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  • vehicle graphics: audio car

    Posted by Sticky on November 12, 2002 at 8:03 am

    A good customer from a car audio shop changed his motor recently and wanted a design to ‘out-do’ his last car, which some of you may remember from an earlier post.

    My toughts were that a digi print was the only way to go, and this is the result.

    Designed in one or two hour bursts over the last couple of weeks, with plenty of revisions, adaptations, cups of coffee, etc. Total design time was probably 10 hours or so.

    Printed on an Arizona by Raccoon at a cost of (ouch!!) £510 inc vat on white Graficast with clear cast laminate. VERY conformable. Print quiality is generally excellent, but I was unhappy with the drop shadow having a very definite line to it’s edge. Apparently this is a problem with CorelDraw ??? Anyway, the customer approved the final print so off I went to cut it…

    Cut by hand on Saturday, approx 3hrs

    Fitted on Sunday afternoon / evening in about 6 hours

    Driven by the idiot on Monday and caked in muck before I took the pics (But he’s been ordered not to wash it yet 😆 )

    Retailed for £1000 all in.

    I would have loved to have had it all printed on reflective white vinyl, but the conformity of even the best (Avery XR1000, in my opinion) is nowhere near good enough for this kind of job. The back has yet to be done, and it’s quite flat, so it may happen yet…


    johnlewis replied 19 years, 3 months ago 14 Members · 34 Replies
  • 34 Replies
  • Neil Kelly

    November 12, 2002 at 9:01 am

    verry nice work I like the ripped open metal effect it looks verry realistic (have you got any close ups) and all for a grand Bargin

    enyoying your work Neil..[/list][/quote]

  • Mike Brown

    November 12, 2002 at 9:18 am

    Fabulous Andrew!

    ..especially as you created the original artwork yourself too…

    got any of those early revisions saved? – it would make a fascinating step-by-step.

    Sometimes I hate digital work – but that’s only cus there’s so much rubbish around, when it’s thought about, like this great piece, then I just love it!

    more please – much more…

  • Martin Pearson

    November 12, 2002 at 11:53 pm

    Nice work Andrew, it will certainly get noticed which is the whole point, how did you find the graficast to work with ? I have seen it advertised and there was a demo at the sign show but I dont know anyone who has used it yet.
    I take it the back will be a seperate job and you havent quoted him for this yet, can you use white reflective on the back of a vehicle ? I thought you werent allowed, I realise that a lot of it will be printed but I would have thought if there were any white showing at all he would get pulled over.

  • Robert Lambie

    November 14, 2002 at 11:18 pm

    Love the work mate… looks great Andy! 😉

    Like mike says, the fact you designed it yourself makes it all the better.
    Much more job satisfaction for you alone I bet. 😛

    with regards to the printing and vinyl… £500 for what looks about 8 metres square of digi-printing is a hell of a lot of cash…
    I’m not sure about how the print quality would compare to racoon but
    Super wide would have done the 8m square for about £140. 🙄
    I’m not taking laminating into consideration here though.

    Grafi-cast? Again I have never used nor know anyone who has. But the oracal 751 would have proved very conformable with this job…
    The only real obstacle being the front wing and even at that I don’t see a big prob for the 751…
    I’m not trying in anyway to promote it here. Merely pointing it out as it’s going to save you some cash & do the same job!

  • WP_Graphics

    November 15, 2002 at 11:29 pm

    This is fantastic!!

    One question i have to ask is how do you apply something this big without any bubbles, slight creases etc…

    Pretty amazing!!


  • Sticky

    November 18, 2002 at 10:06 am

    Okay, I’ll try and answer most of these questions or comments in order…

    Neil, Thanks for the comments, I’ll get a close up of it the next time I see the chap. If it’s of any use the ripped metal bits were created in CorelDraw9, using the mesh fill option on an irregular shaped closed curve. Some of the shapes were a little to complex for the mesh fill to work effectiveley, so these were done as an embedded object linked to the closed curve (easier to do than to explain)

    Mike, I’ve got a couple of bits of early drawings knocking about, but it’s a bit disjointed. To try and briefly explain how the end product came about would need about a weeks worth of typing. I would love to put together a ‘how to’ on the subject, maybe it’s something I can look at when I’ve got a bit more time on my hands, but at the moment I can’t say when that will be. I fitted this job on a Sunday, which is usually the only day I get off. I’m kinda up to my neck in it at the mo’.

