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Liquid Laminate on Trailer Wrap

Discussion in 'Vehicle Wraps' started by Prairie Portable, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. Prairie Portable

    Prairie Portable Member

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    Good Day everyone. Wondering if anyone has had success using liquid laminate for flat trailer wraps. My main business is billboard advertising so all my printing is not laminated. I recently had an inquiry from a friend of mine about wrapping both sides of his 14 foot trailer with some of his business information. I'm interested in tackling this as it's good experience and trailers are something I have thought about getting into in the future. Currently I am not set up to laminate anything in large runs. I don't want to attempt applying laminate with my Big Squeegee and I'm not interested in investing in a roll laminator for a single job. That leaves me with two options. 1. I go the liquid lam route or 2. I outsource the lamination to someone else if I can find someone willing to do that in my area. Looking for any tips you may have.
     
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  2. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    I personally think liquid laminate is only good for jobs that don't need abrasion resistance. So I would not personally use it on a vehicle wrap, though I do know that people here have used it and praise it's life expectancy properties on vehicle graphics. If you're in the USA, there are multiple merchant members here that can wholesale you some cast wrap graphics or something intermediate designed for box trucks and rivets.
     
  3. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

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    Do a cost analysis on buying the panels from a wholesale printer vs doing it yourself.
     
  4. Prairie Portable

    Prairie Portable Member

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    Wholesale printers are really not feasible for me. I'm in Canada and do not have one in my province which means I'm forced to ship. I also have the vinyl in house already. I'm not really looking for answers on what wholesalers to use. My main question is should I have the lamination outsourced to a local shop that may give me a bit of a break on price, or should I use liquid lam.
     
  5. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    You can use liquid lam. Some forum users have remarked that they had to install wraps provided by beer companies that were liquid lam. It makes the installation more difficult because the handling characteristics change vs. a vinyl laminate. And it's not as durable against scuffing.
     
  6. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    I think both of our responses answer that question then. Gather your info, tell the customer, and then let the customer decide. Potentially cheaper liquid lam vs more durable film lamination.
     
  7. ewded

    ewded Member

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    Can you avoid printed vinyl at all? Usually I apply a base color first and apply text cut vinyl over it.
     
  8. Prairie Portable

    Prairie Portable Member

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    No. The design is image based and will require printing.
     
  9. ewded

    ewded Member

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    There are very cheap manual laminators on ebay for like $100, I never use heat on my electric one anyway.
     
  10. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Very Active Member

    Most liquid lam graphics are cast and masked before installation because the material is so thin. You might get away with high end calendared vinyl and liquid lam for installation purposes... The biggest drawback besides the lack of longevity is removal. Removing liquid lam in 3 to 5 years is pain, which will make the total cost a lot more expensive than just laminating it.
     
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  11. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    What material are you using?


    As mentioned if it's a cast it'll be very very thin. You'll have to premask the graphic before applying it... Which if you can't laminate it, you can't premask it.

    If a calandered you may be able to get away with it.... However liquid laminate isnt very scratch resistant.... So your squeegee is likely to scratch it and premask is still recommended.

    Beat solution is to find someone local who will overlam it for you. Most shops won't because if there's a bubble or dust and a panel gets ruined it's on them. It's likely cheaper to wholesale the print than it is to pay someone to overlam it. We've done it for people when their laminator breaks in a pinch, but that's usually people we have a relationship with.
     
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  12. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    I have used liquid laminate on Edge prints for years and they work fine. But as been said they don't provide much scuff resistance. Before the availability of laminated prints I did many jobs that were really large (busses, trailers) that we tiled and applied. You have to use premask to apply vinyl that isn't laminated so that may restrict what you can do. But you could tile it in
    more manageable sizes and apply mask by hand. If you are applying 3' mask just use a heavy 3' roller of some sort, could be a roll of vinyl or a pipe.
     
  13. APCInk

    APCInk Merchant Member

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    ClearShield makes a great universal liquid laminate. Comes in gloss, luster and matte.
     
  14. OhioSigns

    OhioSigns Member

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    I have installed a couple wraps on beverage trailers that the wrap was supplied by a print house the customer uses and they used 3M IJ180 with liquid laminate and premask. Install was a PITA but I had to work around the protruding vertical bars between the roll up doors. The premask gives the vinyl some strength and rigidity but doesn't allow for stretching, and without a film overlaminate it made it very difficult to install. The vinyl was very brittle and once it stuck if you tried pulling it back up (with and without heat) it would tear. It was very unforgiving. If you are installing on a perfectly flat area without rivets or screws I'd say go for a liquid laminate. Note that removal if you have to do it in the future will suck. In my opinion though I would use a film overlaminate to make installation and removal much easier. In the end it will be a better product for your customer. If you don't have the capability of laminating find a local company that will laminate it for you or possibly think about outsourcing the print job. Here's a couple of the trailers that these wraps were installed on.
    20181119_093119.jpg
    20181018_204938.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
  15. BlueMoonATL

    BlueMoonATL Member

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    Just curious- I am assuming the liquid lamination you're planning to use has UV inhibitors in it correct?
     
  16. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    I assume from this statement that you've never actually compared the longevity of vinyl vs. liquid laminate. I have and in every case, the vinyl coated with liquid laminate outlasted prints laminated with vinyl. So much that I haven't laminated anything in years. I would if it were specifically requested and I couldn't talk the client out of it but other than that it's all liquid laminate in this shop.
     
  17. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Honestly, feasibility and having certain things in stock is not what you are asking..... is it ?? You're really asking if you can cut corners and not invest in your friend's trailer job. Of course you can and that's how reputations are created. I've already liquid lamed jobs, but usually unimportant ones and/or small ones. It is not the preferred way to appraoch a trailer, but yes, it can be done. Just how much you value your friend's friendship or how you collect your money will tell. Perhaps you'll get lucky and all will go well. If not, don't b!tch if the color shifts, panels peel back or someone keys the trailer with no protection. Oh, and don't complain how tough it is to apply it. Since you say you already have the vinyl in stock, I doubt it's at all the correct kind for this job, either.

    Will this guy consider you a friend when it's done or will you be honest with him and tell him you're doing his job for free, cause it's all experimental on your part ??
     
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