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View Full Version : Air bubbles under vinyl



Mike Paul
02-05-2004, 02:42 PM
Tiny air bubbles under vinyl.
Do you believe they dissipate over time?

Ian Stewart-Koster
08-01-2004, 05:41 AM
if the customer sees them, you tell them "yes, I'm told they do", but it depends on what time frame, & how big. Wish it was quicker, if it in fact happens!

theroq
10-02-2004, 04:59 AM
I ALWAYS TRY TO TAKE MOST OF THE BUBBLES OUT, BUT OVER TIME THEY WILL DISAPPEAR..... AND I ALWAYS TELL MY CUSTOMERS THAT THE SUN MAKES THEM DISAPPEAR QUICKER.:U Rock:

Newfiesignman
10-11-2004, 09:49 AM
I think a bubble is a bubble forever

nodrenim
10-11-2004, 08:03 PM
I have been told that they do dissappear, with sunlight and time. Actually, I think that a lot depends on just how sincere you are and how gullable your customer is.

thomas barth
10-15-2004, 12:42 AM
It is our experience that as long as we put very small pin-pricks in the area around the bubbles, they will disappear due to natural outgassing. When asked, reps from 3M and Avery agreed, but wouldn't confirm nor deny this on camera.
Tom

quicksignguy
10-19-2004, 12:13 AM
I had an experience with bubbles when I first started ... It was a large panel - 2 layers of vinyl, on both sides on a cube truck ... When I was done applying, the whole graphic had bubbles everywhere! I tried to fix what I could, but could only spend so much time on it. Told customer I'd be back to fix if he wanted ... 2 months later, went back to do more of his trucks (windows thankfully) and there wasn't a single bubble left in either panel! I was impressed, finally saw it work after telling I don't know how many customers that this is what is supposed to happen ... :thumb:

Dave

SignRover
10-19-2004, 12:23 AM
Wouldn't you think that a bubble in the sun would actually get larger as the heated air expands?

Bill Heishman
10-30-2004, 12:57 AM
Bubbles disappear fast in the Texas summer.

The earlier advice to pinprick the holes and let the sun take care of shrining the vinyl wiill help. Fluid filled (ie water) bubbles seem to disappear faster. My theory is that the water will migrate through the vinyl and suck the vinyl back down. This I have seen many times on reworks and add-ons to previous jobs.

In my experience two months is about the amount of time most jobs take to eliminate small bubbles. Large ones may or may not shrink down.

Fred Weiss
11-23-2004, 08:56 AM
Hate to burst your bubble :Big Laugh but they really do go away all by themselves. This happens for two reasons:

1. The vinyl is porous enough to allow a slow escape of air. When the air expands during the heat of the day, force is exerted allowing some air to pass through. When it shrinks back at night, there is less air and more of the adhesive makes contact and bonds. Eventually there is nothing left.

2. The adhesive is also porous ... somewhat like a thick spider web, which allows the air to spread out.

I did a rush window job at night once and ended up with bubbles the size of half dollars. Promised the customer a replacement. A week later I stopped by to see what would be needed and discovered that all the bubbles were gone.

Greg
12-06-2004, 08:22 AM
I have to say I got some of that Roland/Avery/Whoever "EZ Apply" and that stuff is awesome! I've done printed 24" x 18" signs on coroplast (my own personal nightmare) with it and the application has been bubble free when I got done with it. I little massaging with a fingertip has eliminated any stragglers. Sure it costs a little more but I've not tossed a single sign in the trash using it.

signguy95
12-06-2004, 10:26 PM
In the past 11 years I have seen lettering jobs come and go...Eighteen wheelers relettered as far as the eye can see and I can definitely tell you that air bubbles will be there forever...if...there is not a release hole or the bubble is really tiny(1/32" or smaller). So there it is...I have seen trucks we lettered six years ago come back after they changed companys...and while I removed the old letters we always laugh about the bubble(s) that we couldn't get out...we always say it's our trademark! :Big Laugh

gcljlamb
03-23-2005, 04:02 PM
Does anyone have any tech info on the effects of temperature, humidity, general climate, time of the year, on vinyl? Whether it be calendared or cast and how they're impacted by these elements? Just reading what's been written here, I'm wondering if it has anything to do with geography and the air in our areas.
I'm in the midwest (Kansas) and have found that any bubbles I have must be deflated. Here they don't go away. :thankyou:

I appreciate it,

George

Imakesigns
03-23-2005, 04:12 PM
I have had some jobs where the bubbles come out, and some where they didn't. My experience isn't long enough to say what the influencing factors are, but I know the sun really helps.

