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How to Cut Under Window Molding

How to Cut Under Window Molding

Often time, it is a challenge for installers to wrap areas under window molding in terms of the cutting, because it is very tempting for us to cut in the wrong place, which might lead to failure.

Thus, we are going to show a breakdown of the exact process today, where we will learn to cut the excess from window molding on vehicles in a way that we will not cut too high so to leave the material over the rubber or damage the molding – in the case of not taking the molding off, because it is very easy to get bend.

This is a technique that worth mastering for not only intermediate installers but also the advanced, as it keeps us from troubles, as well as bring out the quality.

For demonstration, we are using a color change film this time. When prepping, we are going to put masking tape on the chrome molding first to lower the surface energy there. Then, we put the material right to the base of the molding. Pick it up and tuck it in. Usually, installers would do this tuck-and-cut twice. But when they cut, they often cut at the wrong side.

To demonstrate, here we are doing the cutting with a very sharp blade at a 10-degree angle, which is the standard right angle towards the surface. We go through the material with a very light touch. These are all well done. But the problem here is that we are now actually cutting on the chrome side.

By doing this, we are cutting a bit too high from the area. So even though we cut it straight, and everything is well done, the chances of scratching the molding or material lifting are very high, because the material is actually bridging from the body of the car onto the rubber in this case, which is going to lead to failure overtimes, as the surface energy of the rubber is low. Thus, cutting on the chrome side is a no-go.

Let’s check out a diagram before we get to the right method. It is essential to understand what are there before we wrap. The layers go like this: The molding, then black rubber underneath, and comes the body of the vehicle. If you have a clear head about this, you will see why cutting on the chrome side is too high. So when we do tuck-and-cut, make sure we have our tip of the blade right at the base of the rubber and finish the cutting.

So the right way to do it is this: Do the same process for prepping (set up the material with masking tape on the chrome side), and we pick the material up once, tuck it in underneath. Then we pick up the piece one more time, use a squeegee as a tucking tool, tuck it in with very light stroke. Now the material is right into the rubber. And it is firmly secured.

Next, make sure we click out the blade and make it sharp enough. We are doing the cutting at a ten-degree angle again. Remember, the tip of our blade has to be right at the base of the rubber – instead of the chrome! And by doing it, the blade goes very steadily, as the material is tucked in very tight and the blade is sharp enough to hold it. We can use our middle finger to go along with the cutting on the base to cut more firmly as well.

After the cutting is done, we can pull the excess material away. But do not forget to come back again, and use your squeegee to seal the deal. In this case, the material is no longer bridging and touching the rubber. It is tucked right into the base of the rubber with a hundred percent full cover. No lifting, no chrome scratching or rubber damaging.

As long as we can master this technique, it will speed up the install process and save us a lot of time, but more importantly, it saves us from costly failure and lots of problems. We will earn efficiency, durability, and the best, quality at once.

 

How to Cut Excess Material away from Roof without Damaging Paint

How to Cut Excess Material away from Roof without Damaging Paint

 

When it comes to roof wrapping, there are times when installers accidentally cut directly on the paint or overstretch the film if not doing in a proper way. So today we will introduce you two ways to cut excess film away from the roof gaps, which help you avoid cutting on the body and in the meantime, promise you full coverage on the section.

The first one requires a knife as we would usually do, but the other only needs TRI Line from 3M Knifeless Tape.

First at all, let’s see what the situation on this area is: mostly, there is a natural break between the roof section and the driver/ passenger side as you are wrapping the roof. And there is usually a molding there which can be easily removed in most cases.

When we get to this break, what we would usually do is to bridge it with our material. Some might jam it in, which will lead to overstretching. Thus, what installers often do is to pick the material up from either side and tuck it into the base. Then they would come back with their knife – usually vertical to the surface and make their cut, where there is a high chance of cutting directly on the body – and it is extremely hard to make a straight cut in this case.

So how can we avoid this? Here are our two solutions, which does not require much preparation and are very simple to do.

The first method is the one we mentioned that requires a knife. Before we start, we are going to bridge the gap with material as usual. But instead of picking the material and tuck it in, we can get our plastic knife and have the blade just barely out. The material is already set tight there over the gap.

What we need to do is to press the knife right in the middle of the groove, which is going to get us around one centimeter (half an inch) material over the groove. Then set it down to the gap. Technically speaking, what we do here is a giant relief cut. But it is safe enough because there is no knife touching the paint.

