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Discussion in 'Vehicle Wraps' started by KARYN BUSH, Sep 7, 2011.


    KARYN BUSH Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    so I have to partial wrap this honking sprinter van(not new). I have tried to stay away from total wraps since I've had my Versacamm...almost 7 years because they don't last long for the money around the northeast...but I got this partial I have to do.
    Anyhoo, the channels on this puppy are like freakin huge! I'm doing panels that are 70"h x 48" w...along the sides. 70h x 127w.
    I ordered the 3m 380vc3 and 8580 and pretty much have all the proper tools needed....but I'm scaaaared of those channels! Would you bridge and push the vinyl down with heat and rollers as opposed to trying to cut relief seams.
    I'm thinking the bridge and push down, no?
    Will I be bald at the end?
  2. Bridge & heat, I have done a couple of Sprinter vans with the 380...no problems with the channel. I would strongly recommend the primer, in the channel and to use the 3M roller install tool. It will works great together, go get em!

    Fine Line Darrel :Canada 2:
  3. txsurfer

    txsurfer Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    You Must use Primer
  4. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    Sep 10, 2010
    Do. Not. Bridge. and. heat. Install into the channels while applying rather then coming back, heating and tucking.... It may seem like it works but in a couple days, or even hrs.. they'll pop back up.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  5. signage

    signage Major Contributor

    Oct 5, 2005
    +1 on do not bridge!
  6. laserman70

    laserman70 Very Active Member

    Dec 25, 2007

  7. petepaz

    petepaz Major Contributor

    Feb 14, 2007
    i have actually seamed them in a couple of cases. i explained it to the customer and they were ok with it. installed over the top and then cut down the center, tucked them in and then put a strip through the middle so the seam was on the wall of the channel and it looked fine. main thing was the customer was happy and it diddn't come up
  8. GraphixUnlimited

    GraphixUnlimited Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    I ve done these both ways and the bridge and heat method has failed a few times even with primer. I think it has to do with the weather here myself that really effects it.

    We apply tight then cut and seam. No complaints from customers and no failure at all. We also explain how we do it... before we do it so there is no surprises. In the event customer does not want a small white seam we will apply a color matched vinyl to that area to mask any issue. From more than a few feet away you could never tell but thats the joy of sprinters and just this guys opinion hehe.

    cheers eh
  9. Kwiksigns

    Kwiksigns wookie

    Feb 17, 2009
    Beltsville, MD
    i like this idea... Depending on how it is designed, you could try to avoid it... I would trim at each side of the channel and put that piece down... It might be a little tricky to get it right but it looks great. It might be pretty tough for you to try to install into the channels...

    KARYN BUSH Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    tricky? ya think? rot roh...I think my life may suck doing this job...lol.
    I can't imagine installing tight into the channels and not getting all kinds of wrinkles in the corners....4ft x 6ft pieces. I'm still confused. I'll have to try to find a video of someone doing that way. Of course all the videos I've been watching are the bridge and push with heat and roller method. They make it look so easy....showoffs.

    Every step is an advancement for making profit...pheeeew it printed okay....pheeeew it laminated okay....installation....buh bye profit...lol. It sucks to be a perfectionist...hence the reason I've stayed away from wraps. A wrinkle or pucker is gonna bum me out...I think I need to get over it. My customer rocks though! He's like...it will look fine....don't worry I'm not picky. I recorded that conversation....j/k. I think there will be alot of swearing and crying this weekend...I'll let yas know!
  11. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    Freebie for you all.... made this up some time back. We use the shapes to contour cut strips to place into the bottoms of the channels first. Depending on what the design is they are not always useful though. Also not sure if these will work for the newer years. We made them for a 2004 Sprinter. You would also need to adjust the length of the flats depending on the wheelbase. These are for a 140" wheelbase model with rear windows and window on the sliding door.

    Attached Files:

  12. natedawg9640

    natedawg9640 Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Appleton, Wi
    the last one we did we sort of did a little of both. we didn't install all the way into the crease, but we left the vinyl a little loose so when we did bridge it (primered first of course) it really didn't stretch too far. see it around town all the time and it's holding up great.
  13. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    "I have tried to stay away from total wraps since I've had my Versacamm...almost 7 years because they don't last long for the money around the northeast..."