IntrezaDesigns
08-21-2006, 07:22 AM
I've done some jobs and got some bubbles, I remember my first job looked like a damn chicken pock case. As time went buy, I have learned ways to minimize the bubbles and when you do get those pesky ones poke a hole in them and let the sun try and work them out, If its so bad the customer notices tell him if they don't come out in a month or so come back and you will redo that piece of work. I've seen both happen some go away with time and some are stuck there for life.

Gino
08-21-2006, 05:56 PM
Hey gcljlamb, if you’re using the wet method, maybe you have hard water. If you’re not and putting it down dry, maybe there’s something wrong with the air in your town. I would advise getting some air samples and dropping them into an airtight plastic bag [or a vacuum] and sending them to a nearby army base and have them test it for illegal aliens. That’s what is probably getting behind your vinyl.

However, if they go away at night, then I think they’re local illegal aliens and not from outer space, but from below the border. You see, these little devils get behind the vinyl when you’re not looking and disguise themselves as sign shop vinyl adhesive with an out gassing rate of 436, 900 dytrons a second. At that rate they can flee as fast as a few hundred in a single night. This is a technical term that we’ve adopted in the sign industry as ‘BUBBLES’ You don’t want them. No way, No how !!


:Oops: Uh-oh, is this gonna turn political now ??

EndlessOptions
08-21-2006, 08:26 PM
Hate to burst your bubble :Big Laugh but they really do go away all by themselves. This happens for two reasons:

1. The vinyl is porous enough to allow a slow escape of air. When the air expands during the heat of the day, force is exerted allowing some air to pass through. When it shrinks back at night, there is less air and more of the adhesive makes contact and bonds. Eventually there is nothing left.

2. The adhesive is also porous ... somewhat like a thick spider web, which allows the air to spread out.

I did a rush window job at night once and ended up with bubbles the size of half dollars. Promised the customer a replacement. A week later I stopped by to see what would be needed and discovered that all the bubbles were gone.

It is the same premise as air in a balloon. The molecules of air are smaller than the molecules of the vinyl thus in time the bubbles will disappear. I have been installing vinyl since 1976 and have always said that if the bubbles aren't gone in 3 weeks I will repair or replace anything that I need to. To date I still haven't done either.

Techman
08-21-2006, 08:54 PM
and I can definitely tell you that air bubbles will be there forever.

I agrees. I've personally redone work installed by our local lowball pickle skinner. The bubbles do not always go away. Not sure what the dif is but it seems calandered vinyl has a bigger problem with them staying.. Or maybe it was cast. I really didn't pay attention to which but it did seem that onewas worse than the other....

Yes many will go away but there is always a few blisters left that seem to defy this unwritten rule..

gcljlamb
08-23-2006, 03:39 PM
Gino,

You know, you may be on to something. I mean, after all, I do a lot of my work in the capital city of Kansas, Topeka. And Topeka bears a particulary peculiar series of zip codes. They all....start....with.........*gasp*.....666!!!!!

Ken
08-26-2006, 01:24 AM
Poke holes in 'em..the sun will do the rest.
Ken

Mardi
12-16-2006, 02:22 PM
What bubbles? :help:

On serious note....We do spend all the time necessary to take out most of the air pockets. Whatever remains does vanish over period of time depending on the vinyl used and climate. No question about it.
Ofcourse that is if the surface is prepared properly and has no dirt on it.

Replicator
04-01-2007, 09:56 PM
Kinda like being a kid and having a few zits . . . Why bother trying to pop 'em

someday they'll just go away, and without the popping damage that so many

do to their faces . . . and their vinyl !

