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Thread: Air Bubbles

  1. #1
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    Air Bubbles

    Does anybody have any tips on less air bubbles? I seem to be having issues with the bigger projects. I also have issues around the edges when i outline things with it being solid behind. I use calandered vinyl, R-tape Clear choice on smaller jobs, and i have been using 24" maintape med. tack for the larger jobs....i use to use R-tape conform with high tack, but didnt like how hard it was to peel off.

    I know this has prob been a discussion before, if someone has a link to the thread, let me know!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    PhD MikePro's Avatar
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    sounds like a squeegee problem to me :)

    just poke sum holes and let the sun do the rest for ya.

  3. #3
    Premium Subscriber jfiscus's Avatar
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    On larger areas of vinyl (more prone to bubbles) I still like to use application fluid just so that I don't have to poke bubbles.
    And yes, a new squeege sometimes makes a world of difference.

  4. #4
    PhD Craig Sjoquist's Avatar
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    care full sqeeging, don't move so fast,

  5. #5
    Master of Arts signcrafters london's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdimmick View Post
    I also have issues around the edges when i outline things with it being solid behind.
    I rarely, if ever, pre-layer two or more colors because of bubbles. One at a time = no bubbles.

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    i layer two or more quit alot actually....but i have done some larger jobs single layer that get bubbles. I'll have to try a new squegee and slow down.

    You mean slow down on application of tape or on substrate?

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    PhD bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdimmick View Post
    Does anybody have any tips on less air bubbles? I seem to be having issues with the bigger projects. I also have issues around the edges when i outline things with it being solid behind. I use calandered vinyl, R-tape Clear choice on smaller jobs, and i have been using 24" maintape med. tack for the larger jobs....i use to use R-tape conform with high tack, but didnt like how hard it was to peel off.

    I know this has prob been a discussion before, if someone has a link to the thread, let me know!

    Thanks!
    Air bubbles are almost always indicative of bad application technique. It doesn't matter all that much what vinyl or app tape you've chosen to use. If and when you learn proper squeegee technique the bubbles will go away.

    Moreover, pre-layering vinyl is generally considered a rather amateurish technique as well as a sure fire bubble generator, at least in my village. It's faster and far simpler to apply the various individual layers to the substrate than try to pre-layer. Accurate registration, like proper squeegeeing, is something else you'll eventually pick up. Or not.

  8. #8
    PhD AUTO-FX's Avatar
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    Do you use a center hinge method or do you just plop it down and start squegeeing? That could be one problem. Do you use a good quality squeegee? I like the 3M gold or Universal has a nice grey one. The angle of removal when pulling off the app tape matters. Go sharp and slow. That clear tape is a little aggressive, but good for small registrations.

  9. #9
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    I rarely prelayer, usually do them serperately....but, like you suggest, "a rather amateurish technique", i prob have issues with...what is the best way to apply with proper squeegeeing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AUTO-FX View Post
    Do you use a center hinge method or do you just plop it down and start squegeeing? That could be one problem. Do you use a good quality squeegee? I like the 3M gold or Universal has a nice grey one. The angle of removal when pulling off the app tape matters. Go sharp and slow. That clear tape is a little aggressive, but good for small registrations.
    I used 3M gold and use the center hinge method...i guess i need to slow down when removing tape....does it matter when applying the tape what direction to squeegee?

  11. #11
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Using calendared vinyls is also part of your problem. You can't squeegee as hard on that as you can cast without possibly tearing or slicing your vinyl. It's not made for that. Also, calendared is not a good idea to have more than a bottom layer and a top layer with none in between.

    Your not quite using the right materials for your intended application.

    Cutting corners will also bite you in the end.....................


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  12. #12
    Merchant Member signsbydale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfiscus View Post
    On larger areas of vinyl (more prone to bubbles) I still like to use application fluid just so that I don't have to poke bubbles.
    And yes, a new squeege sometimes makes a world of difference.
    I would not use application fluid on layers if an edge of the underlying vinyl will capture the fluid.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by signsbydale View Post
    I would not use application fluid on layers if an edge of the underlying vinyl will capture the fluid.
    Never used app fluid...have done a few 4x8 signs with ease....my squeegee is over a year old, seems ok, but i was using these cheap ones i got for free, i threw them away, maybe those were the issue...

  14. #14
    Bachelor of Arts OneUpTenn's Avatar
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    I actually love application fluid and really dont see how you guys do the larger vinyl without it. I use it on almost everything except regular yard signs. It gives you so much more time to play with the position and the bubbles I have when I use application fluid (if any) go away so much faster than the ones when I do not use application fluid.