    Martin, Re Graficast, see below…
    Reflective on the back of a vehicle… Interesting point. The road traffic act states that any colour other than red can be used on the front, anything goes on the sides, but ONLY red can be used on the back… however, on of my biggest contracts has reflective yellow on the back of their vehicles (1000’s of ’em), and the sheer amount of vehicles that are knocking about with allsorts of stuff on the back in any colour would seem to suggest that no-one has the slightest idea of what is allowed and what isn’t. Has anyone ever heard of any legal proceedings in this matter? I’d be interested to hear. As for now, I’m just gonna go ahead with it.

    Rob. Too right, £510 is a shed (sorry Mike) load of money. but the quality had to be spot on. I’ve had stuff printed on an Arizona machine before and that’s the quality I was looking for. I’m not knocking Superwide, what they do is good, but the quality is poor for this kind of job. If it was the side of an artic, or a big banner then I would have gone with them, but the last stuff they did me for a vehicle cost me £70 and went straight in the bin. It just doesn’t cut the mustard when given the kind of close scrutiny that this type of job’s gonna get.
    With regards to Graficast, that’s the only option I was given by Raccoon, and they seem to know what they’re talking about, so I took their word for it, and I must say that I was very pleased with the conformability and quality of the finish. If it was a case of me supplying the vinyl for them to print then I may well have used Oracal, but all materials were supplied by them.

    Gav, Rob’s gonna hate me for saying this, but DO IT WET. I wouldn’t have even attempted to do this thing without a bit of water. The print came as one BIG sheet of white vinyl (obviously with the image printed onto it). This was then hand cut and application tape was applied in the usual way. Once the vehicle had been thoroughly cleaned, cleaned again and then panel wiped, the graphic was offered up to find the correct position. At this stage the backing paper is still on. My personal preference for positioning something this size is to peel back about 3″ of the backing paper from one top corner of application tape and use this bit of a corner to hold the graphic in position. Do the same thing at the opposite side, and once everythings where it should be remove the main graphic, but leave the little corners of app tape behind. A fine mist of water was then sprayed onto the entire side, the backing paper was removed from the vinyl and this too got sprayed with a fine mist. All that remains then is to align the graphic with the two corners of tape and it’s in the right place. Squugee all the water out, working from the centre, then remove the app tape and start the hard bit, which is getting into all the nooks and crannies, folding around door edges, over handles, etc.

    Hope these replies are of some use to someone!!


  • Robert Lambie

    November 22, 2002 at 9:27 am

    applying with water andy 😮 😮 😮 😮 (?)

    if it works for you mate then go for it… in a nutshell if the wet application is what is gonna get your job done properly then go for it. but if you do get it pulling back… then i would blame th form of application first mate.
    the fact that the panels are all pretty flat you may not get any probs…
    but im saying nothing… 😉

    as for print quality comparedto superwide>
    my quote

    quote :

    I’m not sure about how the print quality would compare to racoon

    i agree with you here… ive been using superwide myself as you know.
    the only downfall i give them is the dpi output. but when dealing with huge jobs. high resolution is not always important.
    however when doing something like this, i would have to agree with you on it. the better the dpi the better looking this job would be…
    now having said all this.. i went and gave racoon a call yesterday.
    i have about 10 vans to do for a customer. a good customer that ive had for about 10-11 years… anyway he wants all his sprinters wrapped. but wants the rez to be good… so racoon have given me a good competitive price for the job but using my own vinyl (vehicle wrap)…
    anyway… all said and done the customer accepted the quote and said he
    will call me on the next few weeks with neccessary artwork etc.. and we can get the ball rolling… so thumbs up for raccoon so far… 😉 😀

  • Sticky

    November 22, 2002 at 10:52 am


    Re: Raccoon…

    As I’ve alredy mentioned in previous posts on this topic, the resolution of the print was sxcellent, but I would STRONGLY reccomend getting a sample print of a small portion of the design you want doing before proceeding with the full order. My design was created in CorelDraw9, using multiple overlayered bitmap and vector objects. This looked exactly as I wanted it on screen and when printed on my Deskjet to send as a proof, but in the actual vinyl print the shadow effect was not as it should have been, and I was far from happy. I called my customer to tell him about this issue and he popped round and okayed the work, so I went ahead and fitted it as it was, and in truth there’s probably only ever going to be me that notices it. When I called Raccoon to tell them about the problem they said that Corel had some issues with printing, and that there was nothing that they could do about it, recommending that in future I submit any artwork in a different format. To be fair to them, they did say that they would look into it and see if there was anything that they could do to change various settings, but as the customer was happy I just let it go.

