Hydrographic printing is a highly specialized coating process. It is primarily a painting and dipping process. This process allows us to apply highly defined intricate prints and patterns to virtually any three dimensional object of your choosing. This process can be applied to but not limited to, Metal, Glass, Plastics and Wood. If we can paint it, we can print it. There are even substrates that do not require base paints to accept the patterns. Commonly this process is synonymous with Camouflage, Wood Grains, and Carbon Fiber patterns. This is a process the largest of manufacturers have used for years to apply custom finishes to vehicle interiors, sporting goods, and ATV’s. We have made this process available to manufacturers, general public and fabricators for use on their own custom projects.

 

Hydrographic printing starts with pre-printed high quality patterns on a water-soluble PVA transfer film and a large dipping tank for processing. This is a multi-step process that requires a high level of skill and technique to process items correctly. These are the general steps:

  1. Prep: We analyze the surface to be processed. Some items need one or multiple steps to prepare the item for printing. We can choose media blasting, sanding, adhesion promoter, primer or even flame treatment. It all depends on the job. Dry or Cure time is necessary after this stage.

  2. Base Color Painting. A coat of specialized paint is applied to the part. This paint serves as the base color to accentuate the film. This also serves as the bonding agent between the part and the transferred inks. This part is where an additional level of customizability is available since we can custom mix any shade of the rainbow with our paint mixing system. The paint must be allowed to dry after application and a QC inspection is done to verify adequate adhesion has taken place.

  3. Hydrographic pattern application. Your chosen patterned film is now prepared for the dipping process. The film is carefully floated on the surface of the water in the dipping tank. After a brief relaxation period, the film is then inspected to be free of trapped air bubbles under the surface and imperfections in the print. An activating solution is then sprayed on the surface of the film re-animating the printing inks on the film. After the correct amount of time has passed depending on the density of the inks on the film, the ink is now ready for to receive the item to be printed. The item is strategically and carefully processed through the surface of the suspended ink. This is where the magic happens. Very much like dipping your finger through the surface of oil on water, the pattern coats the product evenly and consistently. All of the intricate recesses and curves have now been printed.

  4. Rinse process: After the item has been printed, the remaining PVA backing film must be rinsed away to reveal the print.  This is also where the part is inspected for any flaws that may have occurred through the printing process. At the point a flaw has been found either a touch up will be done, or the decision is made to reprocess the part. A passing grade moves it on to the next stage.

  5. Clear Coat Application:  A scratch resistant and UV protective coating is applied. This seals in the inks and allows you the customizability of either a flat, semi-gloss or high gloss show finish. Additional coats of clear can be applied. Depending on the application, wet sanding, polishing or buffing may be part of the process as well. This is where the finish shows its true colors and vibrance.

 

  1. Final QC. One of our trained professionals inspects every part to insure its complete and finished printing. We do not return products to our customers unless they are up to our strict high standards. All of our customers demand high quality, and that is what we provide.

 

 

  • Automotive:  We can help you create the most amazing custom car interiors, exteriors, dash bezels, and engine bays, and more.  Some common choices include carbon fiber finishes, wood graining (straight or burl wood), camouflage (fall camo, pink camo, predator camo, and just about any other kind of camo), skull patterns, and stone finishes.
  • Marine:  Customize a new boat or bring an old one back to its glory by printing your dash boards, cup holders, motor covers, and more.  Water transfer dipping brings richness to your boat’s interior and revitalizes one that’s been weathered.
  • Bikes and ATVs:  From fenders to exterior skins and shells to wheels, hydrographic printing allows you to truly Make It Yours™.  We can deck your ATV out in camo, give your motorcycle tank and wheels a carbon fiber finish, or make your mountain bike a true one-of-a-kind.
  • Aviation:  Add some bling to a new aircraft, or reinvigorate one that’s seen better days.  Our designs are as durable as high-end hot rod paint, and with the biggest dipping tank in the region, we can accommodate just about anything you can throw at us.
  • Home Décor:  Faux finishes are not just all the rage, they’re actually a really smart choice.  Hydrographic Printing is more affordable and customizable than wood trims, and they can be used on anything from cabinets to switch plates. 
  • Professionals:  From chefs to hairdressers, there’s practically no limit to customizing your tools of the trade with water transfer dipping.  Personalize your shears, curling irons, small appliances, and so much more.
  • Gadgets and Gaming:  Electronics can get the full-on Liquid Transformation treatment, too.  Remotes, web cam, keyboards, and monitors can all be dipped.  Geeks and gamers, we can do some incredible stuff with your Xbox, PlayStation or other console and controllers, too.
  • Outdoor Gear:  Water dipping is especially popular with tree stands, compound bows, arrows, and trail cams, but we don’t stop there.  We can do some of the sickest designs you’ve ever seen for custom skateboards, snowboards, and skis; and our oversized tank is perfect for custom hockey sticks, golf clubs, and baseball bats. 
  • Firearms:  Camo Dipping is the perfect way to customize your pistol, shotgun, rifle, or storage case.  Stocks, barrels, and magazines are just the start of what we can do for you.