    I swear by the stuff

  15. #15
    PhD AUTO-FX's Avatar
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    yeah, it is nice,especially for vehicle installs, but if your in a hurry you have to wait for it to tack up a little before you can peel off the app tape or else you CREATE bubbles with the pulling. If you know what your doing you really dont need the stuff for flat applications. just poke the big ones and the little ones usually go away on their own. There is one more trick with the app tape....

  16. #16
    PhD bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdimmick View Post
    I rarely prelayer, usually do them serperately....but, like you suggest, "a rather amateurish technique", i prob have issues with...what is the best way to apply with proper squeegeeing?
    Regardless of what you're using or how you hinge it, proper squeegee technique has three main points...

    1. Hold the masked vinyl off the substrate and always let the squeegee put the vinyl in contact with the substrate.

    2. Never squeegee unplowed ground. Always start the stroke with the squeegee completely on the last stroke and end the stroke with half to a quarter of the squeegee still on the previous stoke. Start each stroke off the image and end up off the image. How do you start I hear you cry. You make the first stroke completely off the masked image, generally on the hinge, and pick up about half a squeegee's worth of masked vinyl at the end of that stroke.

    3. Constant and firm pressure on the squeegee and constant speed, from the beginning of the stroke to the end of the stroke.

  17. #17
    College Senior ABPGraphics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by signcrafters london View Post
    I rarely, if ever, pre-layer two or more colors because of bubbles. One at a time = no bubbles.



  18. #18
    College Senior ABPGraphics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneUpTenn View Post
    I actually love application fluid and really dont see how you guys do the larger vinyl without it. I use it on almost everything except regular yard signs. It gives you so much more time to play with the position and the bubbles I have when I use application fluid (if any) go away so much faster than the ones when I do not use application fluid.

    I swear by the stuff

    I sooooooo totally agree - I love my Rapid Tac!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. #19
    PhD SignManiac's Avatar
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    I'm with Bob on the proper technique method. I slung vinyl for twenty five years or so dry. Rarely would I ever need or even want to use fluid.

  20. #20
    PhD Bigdawg's Avatar
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    When I first started laying down vinyl I had no idea you could do it wet... I agree with Bob's techniques here... That's some good, sound advice.

    Still very rarely lay down anything wet unless it's just too big for me to handle by myself and I still try to avoid doing it that way.

  21. #21
    PhD cdiesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gino View Post
    Using calendared vinyls is also part of your problem. You can't squeegee as hard on that as you can cast without possibly tearing or slicing your vinyl. It's not made for that. Also, calendared is not a good idea to have more than a bottom layer and a top layer with none in between.

    Your not quite using the right materials for your intended application.

    Cutting corners will also bite you in the end.....................
    What?

    While I agree cutting corners will almost always come back to bite you, calendared vinyl applies the same as cast (as far as flat surfaces). There is no difference in ability to lay a certain grade of vinyl, brand, color, etc, with the exception of an air egress media.

    It all comes down to technique. Is the surface clean? Is the transfer tape smooth? The squeegee must cause the vinyl to contact the substrate. The vinyl should not touch the substrate until the squeegee causes it to do so. Master this with the proper squeegee angle, and you will not have any bubbles.

  22. #22
    Moderator Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Agree with Bob and would make these points:

    1) The whole idea is to get it right the first time. Focus on laying down the premask smoothly with unidirectional single strokes and with the squeegee doing the laying down. The vinyl will then take care of itself.

    2. There seems to be a widespread myth that one can improve on the application by using excess pressure and repetitive strokes. Do not go back and forth when squeegeeing. If you get a bubble, no amount of squeegeeing will do anything but make it worse. Left alone, bubbles go away by themselves. Wrinkles, tears and rips don't.

    3. Whenever possible, section down your graphic so as to work smaller areas at a time. I personally prefer a horizontal hinge and vertical scissor cuts between letters and objects.

    4) Your squeegee should be replaced when you can see light under it when it is placed on edge on a flat surface.

    5) Vinyl application squeegees are designed and engineered to deliver the correct downforce where, when dragged, they bend. The squeegee should always be dragged or pushed against while held at about 45 degrees to the surface ... much like you would hold and work with a paint brush.

    The attached images show dry, sectioned down, horizontal hinge application of the letters and a wet application of the graphic because it was in panels that required perfect alignment to each other.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Air Bubbles-394marys_orchids_01-jpg   Air Bubbles-394marys_orchids_02-jpg   Air Bubbles-394marys_orchids_03-jpg   Air Bubbles-394marys_orchids_04-jpg   Air Bubbles-394marys_orchids_06-jpg   Air Bubbles-394marys_orchids_10-jpg  

    Air Bubbles-394marys_orchids_11-jpg  
    Fred Weiss
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  23. #23
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdiesel View Post
    What?

