The Proof is in the Process!
You may have recently heard of hydrographing or "hydrodipping," or maybe even viewed a video on social media that sparked your interest. We're glad it did because we'll be the first to admit, this unique process still sparks our interest daily! And North Texas Hydrographics has been perfecting liquid transfer printing since 2010, expanding to the Everman facility in 2012, and most recently moving to our larger location in Lewisville. We truly believe that the proper preparation of each item prior to hydrodipping is key to achieving incredible results. Understandably, watching someone sand or paint is not nearly as interesting as seeing a wheel, YETI, RTIC, insert your item here, being dipped into the tank and emerging with a crazy cool pattern. However, while probably not YouTube worthy, the proper preparation will not only ensure your item looks amazing, but guarantees that it will also stand the test of time.
North Texas Hydrographics also believes that while you should "Look Good While You're Doing It!", "The Proof is in the Process" when it comes to delivering the best results. You can be confident that when your item arrives at our facility, it will receive the full spa treatment while undergoing the multi-step process explained below:
1. Sanding - upon arrival, each item is sanded in the blast cabinet, or by hand, depending upon the condition and prep required. (Prior to sanding, areas that will not be painted or dipped are also masked to retain their appearance).
2. Priming - the item is then primed with a base coat after sanding. This process takes place in our smaller paint booth to ensure the cleanest base coat. Primer can cure for several hours, to overnight, depending upon when applied.
3. Sanding Part 2 - (yes, again!) - the item is then sanded again after priming for an even smoother application. And we add another special touch that we'll just have to keep under wraps (wink, wink).
4. Painting - after sanding, priming, and yes sanding again, a paint color specific to the pattern chosen is applied. The selection of the paint color can change the entire look of a film pattern and is a major component of making each item unique.
5. Dipping/Hydrographing - ok now we're to the fun part! Once the paint has cured, the item is now ready for dipping in the tank. This is the 3-5 second part of the process that is shown on those intriguing video clips. The hydrographic film selected (camouflage, reaper, carbon fiber, and the list goes on . . ) is cut to the precise measurements required for each item, The water in the tank is heated prior to dipping, and the selected film is placed to "float" in the tank. An activating agent is then applied to the film to promote adherence. After the spraying of activator, the item (rifle stock, wheel, Yeti, etc.) is hand dipped by "pushing" it through the film and water. This is a skill that takes some practice to achieve the desired result, as every film pattern is unique and appears differently on various applications. As mentioned, the dipping component is actually only 3-5 seconds of the entire process. Once dipped, the item is then moved to the rinsing tank where any excess is removed.
6. Clear Coat - after dipping and rinsing, each item will then make its way to an area where it will await the final touch - clear coat. Every item, whether a wheel, cooler, firearm, etc., ends its journey here with an application of 2-3 coats of automotive-type clear coat in either a glossy or matte/satin finish. The clear coat is applied in our largest, sterile booth to ensure the finish remains immaculate. Once applied, the clear coat will also need to cure for several hours.
And, to add more information overload, some heat resistant products require "flaming" with a torch to remove the release agent in the plastic. This allows the primer and paint to adhere and is done prior to the steps listed above.
Thank you if you've read this far - you're now an expert on the hydrodipping process! Or at least you can inform your friends when they say they want to have something "dipped", that's it's far more than just "dipping".
Please stop by or give us a call! We would love to discuss your project and answer any questions you might have about the process, North Texas Hydrographics, or pretty much anything as we love our customers! And, we are very open about what we do and why we do it - because we don't look good, if you don't . . .
"Look Good While You're Doing It!"