What Is Hydrographics? A Look Into The World Of Commercial Printing
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know anything about hydrographics. This is really quite understandable considering that nobody ever really talks about it (except in this article). However, just because you’ve never heard about it, it doesn’t mean you’ve never encountered it. As a matter of fact, hydrographics, or the products that come off of it, is something that you encounter everyday.
So what exactly is it? Hydrographics is known by many other names like cubic printing, water transfer imaging, and immersion painting. It is a printing method whereby a design is printed on three-dimensional objects. As it is today, any three-dimensional object can be printed on with this printing method, even metal and hardwood.
How is it done? First, the object to be printed on is pre-treated and a base coating material is applied. Then a film made of polyvinyl alcohol is printed with the image or design to be transferred. After that, the film is then floated on the surface of a water vat. An activating agent is sprayed to the film so that it (the film) dissolves into liquid and activates a bonding agent. The film is lowered into the vat, to a floating layer of ink which wraps around the film.
A top coating is then applied in order to protect the design. The object to be printed on is then lowered into the vat. The object doesn’t have to be dipped in the vat for long for the design to stick.
You might think that only special objects are used in hydrographics, however, the fact is that hydro printing is actually an everyday occurrence. If you don’t believe us, just look at the new helmets of your favorite football athletes or the fancy prints on your best friend’s gun. Or how about the car dashboards in wood grain design? Those have all been printed through the process we outlined above. Aside from sports gear and firearms, hydro printing is also applied to other products like hunting gear, car parts and other commercial and retail products.
What Can You Print Hydrographics On?
Aside from plastic and metal, you can also use objects made of glass, hard wood and other materials to print on.
Like any other type of printing, hydro printing does not have any other use except to make commercial items look more appealing. However, if you are on a marketing and promotions campaign, you can use it to print on objects with your company’s logo in it. Or if you’re trying to impress someone, you can take an ordinary object and have a fancy design printed on it.
There are basically two types of hydroprinting, manual and automated. Most printers offer either or depending on the design and the object to be printed on.
How much it costs to print using this method really differs from printer to printer, however, if we have to take a guess, we would say that the price depends upon the method used (manual or automated) and has nothing to do with the complexity of the design or how many crevices there are in an object. But that’s just our guess. If you really want to know, ask for a quote from a hydrographics printer.
Like any other print job, you will want to find a local printer (as against finding a printer from another city). If you don’t know how or where to find local printers, just go to Google and search for hydro painting printers and the name of your city. Make sure to ask for a quote from at least three printers before ordering a print job.
In conclusion, the hydro graphics process can take practically any product and transform it in ways that weren’t possible before. It doesn’t matter what the shape and size or dimension is of the object, if it’s hydro skin, you can print any design on it.
Aside from sports, cars and guns, hydro printing is also being used to print designs on musical instruments, electronics, skin and beauty products, toys and more. To get a better idea on what is possible with this printing method, take a look at the portfolio of the hydrographics printers that are offering them.