    Did you make this up or have you repeatedly heard it from potential clients? They last PLENTY long and among the best marketing investments a company can make. Lack of customer education, the economy and cheapskates in general are the real problem here.

    "It sucks to be a perfectionist...hence the reason I've stayed away from wraps. A wrinkle or pucker is gonna bum me out...I think I need to get over it."

    Yes sometimes it may feel that way. What do you want to get over? Doing the best possible work you can do, reducing yourself to average (ordinary) or possibly worse? Being a perfectionist is one of the better traits you could possess while learning this, and with older materials behind us; the timing couldn't be better.

    I'm assuming you don't have the 3 overpriced 3M rollers which I would highly recommend, especially for this job. I'll also assume and suggest you'll be saving EVERY scrap you have from that kit and practicing with them.

    My views differ with a few others in this thread, but you did choose the correct materials for this vehicle which do not require/recommend primer and I sincerely hope this job doesn't end up costing you more in materials. If it does, it may turn you off from continuing to wrap.

    Don't worry about your labor at this time as this is "free" schooling and you're luckily to happen to have a forgiving client. If I still lived in NH I'd give you a hand (for beer money of course). I think there are a few decent installers in NH, but nobody I can think of off hand or know personally. Maybe someone local or knows someone local could chime in.

    I'll add that I do suggest you use a heatgun rather than a torch with this material/job combo. And post-heat the snot out of it after meticulous preparation.

    Best of luck, and keep posting.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  14. Custom_Grafx

    Custom_Grafx Very Active Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    A good tip for 380/180 I learnt from a 3M course, is that 180=30% stretch, and 380=50% stretch. It should also be in their product bulletin.

    That basically means, if you stretch your 380 more than this, it is more prone to lifting, and as for 3M, they will not stand by your claim of failure if you try to blame it on the material.

    I'm also a beginner in this so it was pretty cool info... and he showed a quick way to judge in advance on what works and doesn't, get yourself a piece of string, bridge it over your recess, measure it from point A to B, then, tuck it into the recess, and measure it, and calculate the % stretch.

    He also showed us what Colorado is talking about, and stressed quite strongly it's a big mistake to squeegee down tight all the way to your recess, then suddenly start stretching where you've bridged.

    Even if you are still within your 50% stretch, it causes a huge difference in material tension within a very small area, and can attract failure. What he did instead, was to leave it a little loose from far away from the bridge, and then to heat and slowly work into that recess, which basically spreads the burden of the stretch over say 1 metre, instead of say 10 cm, effectively reducing your % stretch as a result.

    KARYN BUSH Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    oh....thank you thank you...great info you guys...I'm like a sponge right now.
    CheapVehWrap....I wish you lived closer...I'd pay you well and give you beer for sure...even a lobsta roll for lunch! lol
    of course I bought the overpriced 3M rollers...but only the Vcat2 and roller S...I even bought geekwrap squeegies(which I LOVE LOVE LOVE) and the magnets...3m primer and cleaner, torch, I have a heat gun which I'm sure I'll use instead of the torch. I figure this whole job is a learning experience because of the channels. I've lettered plenty of vans, trucks and lord knows other crazy shyt...but nothing with those canyon channels with 4ft x 6ft pieces.
    They'll be bringing it by tomorrow so I will take a scrap piece and start playing until I feel I won't fuk up the real stuff.
    Thanks so much everyone for all the info!!!...I haven't been on here since like 07...I forgot how I've missed the interaction with other signmakers!
  16. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    Sep 10, 2010
    careful of the 3m rollers. If you lean them really close to the vinyl, they have a rivet in them that will scratch the wrap....we've done that way too many times.
  17. speedmedia

    speedmedia Very Active Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Why not just hire out the install? Typically if you are not efficient at something it makes more sense to delegate it to someone who is. Frees you up to keep working and typically gets the job done correctly as long as you find a good installer.

  18. cha88

    cha88 Member

    May 14, 2010
    does anyone actually use the "Fellers" technique and bridge over the channels with reflective or other material and then wrap over that? if so, dont you get a small lip when you wrap over it??
  19. Mason

    Mason Very Active Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    I live just south of you, a little north of Boston, If you need a hand just ask, Id be happy to help you out..
  20. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    Sep 10, 2010
    I do nothing that fellers suggests..
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