Sign Works
04-02-2007, 03:25 AM
Hey call me old fashioned but wouldn't it be easier and appear to be a bit more professional to actually learn how to apply vinyl properly without bubbles or wrinkles?

Marlene
04-02-2007, 06:39 AM
Being a pro doesn't mean no air bubbles. When you apply to plastics, there is out gasing going on. I do signs for Coca-Cola and they re-use the faces so I get to see over and over again signs that I know had ton of little bubbles that have flattened out and have none over time.

Creative_Lance
04-02-2007, 08:30 AM
I agree with Marlene, you will always have bubbles no matter what, unfortunately in our trade we do have 2 enemies: dust and bubbles or at least those my biggest enemies anyway, if you are a perfectionist like me then you wouldn't tolerate neither one of them, i do prefer laying my vinyl on dry and it took me a while to get to that point but i still work out the air from little tiny ones some times and also depends on what kind of surface you're dealing with but i always finish up my product before giving it to customers and try not to rely too much on the fact that bubbles will disappear with time.

signsbydale
04-02-2007, 09:36 AM
Hey call me old fashioned but wouldn't it be easier and appear to be a bit more professional to actually learn how to apply vinyl properly without bubbles or wrinkles?Yes, it would. It would also get the job DONE faster.:thumb: Now you can learn it pretty fast.

LarryBoy
04-02-2007, 12:05 PM
On all our trucks and signs we use an 1/8" drill from the back side, gives the bubble lots of room for the air to escape, of course you have those nasty holes on the back to deal with but hey after awhile those holes will close up on thier own.

high impact
04-02-2007, 12:25 PM
Larry Boy...hahahahahaha...

until a newie actually tries it! Then it may not be too funny.

Some bubbles go away, some don't. Do the job correctly (if you get some, redo it before the customer picks it up) and you don't have to worry about them-protect your reputation.

Wanna debate creases now? LOL

Replicator
04-02-2007, 12:27 PM
Wanna debate creases now?

Only under Cold Lam !

Bradster941
04-02-2007, 08:04 PM
In my neck of the woods, those aren't air bubbles, they're government required Braille Type for the Blind which, while we usually charge extra for, have been included on your sign at no charge cause we like 'Ya All..!..

Come back and see us real soon now, 'ya here !... :smile:



.

mountainmang
04-07-2007, 09:51 PM
i just tell them they're character marks..."you don't want something like everyone else has do ya?":Cool 2:

Signguyno1
04-07-2007, 10:18 PM
In Massachusettes air bubbles are outlawed and only allowed on Beacon Hill!

cdiesel
04-07-2007, 11:12 PM
The only bubbles I've seen stick around are in metalized films, such as chrome. As long as it's a standard pvc vinyl, they have always gone away for us. Obviously NOT getting bubbles in the first place is ideal, but it doesn't always work out that way! :wink:

Pro Signs & Graphix
04-08-2007, 01:52 AM
On all our trucks and signs we use an 1/8" drill from the back side, gives the bubble lots of room for the air to escape, of course you have those nasty holes on the back to deal with but hey after awhile those holes will close up on thier own.


until a newie actually tries it! Then it may not be too funny

You are not kidding! I am not so sure that I would limit that to newbies either. I have seen many "pros" from many industries do some really hair-brained things!

Budsoda
06-24-2007, 02:21 AM
I use Rapid Tac and never get air bubbles.........

Ken
06-24-2007, 03:25 AM
I was applying vinyl to an excavator today..Just as I was pressing down the vinyl, a fly got stuck to the sticky side. I picked it off as best I could..but that one may have a permanent bubble. lol
Cheers!
Ken

imaSIGNr
06-24-2007, 09:17 AM
I just had a bug shield come back a few days ago. Didn't have any air bubbles in it when it went out a month ago and now it was ALL air bubbles....I replaced it with different vinyl...

Elwood Moose
08-01-2007, 01:41 PM
I have a summer student this year, and he's been working out fairly well. He usually does my grunt work (small coro signs etc...) but on one particular day, he had to deal with a customer as I was on the phone.

I didn't hear what the customer said, but I did hear him say to the customer..."A few days in the sun oughtta get rid of those..."