 

Hydrographic Printing is economical, and provides solutions that many other techniques cannot provide. We have compared our process against custom airbrushing, wraps, and decals. None have the performance our process offers.  We have found considerable savings in comparison. The nice part is, we can utilize air brushing over our process for that ultra-custom personalized look! Please send us pictures and descriptions of your item, or stop into our showroom. We can offer you a no cost estimate with the most accurate pricing when we fully understand the scope of your project. You can also browse our pricing guidelines in our PRICING section.

We like to let our product speak for itself. Some of our largest repeat clientele are Custom Car and Gun owners who demand the highest standards of quality and durability. We only use the highest grade automotive quality clear coats.  The materials have been engineered for this process. Rest assured this is the same process used by the large OE manufacturers not available to the general public until now. The high quality clear coats are Scratch Resistant and UV protectant. The coatings have a temperature threshold upwards of 400°F. We offer Standard and Premium Quality clear coat options. If an additional layer of protection is what you require, we can do that too. Ask for more details about the different levels of the finish coating process.

Yes, items that are not printed to satisfaction can be reprinted without adverse effects.

This process has specific chemicals that cross link and allow the bonding process to happen all the way through the layers of materials. Our suggestion would be if the product you have has paint on it and is in good shape, deliver the product as is, as the adhesion of that paint surface has proven solid. We can apply the process to your existing factory or painted surface. If your product is in its raw material state, if needed, body work, and a light dusting of a primer or guide coat is allowable prior to delivery, but please be sparing. We want to ensure the process is sound from top to bottom.

If you have a specific custom color, please contact us with details so we can discuss the procedures to follow. We can mix custom colors and translate solvent born colors to a waterborne formula. This may be the solution you’re looking for.

We prefer items be “paint ready” but not fully prepped with a complete coat of primer. As mentioned before, we have a specific formula for these chemicals to cross link and we would not prefer to gamble with your fresh paint and its ability to accept the process with other than pre-qualified materials.

 

Our suggestion with this scenario is: If you have one or two parts that you would like to have matched, we can do our very best to match them. Please be understanding with this. We have found to have the parts matched exactly as original, they would need to be re-printed at the original manufacturer if known. The reason being, we do not know the exact base color used, or the exact pattern number the factory used. Very little to no cross reference materials exist with this information. We will use our best judgment to create a solution for you and your project. We cannot guarantee an exact match. As we said, we do our very best to complete your project as close to matching as we can. The only way for your parts to match EXACTLY will be to have us print them all at the same time. Its always worth a shot.

Yes we can, many of our patters are excellent for use as the base coat colors. If you want Camo Skulls, Water Drops over Carbon Fiber, we can do that!

Yes! We have a professional air brush artist, and stenciling equipment to integrate personal designs, patters, or text into any job. Please contact us with your design ideas. We mix colors in house so color fades or custom mixed colors are 100% our specialty. We can also spray just paint on your items. Not all items require dipping. 

 

YES! YES! YES! We have the technology to integrate your choice of pattern and base color onto your item before you decide which avenue is best for you. Send us your highest quality image of your item from a few different angles. Our in house artists can render your item with your choice of patterns.

 

This is a fairly quick process, but if more than two renderings are desired, we request a discussed compensation for our artist’s time to do this for you, as it does still require time and expertise. We can email you the results for your viewing and decision making.

 

We would be glad to do the first two for free! Really.....Free! Just let us know if you need more than 2 images rendered in the description field.

 

Its very cool to see your item with your choice of pattern applied. We have had many customers find their "Ahaa" moment, after seeing their pattern on their items image. Go to our Start Dipping Button and fill out the form. We will get the images back to you as quickly as possible!

 

Yes! We have a high quality vinyl plotter. We can make banners, club stickers, or personalized one off stickers. We can integrate these onto your item, clear coat over them, or use them as stencils for additional painted custom touches. Flames over Skulls are an amazing looking example of these elements used together. The sky is the limit!