It is a quick and easy way to do – just bridge the gap, get our blade short and make the cut, which also gets us a full coverage on the roof. The only negative part is that it might hard for beginners to cut it perfectly straight. But of course, it is way better than cutting on the body.

So this is the first solution above, which involves the knife. For the second method, we will have to get our Tri Line prepared first. The 6mm one is enough – but you can use 9mm to get it a bit deeper.

What we would do here is to take the one string Tri Line on the upper area of the roof. Then slightly put the two other strings into the groove. Before start, the application, pick up the tri line and cut the two inside lines – so the outside line which is deep in the groove is the one that is going to be pulled. Once the material is bridging the gap, there is tension that will help us make our cut very clean there.

By using this way, there is no knife involved, thus there is no chance of cutting the paint at all. Even more, it helps make the cut perfectly uniform. In the meantime, it promises a full coverage on the section.

However, there are still things that we need to bear in mind: Do not do the middle part first then feed the material to the corners, because you will be getting wrinkles if you do this.

So here are two solutions we have for you to avoid damaging the vehicle body when cutting on the roof. They are simple and quick, which save you a lot of installing time and keep you from troubles. The most important thing is that it ensures the best quality for your install.

If you have not tried it and are still worried when it comes to the roof, why not give it a shoot, comment below and let us know how it goes!

How to Wrap Under Front/ Back Light

How to Wrap Under Front/ Back Light

 

Often times, it gets very difficult for installers to wrap under the front or backlight on a vehicle, especially for color change (and particularly for light color vehicle), because as we cut the material away from the side of the light, it always turns out that the material is not enough to cover the whole section.

Thus, today, we will be introducing a very useful technique to solve this problem. But before this, we will also use a case study to demonstrate what would happen if we do it in a “normal” way.

First of all, let’s see what happens with what we usually do. So we apply the material to the front or backlight bumper area as usual. And we work around it to create glass there.

Then, pick the material up and pull it around evenly. Run through the corner and set the film up to the edge. We use the groove of the light to kind of hold our blade and make a secured as well as good empty solid cut (It is an empty cut because we cut on the side of the light).

Next, get the squeegee prepared and squeegee it down underneath the way. There is not much problem for full print here so far. However, if we are trying to change the color of the vehicle, here we will see the original color down the end of the section if we come closer. If it is a vehicle in a light color (for instance, white, yellow or red), the difference would then stand out particularly.

So how can we avoid this as we wrap under the front or backlight? Here we are going to introduce you a great solution where you can achieve high quality by wrapping farther without removing the light.

For the first step, we need to get some masking tape prepared, approximately a quarter-inch or half a centimeter wide (or even a centimeter) – But just make sure that it is not too thick.

We are going to set it up exactly at the bottom edge of the light. Once it is set, get our knifeless tape ready and run its edge just to the top of the masking tape – Let’s make it as symmetrical as possible. The reason why we put masking tape down first is to lower down the surface energy of the light, because it tends to grip the film if we put the material on straight away.

Do not apply the film before you get this setup ready. Work around the material as you put it on, and create glass there. Go through the edge with your finger, set the material up just on top of the knifeless tape – so the knifeless tape is a quarter to half an inch above the bottom edge of the light.

And then we have to cut the excess material away on the side in order to access the knifeless tape. As soon as we reach it, fold and hold it, then pull. It will help you make a clean cut there, because we cannot cut directly on the light. Now we can release the film and the excess material at the same time.

But we still have the masking tape there. Now you will be able to recognize how easily the material is held away from the light with the tape. It could have been very tricky because of the grip. Now we can squeegee the film under the light, tuck it in straight away. Squeegee the corner down, then release the masking tape by pulling from the side. And we can finish the section as normal.

By following these steps, we will be able to get a clean and full cover on the area with no wrinkles appears. And we do not even have to take off the light anymore – because for some front lights, they are almost impossible to be removed.

Once we can master this technique, it will promise us a high-quality finish. And it will save us a lot of time because we do not have to spend time on taking the light out anymore and we can be much more focused on wrapping.

The Very Key to a Successful Bumper Wrapping

The Very Key to a Successful Bumper Wrapping

 

We have had quite a few articles talking about how to wrap bumper well. However, there is a very crucial point to a successful finish, which is to see this giant bumper in sections rather than one big chunk. In other words, observation before installation becomes particularly important here.