    What I would advise is that you send all artwork as a flattened bitmap, and as I’ve already mentioned, get an actual sample printed before proceeding.


  • Robert Lambie

    November 22, 2002 at 2:01 pm

    thanks mate, good advice..
    i normaly use photoshop and build my images as layers like you said.but when saving i normaly save as layers then one copy flattend.

    this job im doing is not my artwork, but somone elses. so they will submit it. ill ask raccoon what they would prefer it in.. and say to the customer to arrange for it to be in that format…

    its always the same… customers think walking in with a bit of artwork is gonna save them a packet… they forget it has to be in the format we need. and at a rez that is high enough, that it doesnt pixalate when blown up… 🙄

    cheers mate 😉

  • Martin Pearson

    November 22, 2002 at 5:21 pm

    Andy, I’m surprised that you only found out about the problems with corel after the job was done. I would have thought someone from Racoon would have called you before the job was printed to explain that there might be a problem with the printing and to see if you were happy to go ahead with it as it was.

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    November 22, 2002 at 11:28 pm

    Thats One Wicked Ride Brother Is Very Attractive Work Kat You Do Some Incredible Stuff Keep It UP!

  • WP_Graphics

    November 23, 2002 at 1:00 pm

    Still think that the price you paid is very expensive…

    I got an 8′ x 4′ print – printed on an arizona with lamination for about £120 from FITT signs. Very good service and very quick turn around…


  • Sticky

    November 25, 2002 at 7:51 am


    I spoke to Raccoon before sending the artwork to them and they faxed me a sheet of info regarding the formats and media type accepted, and in amongst them was CorelDraw9, so I assumed that everything would be okay. They were sent a proof along with the CD contining the artwork, and at no point did anyone call me to tell me that it would not look as it should. I think I’ve maybe been a little soft on them, and pehaps I should give them another call, as Gav’s mentioned, it wasn’t exactly a cheap job.


  • richard clark

    November 26, 2002 at 3:20 pm

    (hot) hi, richard from Raccoon Digital here. Have read the discussion on this job and would like to comment on the following:

    1. Cost of this job – We would never portray ourselves as the ‘cheapest’ supplier of digital graphics. What we strive for is quality print, quality materials, good, efficient service plus support and back up. As far as the cost goes, I have checked back and we printed 10 metres square of print onto an 8 year cast vinyl with a cast laminate. The cost was £425 plus vat. This works out at £42.50 per metre square. This was produced on an Arizona printer running 3M 6700 series inks, which carry a minimum 5 year life warranty when laminated. Most of our print goes onto 3 and 5 year calendered vinyl, for which we are very competive with the likes of Superwide Graphics. But as everyone agrees, our print quality is better. our inks are 3M inks, which offer greater guarantees and cost a lot more than any other inks available.
    2. Graficast – We have tried lots of different ‘wrapping’ vinyls other the last three years and graficast is the only one that we have found to work when laminated. VWS is great , but you can’t laminate it and then wrap. The same with Macfleet and Avery 1000 Cast. If anybody knows of a good wrapping vinyl which can be laminated, let mew know.
    3. 8x 4 ft vinyl print with laminate – £105+vat – Standard price from our price list. Beats Superwide Graphics.
    4. Corel Problem. After Andy phoned with his concerns over the sharp edges on the fade, we printed a section of the print out on the Arizona. I then checked the artwork and the results were identical. Only when you zoom in closely on the Coreldraw artwork can you see the sharp edges. You do get issues with Coreldraw when printing. It uses a lot of special effects that do not translate when processed as a postscript file. As Andy says, you are always best ‘flattening’ the artwork before sending to us for printing, as this usually shows up any problems beforehand.