I must be training him correctly.

petepaz
08-01-2007, 02:22 PM
i have noticed over time most bubbles will go away
if you squeegee them and stretch the vinyl you will have some problems
but if you have a big area to cover try to use the ez apply or control tac or what ever vinyl has the air channels in the adhesive this stuff is the sh#*t
i am by no means an expert but i consider my self pretty good with the installs but no matter how many i do i can't get a consistancy for not having bubbles
i have fleets that i do and i can do the same truck 2 days in a row and the vinyl /bubbles can be different on both
good to know others have similar problems

KR3signguy
08-01-2007, 03:28 PM
Put it in the sun for a while.

craigco
08-01-2007, 09:19 PM
I have seen it work both ways. I have picked up signs that bubbles had gone away and have seen bubbles that have lasted for years. There you go, however the bubbles that lasted for years didn't seem to become larger or present any problems.

Mike Paul
08-01-2007, 09:38 PM
Wow, This poll is 3 1/2 years old and still going... :signs101:

JimJenson
08-01-2007, 11:12 PM
Hate to burst your bubble :Big Laugh but they really do go away all by themselves. This happens for two reasons:

1. The vinyl is porous enough to allow a slow escape of air. When the air expands during the heat of the day, force is exerted allowing some air to pass through. When it shrinks back at night, there is less air and more of the adhesive makes contact and bonds. Eventually there is nothing left.

2. The adhesive is also porous ... somewhat like a thick spider web, which allows the air to spread out.

I did a rush window job at night once and ended up with bubbles the size of half dollars. Promised the customer a replacement. A week later I stopped by to see what would be needed and discovered that all the bubbles were gone.


3) The heat of the day expands the vinyl, thus enlarging the pores allowing trapped air to more readily escape.

craigco
08-01-2007, 11:20 PM
Yea, those little bubbles can cause so much pain. They just keep hanging around.

I have very little applications in which i do not have at least a few bubbles.

I don't know about the sun thingy. I have seen bubbles stay after being in major sun.

JimJenson
08-01-2007, 11:27 PM
According to the Center for Disease Control, a surgical glove is porus. By comparison, I would speculate a piece of vinyl is even more porus.

chorca
10-06-2007, 01:34 AM
Well, i've had good luck as far as those went..

Just starting out, playing with some little decals for myself and friends, i was using masking tape as I hadn't gotten transfer tape in yet. I found that the strong adhesive caused small "pickling" after i peeled the tape back, most bubbles around 1/8" or smaller.. I was worried, but after a day or two, they seemed to settle down. I thought it just might be the heat of the Florida sun as i'd applied them to my car, but after putting a couple large decals on a friend's laptop, they also "settled" after a few days and were perfectly flat.

I can only assume that has something to do with the porus nature of the vinyl.. in both cases they were Oracal 751.

Since then i've gotten proper transfer tape, and haven't had those issues since!

ALTEREDIMAGEDESIGNS
10-06-2007, 08:02 AM
So we know from experience that most bubbles DO in fact come out after some time, but how do you all do a dry job without barely any bubbles at all. I can do small stuff like lettering and coroplast and stuff dry without any bubbles but other times on larger panels i get bubbles...... Makes me want to do it wet but I know I shouldnt any insight on this????????

trakers
10-06-2007, 09:13 PM
Small bubbles absolutely go away on there own, at least they do here in the Midwest in the summertime.

When I first started, before I watched the Rob Ivers tapes, I had a heck of a time with bubbles. The graphics that were affected (they were all our own) are flat as a pancake now and look perfect.

I did a sign just the other day with a large reverse cut panel and ended up with a row of bubbles where the hinge was. Two weeks later and they are perfect now and they were in the shop the whole time awaiting cusotmer pickup.

The above experience is based on Oracal cast film which is 99.999% of what we use. Not sure about calendered.

Would love to read a white paper from one of the vinyl manufactures that gave the technical specifics of the phenomenon, but I believe Fred nailed it.

D2S
10-07-2007, 02:04 PM
Would running a heat gun over the bubbles after placing a pin hole speed up the process or just ruin the vinyl?