I was talking with two of our top adhesive vinyl graphics installers about how much has changed as far as vehicle graphics application over the last twenty years. Vinyl’s, inks, and printers have drastically advanced over the past two decades, but we talked mostly about vehicle graphics tools. The tools of the vehicle graphics application have changed and improved and continue to do so. Here are a few of those improved tools.
Knifeless Cutting Tape
“Knifeless tape is a specialty product designed to replace blades during vehicle graphics installation. The way it works is a filament runs down the center of the tape. The tape is highly flexible for use around curves such as wheel wells and fenders. The knifeless tape is placed on the substrate before the adhesive vinyl is applied. Once the vinyl’s installed, the thread’s pulled through the graphic for a bladeless cut.” – Knifeless Vehicle Graphics Tape
The Rolle Pro replaces a rivet cutter for most applications. In the past, rivets, such as the hundreds on a 53-foot trailer would need to be individually cut. Even today when rivets stand out from the substrate, a rivet tool may be required. Using a rivet tool for hours on end, cutting out each rivet is time-consuming and arm-breaking work. With a Rolle Pro, you simply leave an air channel over a row of rivets, heat gun it at approximately 180 degrees, and roll it with the roller pro. Less time, less work, and it looks great.
The 3M gold squeegee remains the choice of professional installers when applying large format vinyl graphics covered with pre-mask. I you’re unfamiliar with pre-mask, it’s basically masking tape in wide rolls used to cover the vinyl to help protect it during shipping and installation. However, new squeegees with felt ends have emerged as the go-to squeegee for applications without pre-mask.
A wrap glove is a work glove with the palm side covered with felt. The glove can be used to smooth graphics during installation as well as to remove bubbles, wrinkles, and air pockets.
In the past X-acto knives and box cutters have been the primary cutting tools used in vinyl graphics installation. These cutters have been used to cut around equipment, cut along edges, and cut out graphics. Neither tool was designed for vinyl graphics application, and if you didn’t know what you were doing, it was easy to damage the finish of the vehicle. A snap knife differs in that it has been designed for the installation of adhesive vinyl graphics. The primary difference is a plastic lip near the blade that acts as a guide during cuts.
Put Our Vehicle Graphics Tools to Work for You
Vehicle graphics tools will continue to evolve to make the job of vehicle graphic application more efficient, less time consuming, and deliver a better finished product. If you’d like to know more about vinyl graphics for your fleet, Contact Us.