    I do take pride in the reputation of Raccoon Digital and would like to hear from anybody who has any opinions or views about us. We are always striving for perfection and trying to respond to the needs of the sign industry.


    Richard Clark – Raccoon Digital

  • Mike Brown

    November 26, 2002 at 5:04 pm

    Nice to hear from you Richard, it’s really good when suppliers/providers are happy to discuss their products openly with those who use them.

    Thanks for getting involved. We try not to ‘jump-the-gun’, preferring instead to discuss things logically and sensibly, with each person arriving at their own conclusions through open debate.

    No-one denies anyone else a profit and, as such, its good to talk openly about pricing and what exactly you get for your money too.

    Thanks again for chippin’ in… 😉

    more soon


  • Joe McNamara

    November 26, 2002 at 7:59 pm

    Nice to see a digital printer on the boards, Richard. You are most welcome.
    Your prices seem very good and the idea of higher resolution is appealing also. Can you organise some price lists so maybe rob could have them put them in the members area.

  • Robert Lambie

    November 26, 2002 at 8:09 pm

    I Second that richard…
    thanks for sticking your neck out & taking the time to reply…
    i have to say, before seeing the output of your machines on andys work i didnt give the rez much more thought… i kinda thought if its wide-wide format then it has to be low rez… silly i know, but there you go…
    after calling you and listening to what you said i quickly agreed…
    you gave me a good price based on the volume of printing my customer wanted. the fact it was slightly higher than super wide did not matter. the customer was happy to pay that bit more to get the life and quality that you can provide… i have now sealed the job, so as soon as i get the knod to start the work ill give you the go ahead.

    i cant comment on the graficast… i have never used it.
    i would however prefer to use a wrap vinyl for wrapping even if it had to be done without lamination.
    i remember a while back we where given some graphics to apply that had been laminated… there was a subtle recess in a panal which i heated in to place… the lamination came away from the print and went brittle and messy… i ended up buying the prints from wm smith after that…

    on that….. for the same stuff i was asking you for. wm smith gauranteed a 5 year life on un laminated 3m prints. can you tell me the difference with theres to yours…
    what i mean is if they are they using the same inks and vinyls…why can they give better gaurantees… or is that just down to the machine?

    now ive asked that im not sure if its a silly question 😳 😆 😆 😆

  • John Childs

    November 27, 2002 at 6:42 am

    Richard from Raccoon…

    Could you give me a call please on 01536 771772

    Thanks – John

  • Martin Pearson

    November 27, 2002 at 12:01 pm

    As has already been said its nice to see a digital printer on the boards, especially when they are prepared to discuss work openly on the boards. I think Gavs comments about you being expensive are a little unfair unless his 8’x4′ print was on cast vinyl with a laminate.
    Rob the graficast wrap is designed to be laminated and having spoke to people who use it there is no problem with the laminate seperating when heat is applied.

  • Robert Lambie

    November 27, 2002 at 12:15 pm

    fair enough martin but….
    you should not wrap with a cast. not saying it wont conform, i have as you kno used 751 oracal on slight recessed areas……
    the laminate would also have to be a clear cast… again you dont get a wrap vinyl in clear… so really that is why you can only laminate the cast…
    both have same stretch and memory properties…
    but with the wrap… the wrap vinyl can be pushed further. were as the cast laminating it will only go so far. then start to pull away from the surface. 🙄

  • Martin Pearson

    November 27, 2002 at 5:15 pm

    Robert, I’m sorry but I have to disagree with you, Grafitype are advertising it as a wrapping film not a cast vinyl. From what I have been led to believe this is what it was developed for, it has been developed as a two part application the laminate being the a part of the makeup. I could of course be completly wrong (I usually am) but having spoken to a couple of people who use this alot for full and partial vehicle wraps then I have to take their word for it.
    As for there not being a clear wrap, VWS/KPMF do a clear wrap. OK its not optically clear but if you put it over a graphic the graphic looks fine and there is no milkyness (I think I just made that word up!). I have put it on the front of peoples cars to help prevent stone chips.