    While I agree cutting corners will almost always come back to bite you, calendared vinyl applies the same as cast (as far as flat surfaces). There is no difference in ability to lay a certain grade of vinyl, brand, color, etc, with the exception of an air egress media.

    It all comes down to technique. Is the surface clean? Is the transfer tape smooth? The squeegee must cause the vinyl to contact the substrate. The vinyl should not touch the substrate until the squeegee causes it to do so. Master this with the proper squeegee angle, and you will not have any bubbles.

    Cast has some resilience in it due to how it is manufactured.

    Calendared has none in it, because of how it's made.

    When doing dry [or wet].... if you have a bubble or even a series of bubbles, on a flat surface or with obstacles in the way.... a hard stroke with your squeegee on the right angle and pressure will take that bubbles[s] out and you can completely get rid of bubbles in cast. I've seen bubbles the size of Popeye's arms come out and I've seen them like pencils erasers come out.... flawlessly.

    In calendared, you have about a 1 in 5 chance of smoothing out that same bubble. The vinyl is much more brittle and will probalby wrinkle or tear when using the same method. Therefore popping bubbles and or waiting for the sun to take the small ones out is your only hope, unless you take it off and do it over.
    I've personally been doing this for 26 to 27 years.
    I'm not referring to any air release types either.


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  24. #24
    Moderator Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gino View Post
    When doing dry [or wet].... if you have a bubble or even a series of bubbles, on a flat surface or with obstacles in the way.... a hard stroke with your squeegee on the right angle and pressure will take that bubbles[s] out and you can completely get rid of bubbles in cast. I've seen bubbles the size of Popeye's arms come out and I've seen them like pencils erasers come out.... flawlessly.
    I'd like to see a video or a step by step with photos of that.
    Fred Weiss
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    Prices Slashed 50% to 80%! Clip art and seamless texture tiles, collections and individual images, lowest prices ever at www.allcompu.com. Come have a look.
    Our Latest Collection! Plotter Art™ Seamless Texture Tiles Volume Three is now available.

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  25. #25
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Fred, you're tough. I'll see what I can do. We don't video too much of what goes on around here, plus ya never know when a bubble is going to happen so, it's a little hard to try to create the situation, but when it does, I'll try to get the camera rolling.


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  26. #26
    scarface
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    Use a squeegee with a nice edge and no knicks. Also spray app fluid on the tape and let it sit and then peel. It releases less aggressively. I use 4076 conform higher tack on everything for years.

  27. #27
    Moderator Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gino View Post
    Fred, you're tough. I'll see what I can do. We don't video too much of what goes on around here, plus ya never know when a bubble is going to happen so, it's a little hard to try to create the situation, but when it does, I'll try to get the camera rolling.
    Drum roll puleeeeese! We shall await the First Annual Gino Versus the Bubble contest. Place your bets ladies and gentlemen and may the best man or bubble win!
    Fred Weiss
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    Expert Gerber Edge printing for the trade.
    Prices Slashed 50% to 80%! Clip art and seamless texture tiles, collections and individual images, lowest prices ever at www.allcompu.com. Come have a look.
    Our Latest Collection! Plotter Art™ Seamless Texture Tiles Volume Three is now available.

    fred@allcompu.com
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    Always Remember ... STICKY SIDE DOWN.

  28. #28
    PhD Malkin's Avatar
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    Because of the ability of cast vinyl to snap up a little, I can almost believe what Gino is saying, though I would be very careful about when I might try that trick. The adhesive on calendared is so gummy that it probably wouldn't happen.

    Also, because cast vinyl is more dimensionally stable, I am more likely to pop a hole in it. Calendared vinyl will shrink cause the hole to get a lot bigger.

    Bob - great tips on application technique. It's hard to explain, much easier to show. Even then sometimes...

  29. #29
    Premium Subscriber Gino's Avatar
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    Hey Fred..... do you want it wet method or dry ?? I do either.

    Maybe I can do dry with my right hand and wet with my left and if ya stick a tweezers up my butt, I'll weed some vinyl while I'm at it...... all at the same time. ba-dom-bump


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  30. #30
    Moderator Fred Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gino View Post
    Hey Fred..... do you want it wet method or dry ?? I do either.

    Maybe I can do dry with my right hand and wet with my left and if ya stick a tweezers up my butt, I'll weed some vinyl while I'm at it...... all at the same time. ba-dom-bump
    Dry with bubble sealed all around.

    As to tweezers and where you like them, I swing a little differently.

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