Thursday, May 29, 2008

Got paint?

The above picture is of carbon fiber. It is not custom painted.

This is a post about hydro graphic printing, A.K.A. hydro graphics. Sometimes mistaken as custom painting. The graphics are so lifelike that you can't believe your eyes at what a custom painter has pulled off. Don't be fooled. This is not custom paint, but rather a custom printing process. It uses an automotive basecoat to acheive the undertone colors, and typically an automotive clearcoat as the finish product, and then wetsanded and buffed just like a custom paint job.

The process starts with prepping the part just like for regular, or custom paint. Any image you can think of that can be photographed can be put onto a special film that dissolves in a special tank of water designed for dipping the part into. The film dissolves and the image floats on the water. Thus allowing the image to be transferred.

Don't get me wrong. There are great things about this process. You can have almost anything put on almost any kind of part you want. But please don't think some great airbrush artist did it, and don't try to sell it as custom paint either. And god forbid, don't pay the custom paint price. Unlike custom paint which is truly one of a kind, anything here can be mass produced.

You've probably seen lots of it without knowing it, such as camoflauge on fourwheelers, etc.

I guess my point is buyer beware.

I know a bike shop that is pushing it to customers as custom paint, without disclosing what it really is.

To me it is no better that a factory decal that has been clearcoated over.

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