Homemade Application Fluid??

splizaat

Very Active Member
Hey guys! I have been using ActionTac (by Clearstar) for the last 6 years and found it to be my favorite application fluid so far.

We use it to clean the surface prior to install, and during wet installs.

The only thing is, I'm tired of spending $25/gallon! SO my question is, how many of you make your own application fluid? what are u using (materials and ratio) AND do you use it to clean the surface AND install?

Let me know...trying to cut costs just slightly.

-Matt
 

artbot

Very Active Member
i know nothing of application fluid. but reading the previous answer sounds like the goal it so mix water and surfactant. the best "household" surfactant is bissell hard floor cleaner. it's a non-sudsing soap. perfect from breaking the surface tension of water without making bubbles.
 
I remember an old Sign Craft back in the early 90s had a reader that mentioned windshield washer solvent, same stuff you use in your vehicle. Use it right out of the jug, don't dilute it.

I have used it for almost 20 years with absolutely no problems. No failures, I do everything wet, even coroplast. Spray the application tape with the solvent to speed up the process and the tape just about falls off.

I use it on glass if the vinyl is fairly large. I know some members here will disagree but it works for me.

I was paying 99c a gallon, now it's gone up to almost $2 a gallon, still cheap. I wlll use soap and water in a pinch.
 

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
+1 for baby shampoo and water ... but only enough to break the surface tension of the water (about half a teaspoon to a quart). To clean glass before application, I first test the adhesive grab with some masking tape. If it's too little then I'll use a strong solvent like acetone. If normal then I use denatured alcohol. This I then follow with a soapy water spray and a window cleaning squeegee to insure there's no lingering solvent or rag lint.

Been doing it that way for 28 years and never had a problem.
 

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
I remember an old Sign Craft back in the early 90s had a reader that mentioned windshield washer solvent, same stuff you use in your vehicle. Use it right out of the jug, don't dilute it.

I have used it for almost 20 years with absolutely no problems. No failures, I do everything wet, even coroplast. Spray the application tape with the solvent to speed up the process and the tape just about falls off.

I use it on glass if the vinyl is fairly large. I know some members here will disagree but it works for me.

I was paying 99c a gallon, now it's gone up to almost $2 a gallon, still cheap. I wlll use soap and water in a pinch.

The problem with that is that some vinyl manufacturers warn about chemical reactions between ammonia and their adhesives that can cause premature failure. I never experienced it but I rarely if ever have used Windex or any other fluid containing ammonia to wet apply vinyl.
 
The labels I've read on windshield fluid state the main ingredient is like 98% methanol (Methyl Alcohol) I guess that's what makes it evaporate so quick.

I will never use Windex or other glass cleaner. I may recommend it to a customer I don't care for but I won't use it!!!!!!!!!!
 

S'N'S

Active Member
I don't do very many wet installs (because I hate it), so I don't spend money on app fluids and make my own.
I use about a dozen drops of Johnsons "no more tears" baby shampoo, 1 cap of Metho and 1 litre water. Metho helps with the evaporation.

Another signwriter I know uses windex for all wet installs, I questioned him about it and he said he's never had a problem, but I don't think I'll try it.
 

splizaat

Very Active Member
I remember an old Sign Craft back in the early 90s had a reader that mentioned windshield washer solvent, same stuff you use in your vehicle. Use it right out of the jug, don't dilute it.

WOW the blue stuff from the gas station? any brand in particular -- or just the cheapest blue windshield washer fluid you can find??

Also, people using baby soap, are you using this same fluid to clean surfaces before install?
 

Techman

Major Contributor
The blue stuff sux. It really sux...

The time it takes to get the vinyl to stick is way too long. I had the pleasure to try a few of those home made concoctions. Some work and a few are just plain bad. The blues stuff is in the realm of bad.
 

ucmj22

Very Active Member
We used to use dish soap and water when I started, now I use rapid tac 2. It use to take forever for a concoction of soap and water to evaporate enough to remove application tape. With the rapid tac you get about 30-60 seconds to make your moves, then it's down for good. I love it. If anyone knows of a homemade that does that I'd like o know too.
 

splizaat

Very Active Member
Where do you get rapid tac 2 from, local or online? I've seen crazy cold-weather glass installs using that stuff, but what's the price like? I go through a LOT of install/clean fluid and i'm happy with the stuff I'm using, I just don't want to spend the money for it anymore!
 

CheapVehicleWrap

Very Active Member
1/3 alcohol, 2/3 water, a couple drops of baby shampoo or clear dish washing liquid - just enough when you shake it there are some bubbles. That's how I read it 15+ years ago and never a problem. now how's THAT for cheap?
 
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ucmj22

Very Active Member
I honestly don't remember what I'm paying for that. It's probably at least $25. I get mine from Grimco.
 

ucmj22

Very Active Member
1/3 alcohol, 2/3 water, a couple drops of baby shampoo or clear dishing liquid - just enough when you shake it there are some bubbles. That's how I read it 15+ years ago and never a problem. now how's THAT for cheap?

I'll have to give this a shot. Adding the alcohol might give the speed I was missing before.
 

andy

Active Member
Water with a few drops of washing up liquid or cheap Blue window cleaner. If you're bothered about ammonia just buy the slightly more expensive brands which leave this ingredient out.

As far as speed goes a lot depends on what kind of application tape you use. I've always used a low tack paper which you can remove very quickly simply by wetting over with your home made application juice. The water soaks into the paper turning it and the application tape adhesive into mush.... which peels off very easily.
 

Pat Whatley

Major Contributor
How much of the stuff are you really using? Even with as much vinyl as we're applying everyday a gallon of Rapid Tac will last us over a year, we do almost everything dry.
 
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