Water Transfer Printing, also known as Hydrographics, Hydro-Dipping or Cubic Printing, is the process of transferring graphic designs onto the surface of objects. With this technique, one can transform a standard, off the shelf, factory-made item into something unique and beautiful just by dipping the item into water. Design options are limited only by one’s imagination.
Water Transfer Printing has been around for quite some time and has a wide variety of applications across multiple industries. It is used worldwide from jazzing up the interiors of commercial aircrafts to enhancing car interiors, rims, bicycle bodies, helmets, game controllers, and even household items.
There are many reasons why companies and individuals choose Water Transfer Printing over any other method of printing. A few of these reasons are highlighted in the following paragraphs.
Durability of Water Transfer Printing
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from customers is with regard the durability of Hydrographics. Depending on how thoroughly the surface of the item is prepared and the type of final coating used, a graphic design on a hydro-dipped item can last decades and withstand high temperatures, corrosion, abrasion and prolonged ultraviolet ray exposure.
Any material that can be dipped into water without having its properties degraded can be hydro-dipped. Therefore, materials such as plastic, metal, fiberglass and ceramic are highly recommended for such a process. The only exception is fabric as the surface of the item needs to retain its shape and hardness for the design to be transferred.
Additionally, the versatility of water conforming to the shape of any object makes it easy for graphic designs to be transferred onto items of all shapes, sizes and complexities. Thus, even items with complex geometries can be easily hydro-dipped.
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Contrary to popular belief, Water Transfer Printing is a cost effective solution to one’s financial needs. Once the design is imprinted onto the item, there is little to no risk of the design getting scratched or damaged. Hence, there is no maintenance cost. Water Transfer Printing is also a cheaper design solution compared to other methods such as airbrushing as such methods require the expertise of skilled artists.
Proper surface preparation, base coat application, drying and top coat application are integral parts of the hydro-dipping process, and this takes approximately 8-24 hours to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the item. The process of transferring the graphic design onto the item itself, though, only takes 5 minutes. Thus, should there be an instance where mass production is necessary, multiple items can be prepared and dipped at the same time.
Endless Customisation Possibilities
With thousands of graphic designs and a multitude of complementary base colours to choose from, Water Transfer Printing is becoming the preferred choice for individuals and companies. But, that’s not all. The cherry on the cake is that one may even create his or her own graphic design! With so many options available, it is easy to feel overwhelmed but fret not – a good Hydrographics service provider will point you in the right direction.
What was once made available only to companies is now within your reach. With such high durability and versatility, coupled with being cost effective and quick, Water Transfer Printing has now become the most popular form of customisation across many industries.