Q: Why doesn’t anything stick to gas tanks?

Vinyl will not stick to plastic gas tanks for very long. Initially it will stick, but the plastic is porous and under pressure. Petroleum will penetrate the plastic; the vapors are usually under pressure, and are forced through the sides of the tank into the adhesive. That will cause the adhesive to release. The appearance is called “blistering.” You can push it back down for a while, or clear-coat an area on the tank before putting gas in it.

Another option is to buy an aluminum tank, if one is available and you really want graphics on the tank.

Q: What are those tiny bubbles that seem to appear under the laminate?

The industry term is called “silvering.” When the liner is pulled off pressure sensitive adhesive it creates small points where the adhesive releases. In between those points, air gets trapped. As the adhesive sets, it smooths out and the air bubbles dissipate. If you have the option of heating the laminate (we suggest 100˚F), it will aid in softening the adhesive and reducing the appearance of air bubbles. One thing to keep in mind, is that the faster you laminate, the more air will be trapped. Either way with vinyl, the silvering will go away over time. It will typically take from one to 8 hours to fully dissipate, depending on the ambient temperature and the softness of the adhesive being used. With Convex and Pro-Shield laminates, it’s usually gone within 4 hours from the time you laminate.

Why is there a splice in some rolls of material?

There is a beginning and an end to each roll of film and each roll of liner. GMS makes short runs of unique custom materials on demand. Therefore splices are a common part of production. The average is 10% of our rolls, but we limit it to one splice if any.

Our production team places markers along the edge of the material just before and after the splice. When you handle the roll, you can’t miss them. We do this so you can work around a splice. We also add at least an additional 5 ft. of material to the roll to compensate for any waste.

On large runs, you won’t see spices because it costs very little to throw the small amount away and amortize it over a longer run. With short runs of materials, that can amount to a 25% cost increase. Production costs or savings always affect the price. If you wish to discuss special ordering rolls with no splices, please call for a quote.

Q: Why can’t I find a profile for Convex?

Let me preface this answer with: we used to make custom profiles for materials when we were selling ink jets.  We found that all ink jets print differently from one brand to another, from one resolution to another, and one media to another.

To make a profile, the first step is to set an ink limit (how much ink can you deposit on the media). Once the ink limit is determined, a grey scale must be recreated (linearization). Once the linearization is fed back into the software, color swatches are printed and scanned back in to create the ICC profile. To get it right, each RIP, each resolution, speed, and number of passes that you are going to use should be profiled for each material.

Having created over a hundred custom profiles in three different RIP’s and with three brands of printers ourselves helps us draw the conclusion that we would need your printer, your RIP, and the resolution you print at to make a profile—it simply isn’t practical.

Most people who we speak with will download a generic profile or tweak an existing profile, and possibly over-saturate a print. If you over-saturate the color, it may not fully out-gas by the time you laminate it with a thick laminate. See the next question, “What can cause laminate to release from my ink jet print.”

Due to our experience, we suggest investing in a profile-making solution; your RIP vendor may have recommendations.

Q: What can cause a laminate to release from my ink jet print?

If a laminate releases from a print, typically it’s because the print is still out-gassing. If the adhesive is still on the laminate, then the weak point is between the ink and the adhesive. If the adhesive has become one with the ink and stays on the print while the film releases from it, then the ink has caused the adhesive to become weak enough to come off the laminate film.

This doesn’t happen with dry processes such as thermal transfer printing. We have had plenty of ink jet users tell us that they have to over-saturate to hit the colors they want because they can’t make their own profiles. Over-saturating causes long out-gassing times. And with today’s inks, particularly solvents, they are designed to penetrate deep into the vinyl. If you want to know why we don’t supply profiles, please see the question before this one.