  • Robert Lambie

    November 29, 2002 at 2:57 am

    Hi martin
    I agree a bit with what you say as far as these guys are trying to promote it for wrapping. and also KPMF do, do a clear wrap. 😉
    there is a few things you have to think about regarding grafy-cast… ill try explain.

    Graficast vinyl? The name for a start tells you it’s a cast and not a vehicle wrap.
    “Grafytip” the company? They sell tons of stuff… they are not sole vinyl suppliers nor are they manufacturers.
    So I would stick my neck out and say… “You are buying a rebrand of some other make of vinyl.”
    Europoint sell oracal.
    Amari sell mactac
    But grafityp selling graficast? …..Rebrand!
    I don’t know enough about the laminating vinyl to argue my point, but!
    What I will say though is this…

    Forget the laminating and think more on the wrap vinyl…
    Why would a wrap pop out back if it were good? Badly fitted is one reason… if the recess is not cleaned and degreased properly then there is the chance it will pull back. The reason is because the greases or dirt are between the vinyl and van. It can’t bite the surface of the van enough. So when the vinyl becomes taught, or attempts to become taught… it pulls back and it comes out from the recess.

    Now take the ink that is applied to the surface of the vinyl when digital printing or screen… vinyl is not porous. Well not as porous as say paper.
    There for the ink sits on the surface. I know some say the ink is fused on by the head etc but again it really is only on the surface. “Example” take meths on a cloth and wet the surface of a digi print on vinyl… leave it a few mins then repeat… you will see the print comes away from the vinyl leaving perfectly white vinyl again…
    Hence the reason why I say the ink is on the surface.

    Now back to the vinyl… we all no vinyl onto vinyl sticks like s*** so why when laminating two vinyl’s together. Why do they come apart? I would say 2 possibilities.

    1, like I have said above in my first post. Two different types of vinyl. One with better conforming properties. The laminate has lower and shrinks back pulling away from the wrap beneath.

    2, the same scenario as I have described above. The ink is sitting between the two vinyls like the grease on the badly prepped van. No issue arises when you are fitting onto flat panels. But when it comes to deep recessed areas, both need to stretch in they way they should. And as I have been told, do!
    “Fair enough” but what happens a few days later when the two become taught or shrink a little…
    The first skin being the wrap is gripping the surface of the clean vehicle so manages to stay put. But the second
    Has to cope wit the same pulling demands when it becomes taught or shrinks. The problem now, is the second vinyl (being the laminate) can only grip the vinyl surface beneath and that has a coating of ink. Not bare vinyl. The result is it looses its grip and pulls away from the vinyl beneath.
    Any laminate that you see that has pulled away from the printed vinyl below it will have a light version of the print beneath it showing on the adhesive side of the laminate. This alone shows you the ink is hampering the adhesive biting.

    All this said and back to the cast. Cast vinyl! Any good cast can be pushed to the point it becomes a wrap.
    The problem is it returning back to its former shape. Cast has a low memory span, but wrap has even lower.
    Cast has been around for years. If most casts could be pushed like the wrap then why was there a need to bring out a wrap?
    If you look at the demo I did with the oracal 751 series. In a way that was a wrap. And to this day the vinyl is perfect. The demo was done on various vehicles and worked great.
    Now does that mean it can now be labelled a wrapping vinyl? I would say no! Even though I know it is capable.
    We need piece of mind and that is why the wrap vinyl was brought about.
    In my honest opinion I would say they are promoting it as a wrap because they don’t have one & see that the buzz word in the vinyl market is wrapping and want a piece of the action.

    After all it would be just as easy to rebrand and call it “grafy-wrap” wouldn’t it?

  • John Childs

    November 29, 2002 at 11:22 am

    Would it be too cynical of me to enquire whether wrapping vinyl is just ordinary cast material with an extra handful of plasticiser thrown into the mix?

  • Martin Pearson

    November 29, 2002 at 12:48 pm

    I dont know John but my first thought would be no. There are a couple of reasons for this:
    1 There is quite a big price difference between some cast vinyls and wrap vinyls, Macfleet is quite a bit cheaper than cast and I would have thought the prices would be similar if they were made pretty much the same way.
    2 Cast has quite a distinctive smell and if a wrap were similar to cast you would expect it to smell similar, even if not quite so strongly.