Let’s take a front bumper as an example. If we see it as one part and try to wrap in one piece of material, it is going to be a difficult job, especially if you are not working in a team.

If we look carefully, this bumper is actually broken up into smaller sections, where a vehicle has already got natural breaks on it. And to notice these sections is an important technique for wrappers.

We highly recommend installers to wrap section by section, which will make it easier and lower down not only the pressure for installers but also, the pressure from the adhesive and the film in terms of holding the entire bumper with one giant piece.

There is also another great thing about wrapping in sections. That is we can wrap with scraps that we have left throughout our job. By using scrap pieces, we will not have to take extra material from the roll anymore. What we use is basically going to be thrown into trash or used for practice anyway. So it saves our budget to some extent.

When applying, we can put the backing paper directly underneath the bumper section(s) as we release it to keep the dirt down. A bumper can normally be broken up into three sections: Left, right, and the center. We can set up each piece before application.

By breaking this one part into smaller sections, working the material around evenly into the corner, then underneath the bottom, we lower down the tension of the film on the surface, thus there would be less bunches or wrinkles. Even more, this helps us do our job faster and more efficiently in a way that gives high quality and better durability. Installers can be less anxious thinking about how to do it perfectly too, as small pieces are easier to wrap than one giant piece anyway.

After the application, we can use a bit of heat around the corner, and tuck the material in to the top. Cut along the portion and tuck the film in again so that the surface gets fully covered. Then finish the section off.

When cutting, there is less stress for wrappers if there is the wrong cut in this case. Because what we are using is a scrap piece, so there is no harm to take it off and start with another piece again (but of course, it will take a bit more time then).

However, if we try to wrap the bumper with one giant piece material, we are done if we make one bad cut because we will have to re-do the whole panel then. So again, wrapping section by section is going to keep us from so many troubles and promise a better process. Just finish one section alone each time.

You are going to experience how freely it is to work on bumper with less stress on the material itself. It is so much easier to make a relief cut to the top, then fold the material in towards the top. Even better, we can be so much more flexible to wrap better and farther on the section.

So before we wrap a bumper, do not forget to check out the natural breaks on the vehicle each time. And use those as advantage. Just do not see a front bumper as one chunk but three (sometimes four, it depends) sections.

Wrapping in sections will promise you high quality of the job. This is especially important if you are doing a color change, as clients are usually more critical than those ask for full print wrapping service.

Thus, the better we can see this bumper in smaller sections, and apply material section by section accordingly, the higher quality we will be able to achieve, as well as better durability, because the material will have less tension on the vehicle as you wrap in small pieces.

If you feel like there is a click in your mind after reading this, make sure you observe well before you do anything on the bumper ;)

How to Make Backing Paper Template for Wrapping

How to Make Backing Paper Template for Wrapping

There are always different kinds of challenges when it comes to color change wrapping: prepping, film stretching, cutting, angling… all kinds of “test” you have to go through. But today, we will be introducing you a method where you can basically do your wrapping in zero stress.

What we are going to show you today is to use the backing paper liner of your film to create a template for color change project, which will surely save you from a lot of troubles, because when you are laying the panel out in normal cases, there are times the material might fold in itself, or it would wrinkle, or it might pick up dirt from the ground…

However, it protects you from those uncertainties as you use these templates that are made of something about to go in the bin anyway.

First, at all, take a giant piece of a backing paper liner, put it on the vehicle that you are about to wrap with magnets on it. This is actually the same process we will normally do for color changing. But we are just using backing paper instead of the actual material this time.

Draw the shape of each part out on the paper, but make sure you leave about three inches (or around nine centimetres) extra bleed, and make your cut. The good thing about using a backing paper here is that you do not have to worry too much about making the bad cut(s) here, because you can just go grab another piece. Yet it would be a costly mistake if you made a bad cut with the actual material because you might then have to grab another three to four yard of film to re-do it.

Once you set all those templates for different parts (back fender, front/back door, rocker panel, etc.) of the vehicle, move over to the cutting table, where you have the actual material there already. And place those templates flat on the film with masking tapes around and secure it on the film surface. For this demonstration, we are using a gloss film, which is good because it has high surface energy so the masking tape sticks very well there.