 

This process is perfect for complex 3 dimensional objects. They need only be semi rigid to rigid objects. We can print to items such as:

  • Metal 
  • Plastic 
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Fiberglass,
  • Many other paintable surfaces.
  • Contact us with questions if your products material is not listed.

 

  • Rubberized Items (Paint won’t stick if the surface is too flexible.)
  • Clothing or cloth (Screen Printing does flat cloth very well)
  • Human Body Parts (We have had some wild requests)
  • Live Animals (Like we said, we have had some wild requests!)
  • Full Sized Boats (Most boats are bigger than our tank, but there are some exceptions)
  • Your Entire Trucks Body (People still think it’s funny to ask) (Tailgates do fit!)
  • Your Space Ship (we got jokes too!)

We are limited by the size of our dipping tank. Our tank measures 100” long x 41” Wide x 30” Deep. We are also limited by the size of the pattern films. Some films are only produced in 50cm wide rolls. We also have 60cm 80cm and 100cm wide rolls. We can process golf cart bodies, 4 wheeler plastics, and snowmobile shrouds. This process was designed to coat very intricate, complex items, and as a bonus, we can process larger intricate items. If you need larger items coated than we can provide, we may suggest investigating an alternative method of coating.

 

It varies from part to part, depending on the condition, bodywork needed, complexity of shape and size, etc. We will give you an estimate of time when we process your order, but gernally speaking, expect a wait time of around 2-3 weeks. We have found the industry standard to be 3 to 6 weeks. Please be patient, we will process your order as rapidly as possible to the highest standards you demand. If a rush job is required, we can accommodate your needs, so please notify us, as pricing will need to be adjusted. And remember, please be patient.

YES! We have a integrated a very custom feature for our customers viewing pleasure. www.dipcam.com is where you can enjoy seeing your item beind dipped or others items that have been or are being dipped. You have the option to view from your Phone or PC. We can provide you with a QR Code to gain direct access to the streaming images. If the cam is not live when you check, please enjoy video of our past dips and finished products running 24/7.

 

Yes we must apply a clear coat over every product we dip as this is a 3 step process with a 2 stage paint/clear:

  • Paint (Base color)
  • Dip (The pattern of your choice)
  • Clear (The UV and Scratch protection to seal it in from the elements)

We do offer single stage paints, but this is only for painted objects that are not being printed. We offer the option to finish your products in a flat, semi-gloss, high gloss, and ultra-high gloss for a show stopping quality shine. We also have the ability to add tints to the clear coat to give the “candies” so many people demand to stand out from the crowd. Please contact us with your specific needs for pricing.

 

We prefer your items to be fully disassembled. We have the ability to disassemble your items for you. We charge shop time for the disassembly and reassembly process. We have found that certain items need to be evaluated based on moving parts or clearances. Please contact us with as much info as possible. We are a full service facility that wants to earn your business. We can work with you regarding any stage of your project. Please allow us the best info possible, if an item is shipped fully assembled without our prior arrangements, we reserve the right to charge accordingly for the break down and reassembly.

 

At this time we only ship within the USA. Feel free to contact us if you have special circumstances.

UPS does normally require a signature at delivery. However, you can leave a signed notice on your do for UPS to leave the package on your doorstep without having someone sign for it. It is at the driver's discretion to leave the package; if they feel it is safe to do so.

 

Only Washington State residents are required to pay sales tax if being shipped to a Washington State address.

 

Yes we can process any order you have over the phone with verification of the proper credentials.

Please be certain of your purchase. We do not offer a refund after we have been given the authorization to begin work. Materials have been used, time has been spent, and processing has begun. Again please be confident in your purchase. We are quite confident you will find value in your decision.

Our paint manufacturers recommend a 30 day full cure period before full performance is achieved. Even though your item can be handled within a day after the clear coating process, it is still soft and curing to its final finish for a full 30 days.

 

We suggest you treat your newly clear coated items just like a new Hot Rod paint job. We say that because the quality of paint and thickness of clear coat is much better than a standard factory vehicles paint job. You can clean your items with a light soap and water solution. Dry with a soft microfiber towel or equivalent. The clear coats we use are solvent resistant, which allows you the ability to use solvents to clean your pistols, shotguns and rifles, the same as you always have on the internals. We do suggest using extreme care as not to let a solvent sit on the clear coat surface too long, but the clear coat is automotive grade and can resist very short periods of time exposed to solvents. The clear coat seals in the finish, and inhibits rust from forming on the surface if applicable. You no longer have to oil the outer surface of your items. Just keep it clean and polished just like a new Hot Rod paint job.