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Old 09-08-2014, 09:27 PM   #1
redprimo OP
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Joined: Jul 2011
Location: central coast of California
Oddometer: 345
Water tranfer printing on motorcycle parts

A few weeks ago I updated a thread about making a fiberglass front fender and at the end I mentioned I had plans to do some water transfer printing on it with a kit I bought from After more coats of primer than I care to remember I finally got things painted. For paint I UreKem catalyzed urethane base and clear. Normally you would apply the water transfer between the base and the clear but because I knew I would get a nasty amount of nibs I wanted to apply some clear so I wouldn't sand through the color in prepping for the graphics. My decision turned out to be a good one and after sanding with p1000 grit paper I was ready for the graphics. I used fine line striping tape to mask for the areas I wanted my graphic and covered the rest with masking tape, I also covered the underside because during the water transfer process some of the film can wrap around to other areas.

I couldn't get any pictures of the actual transfer process but basically you float a piece of PVA film with a design printed on it in a container of water and let it hydrate for 60 seconds. Then spray an activator on the surface and wait for a few seconds and dip your part into the film, swish it around to disperse the remaining film so it doesn't stick to your part as you pull it out and then remove your part. let it sit for a couple of minutes to let the ink etch into the paint and then rinse under warm running water.

Here are all the parts after I shot them with clear.

So here are a few things I learned:
1. watch all the mydipkit videos but ignore the shit about how to evenly spray the activator. well how to spray evenly is one thing but ignore the amount he uses in the video. in the video he uses paint to show how to spray evenly . I mistakenly thought that he was also showing the amount of activator to spray. I screwed up the gas cap two times before I figured out that I was over activating the film.
2. let your container of water stand for a several hours with a cover to allow all the nitrogen to our of solution and disburse. this gave me some minute surface bubbles before I figured it out.
3.definately tape the perimeter of the film with masking tape. it keeps the edges from rolling during the hydration phase.
4. you have about 20 seconds when you first lay the film on the water where you can gently chase any bubbles to the edge. try and get the small ones to join together and chase out as a single bubble.
5. acetone will remove the ink. This was another reason I was very happy I had decided to apply catalyzed clear over my base before I did my water transfers.
6. the small kit was enough film for the parts I did. I have a piece large enough to do the entire rear fender if I had wanted to. I used pieces of film large enough to cover the entire side covers , the red areas were masked. the piece of film I used for the front fender was almost large enough to cover the whole fender and I screwed up the tank once and had to do it a second time so both pieces of film would have almost covered the tank. If you want to do the entire surface of all your parts I would suggest the middle size kit or the large kit if your parts are larger than mine or you have more parts.

I just previewed this post and the pictures look like crap. the grapic is actually very crisp. Ill post some more pics with taken with something other then my phone once I get the parts on the bike
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:41 AM   #2
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: North Bay, CA
Oddometer: 767
I've not seen that before, pretty cool thanks for putting it up.
Originally Posted by Mr.Grumpy View Post
I swear to God that I will beat you senless with a Sanka can before I die.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:03 AM   #3
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Joined: May 2014
Location: New Brunswick Canada
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this is great info..especially for someone like me that cant use anything connected to air brush work.... keep the pictures coming and thanks for taking the time to show your work

Reaching for far less side stand rocks.... the PISTON MOD
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