When everything is set, you can cut the shape out from the film – and remember to cut exactly the same to the backing paper shape that you made before, because this is the reason why we use this method, which is to help you make precise cuts where there is zero stress for wrapping. With the backing paper template, there is a grid on the liner, which will help you make straight cut as you go through the process.

Also, there is another good thing about using this template method: The chance of making mistakes would actually go down to zero as you make your cutting on a flat table.

Even better, you can cut out both sides, for example, both the driver and the passenger side, with just one template. Thus, using a backing paper template in your wrapping process will help save you a lot of time as well.

But there are things you might have to consider even though this method is far more convenient. For an instant, you might have to think about the direction when your material is directional so that you can make sure it goes the same direction on the car.

Do not forget to label the liner and materials with a water-soluble pen as you are cutting them out though. So as you wrap each section with one piece after another, saving the rest for later, there is no way that excesses material will pick up dust or dirt during the process. It is just a very straight forward production.

However, we should also pay attention as we do our cutting on the table, especially when you have a film that is very sensitive, because it might scratch if you are not cautious enough. So just be very careful as you roll out the material. Once everything is set, you can put the backing paper over to the trash and start your actual wrapping.

If you have not tried this method out, give it a shot and it will surely surprise you!

How to Make Relief Cuts for Different Films

How to Make Relief Cuts for Different Films

We are probably all familiar with standard relief cut if we have done wrapping once or twice at least. But is standard relief cut always the same?

Today we will be looking at three types of standard relief cuts for full print and color change through case studies of gloss, and textured to multi-layered film.

For different kinds of films, you might have to apply with different types of standard relief cuts to get the best result. Otherwise, it might cost you as you use the wrong way to cut and tear the material.

One of the primary purposes to use relief cut is to relax the material while you are working around raised object or tricky angles during your wrapping. It is more often a better choice than using a heat gun – as it might overstretch the material. BUT, it does not mean the same relief cut would work for all materials.

We are going to show you what would happen when applying the same standard relief cut in all the three types of films. And we will introduce you with some adaptable ways to avoid problems.

Normal Standard Relief Cut

Gloss Film

First, we have a gloss film that is for the color change, which has a glossy layer – so it is safe to make a normal relief cut, and the material will not tear even if you pull it hard.

So we put the material around the front light where there is a raised object. It is essential to make your relief cut about half an inch (or one centimeter) away from the edge. In this case, we have our standard relief cut right in the middle of the raised object. By making this cut, I can relax the material for the corner. And I can pull from either side without splitting it.

For gloss material or matte material, which are strong, you can safely make standard relief cut. But in other cases, remember to do your calculation at all time before action, as different types of films might have different ways to cut.

Textured Film

Secondly, we have a textured film. And we put the material at the same spot on the vehicle, take it right in front of the light, and make the same relief cut. You can experiment with this if you want: As you pick up the material and try to pull it, you will find the material tear, as the textured film is very fragile. If you use a normal standard relief cut, in this case, the chance of film tearing becomes very high.

Chrome Film

What about chrome film? It looks like a gloss film. So can it take the same way to cut? Chrome is a multi-layered film with different types of layer points, and it looks like it is strong enough. However, if we make the same relief cut here, and pull it, the material splits.

Thus, for textured film and chrome, it can be a problem if we use the same standard relief cut around a raised object that is used for gloss film. So how can we make our relief cut without tearing the film then? Here we have two techniques for you:

The “J” Cut

Still using chrome film here, first we have to visualize and mark your “dead zone” around the raised object here and work around it. Instead of making a normal relief cut, we will make a “J” cut – which it looks like a letter “J.” Make a close curve having the line face the way into the raised object.

In this way, the cut is going out and close. So it becomes safe for you to pull on either side. You can pull the material tight and create glass. Even if the material gets split in this case, it splits into the raised object.

Using Air Release Tool

Another way is to use an air release tool to get around the raised object and make the relief cut. But instead of making a J now, we use an air release tool to help.

Mostly these tools are thin, particularly for popping bubbles. But they do have different styles. In this case, we are using a very thick one. We pick the material up, make a hole instead of cutting first.

And here we have a very big hole. This is essentially sort of the same concept as the J cut. We cut on the side of the hole that is facing the raised object. So if I pull hard in this way, the enclosed shape of the hole will keep the material from splitting.

So here are two ways to make safe relief cut for multi-layered or textured films – remember, not for floss or full print films though. Just remember to always think about the type of material you are using, adapt the right way to cut, and you will achieve promising quality.