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Textured Surface Tools

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by SouthEastMIsigns, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. SouthEastMIsigns

    SouthEastMIsigns Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    I'm looking for alternatives to the 3M TSA-2 textured surface applicators. (Motor joint roller tools) The 3M tools are $200. That seems a bit ridiculous for what they are. I have a very large wall wrap project on painted cinder block and I wanted to pick up a few extra tools so I can have several guys heating/rolling at once, but I don't necessarily want to spend $800 on rollers if I don't have to. Are there any cheaper options out there?
  2. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    Depending on your fabrication skill buy the replacement roller and make your own frame.
  3. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

    Aug 6, 2007
    I had a project like this earlier this year. Same thing. Image on cinder block. I subbed it out to a friend because he had the gear and I trust his work. Much easier than buying tools I'll rarely if ever use again.
  4. crystalcoastgraphics

    crystalcoastgraphics Member

    Sep 30, 2011
    North Carolina
    You can use a foam 6” paint roller. Can’t get it as hot as the 3m roller, but it will work at a much lower cost even if you replace the roller every so often
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    The foam paint rollers work better than the 3m or rollepro tools as well. I use the 4" ones and buy each installer a pack of 6 extra foam rollers.

    CSOCSO I don't hate paint, I just overlay it.

    Jul 18, 2012
    Foam paint roller better than rollepro? You are kidding right?

    If you are out on a job and you forgot your roller it works I guess. If you want to do a big wall wrap you have several options.

    I have both of these. Thick foam. You can put 10 times more pressure with these compared to the paint roller. Your hands won't get fatigue either. foam won't melt like the painter one. etc etc etc.
    The big one is good for wall wraps. The small one is good for wall wrap edges of wall wraps or rivets or plastic nipples (where paint roller is completely useless)
    I also have and used rollepro for 10 years and the smaller metal roller easily outperforms it. you can also attach it to a torch so you free up a hand



    I have used the hot show big easy with two heatguns attached it a game changer if you do a lot of textured wall wraps.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  7. Yellotools USA

    Yellotools USA Merchant Member

    Aug 5, 2016
    Stanton Ca. 90680
  8. Modern Ink Signs

    Modern Ink Signs Premium Subscriber

    Jun 27, 2008
    Waukesha, WI
    Just an FYI...

    If you are doing a rough walk graphic, please use the proper material and install correctly. I’ve seen too many that are not done right and are just bad looking in no time.

    The rollers are meant to take the high temps needed for install. Yes they are expensive but you don’t have to buy them every day. L

    Maybe sub it to someone that does it and has the proper tools
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    No, I am not kidding. The process is all about the heat not pressure. The 3M, Big Easy and RollePro rollers are too firm so you have to press hard to get in the deeper grooves. the foam paint rollers are soft and require less pressure to get into the recesses.

    You can think whatever you want, I have used them all, so don't knock it until you try it. If you give it an honest shot you will do a better job in less time and waste a lot less energy with the foam paint rollers.
  10. CSOCSO

    CSOCSO I don't hate paint, I just overlay it.

    Jul 18, 2012
    Been there, done that. If you do a textured wall wrap with soft paint foam roller you would fail a 3m test immediately.
  11. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    3m testing is worthless. I see 3M preferred installers who are horrible at install.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    Who cares. First of all I learned this from some of the best 3M preferred installers in the country. Second, It's about getting the job done properly. The heat is the key factor because the textured surface laminate is like the vac-form material. When you get it to the proper temperature it gets soft and the roller forms it into shape. When it cools it freezes in that shape, just like a pan face. The laminate counteracts the memory of the vinyl.

    3M is in the business of selling their media, tools, and ideas. You can drink the cool-aid all you want, but the foam paint rollers work better. They can't withstand a direct extended blast from your heat gun like the $300 - $500 rollers, so you will need several extra rollers. Just keep the heat in front of and pointed sightly away from the foam. In reality it is the exact same technique used with the expensive rollers, you just can get lazy like you can with the more expensive ones.

    P.S. Have you read the slip of paper that came with your RollePro (bottom of every page except, home)? You agree to only use it on 3M media... Is that because that the only material it works on?

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