Vinyl lettering on dumbbells


New Member
A local fitness center wants to have their name and the weight amount applied to ends of 40 sets of dumbbells. These end pieces are a painted metal with some sort of protective finish. On the end pieces, there are two recesses, the top will have "UGL" and the smaller one will have the weight amount "5".

We are using a cast 3M vinyl and want to put a protective layer over it to protect it from weightroom debris, sweat, etc. On our first try, we used a bottle of clear polyurethane that did not ever turn clear. It stayed a milky white color. On our second attempt, we dropped some Frog Juice into the recesses and evenly coated the recess. After about 20 minutes, the vinyl would curl around the edges around the "UGL" and the weight "5" formed a few creases (I'm guessing the frog juices seeped under it somehow).

Any suggestions on what to use here? Again, we're just looking to coat the recess to protect the vinyl from peeling up. Also, any ideas on what caused the frog juice to curl and crease the vinyl? Thanks in advance for your assistance.

James Burke

Being a grandpa is more fun than working
I would cut stencils out of paint mask or vinyl and spray paint them. Use your same text, leave ample border around it and weed the letters and paint. They'll last a lot longer. Case closed.


New Member
This may sound like overkill but I believe in over engineering things and making them last.

I take it they will potentially take a beating which is why the protection? If so I would look at using a tough durable laminate, something like 3M 3645 Floor Lam or similar. This has been tried & tested in NZ on many very hard wearing areas like ATM counter top & interactive displays, the interactive displays were things that kids whack the crap out of, sort of like a whack a mole game.

I take it you were electro cutting as opposed to printing the decal? If so you could try laminating the cast & lam before cuting then just adjust the cut setting, yea it's thick but a nice solution all the same. If digital then a nice block over it but I would round the corners to give it extra longivity.

Re the frog juice – curling & creasing sound like it’s having a reaction to the film, chances are there is a mismatch of components, I wouldn’t use that combo.

Hope that helps


PS re the protective finish, chances are this will be a low surface energy and your base film may strugle to adhear, if so try an agressive adhesive or a adhsive promoter (Primer 94) to help get better bond