloss laminate it takes about a day, day and half and when i use a luster 3m laminate it takes about a day. I find it best to contour cut after the silvering has gone away for best results.

    I'd think a matte lam would maybe take more time, not sure.

    I laminate, roll up with print on outside, and store it until a day or two then i contour cut and send to customer. Don't squeegee after laminating, Just laminate, roll up or leave flat and wait.
     
  14. kffernandez

    kffernandez Member

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    anybody know why it goes away?:popcorn:
     
  15. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    Because vinyl is gas permeable.

    From the picture that was posted, someone's concept of silvering is radically different from my own. Those are bubbles.

    With the Big Squeegee those usually are caused by lack of uniform pressure across the entire squeegee. Often the result of trying to push the squeegee with one hand while you wrangle the backing with the other. With two hands it's a whole hell of a lot easier to maintain the requisite constant pressure.

    Try the double-faced tape solution as seen on You Tube. Once you get the hang of it it works perfectly, no bubbles and minimal silvering.
     
  16. kffernandez

    kffernandez Member

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    really? with all the talk about outgasing, i kinda assumed that vinyl was simply air tight. thanks for that info.

    admittedly, i'm guilty of the one hand pushing and one hand wrestling with other stuff scenario. i'll try to organize my work area in order to try to improve on my application.

    i saw that video before. but couldn't really understand the concept behind it, aside from the idea that dave wanted the roll to be consistently tight, and rolled evenly. i wasn't even sure where exactly i'm supposed to put the double sided tape.
    care to explain it a bit?

    thanks!


    kelly
     
  17. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

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    The double sided tape is to lift up the leading edge and to pull the backing off ahead of the squeegee. The tight roll keeps the backing coming off ahead of the tool.

    Some bubbles may be from trying too hard. Never twist the tools to get more pressure. It is better to raise the back up to get more downward pressure.

    Dale
     
  18. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    Admittedly, it's not intuitive. Far from it. The best thing to do is to set up to laminate a print, watch the video, then with the video fresh in your mind, run over and proceed with the lamination.

    You might want to try it a couple of times on some scrap, the feel is somewhat different from what you're used to. It's trivially more time consuming to set up but, once you get the feel of it, it produces far more consistent results than one hand on the squeegee and one hand on the backing.
     
  19. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

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    Although I will say it might dissapate over time it has a lot to do with the actual laminate itself. there are so many different types out there. Some take longer to smooth out.

    I ran some large prints about a year ago and used the big squeegee and DRYTAC laminate. Everything looked good when they went down with the usual haze that goes away, but the next day the haze looked more like bubbles and lots of them. The prints were ruined in my eyes and I wrestled with them trying heat guns, laying them outside in the sun...anything to avoid reprinting. After 3 days I knew I had to reprint. I figured I had not used enough pressure with the BS and ruined them.
    I reprinted and used a different laminate and they went out fine.
    The original prints I saved, and left them in the back shop as it made me sick to think i would throw out so much printed vinyl. After about a month I had to move them somewhere else and I grabbed the rolls and casually looked at them.
    They were perfect!!! there was not a bubble to be seen and I started looking through them all and all were mint. Naturally i called the client and told them I had 10 prints here if they needed them and could offer them a good price.
    Damn things are still here as I wait for the next order lol
     
  20. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Is there a video of this?
     
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