    I havent really been in the business long enough to know, so as far as I am concerned its either my own opinion or what I have been told by other signmakers.

  • John Childs

    November 29, 2002 at 1:06 pm

    Well, Martin, wrapping vinyls are a fairly recent innovation for all of us so it doesn’t really matter how long you have been in the business. I am only going on the same sources as yourself, namely my own limited experience and what I have been told, which is mostly by suppliers rather than other signmakers, so my sources are probably less reliable than yours from a practical point of view.

    Your point on price is a good one and not something I had thought about.

  • Robert Lambie

    December 1, 2002 at 8:44 pm

    im replying to what you said here john based on what a good source told me. but again, he is a supplier and may or may not be completely accurate. anyway…
    i asked why does he not supply a wrap vinyl if he supplies every other type of vinyl… almost anyway, his reply was because it is made totaly differnt and isnt really a vinyl !… i got side tracked after that so i cant elaborate but thought i would chuck somthing else to think about. 😕

  • Paul Davenport

    December 3, 2002 at 8:54 pm

    Welcome on Board Richard

    Well you want some feed back, first of all youlll probably know me from SR signs in Burnley, and as you know we constantly use you for a fair bit of stuff, I cant really complian at anything really, top service provided.

    Admittidly there are a few silly mistakes, but you always sort them right away , I would like to point out as well that digital printing is relativly new and the amount of stuff involved for everyone is unbelieveable, take us, we only buy prints, but we are expected to use corel, adobe, macromedia on macs and pc’s, as well as other quirky stuff and as Richard points out not every thing translates well to industry std postscript (maybe corel should be adressing this problem) so there are gonna be a fair few problems flying about

    But Its nice to see you openly discuss these problems, Its the only way everyone can learn….

    We have had bits of problems with many different suppliers, but the ones who arnt shy at sorting out stuff always remain on the books, and like a bad print the rest just fade away !!!!!!!

    (dont forget the bottle at xmas mate !!!!!)

  • richard clark

    February 14, 2003 at 5:14 pm

    I haven’t been on the site for a while, but I thought I would let everyone know about something that I discovered only this week. Once you have applied a vinyl into a deep recess, you should then heat the vinyl again at a temp of 80 degrees. This releases tension from the vinyl and stops it popping out.

    I found this out whilst watching the Avery vinyl fitting CD. I believe the CD is availble from Spandex etc, and is worth watching.

  • Robert Lambie

    February 15, 2003 at 10:54 am

    Yep that’s correct Richard… I actually let the metal cool naturally first then heat till the metal is extremely warm. Then let it cool again and repeat a third time. The third time isn’t always necessary but I think it makes sure that any memory left in the vinyl is wiped.

  • Mike Brown

    February 15, 2003 at 12:52 pm

    Yep! I can vouch for that…works a treat…we’ve been doing this on certain vinyl applications for the last fourteen years now and it’s certainly one way to overcome the problem of vinyl lifting out of recesses…

    more soon


  • Kevin Flowers

    February 15, 2003 at 3:31 pm
    quote robert:

    Yep that’s correct Richard… I actually let the metal cool naturally first then heat till the metal is extremely warm. Then let it cool again and repeat a third time. The third time isn’t always necessary but I think it makes sure that any memory left in the vinyl is wiped.

    Avery was demostrating this process at Sign UK, it was a demo worth watching and being relatively new to vinyl application i watched it twice, occassionally when things ain’t going right i think i should have gone back and watched a few more times.

    Signs vinyl design

  • johnlewis

    March 6, 2005 at 9:18 am
    quote richard clark:

    I haven’t been on the site for a while, but I thought I would let everyone know about something that I discovered only this week. Once you have applied a vinyl into a deep recess, you should then heat the vinyl again at a temp of 80 degrees. This releases tension from the vinyl and stops it popping out.

    I found this out whilst watching the Avery vinyl fitting CD. I believe the CD is availble from Spandex etc, and is worth watching.

    Could you tell me a page url where i can find the cd
    thanks john

  • Shane Drew

    March 6, 2005 at 11:37 am

    John, if you ring your Avery retailer they should send you one free. I got one even tho I didn’t request it.

    They are handing them out here like lollies 🙄

  • johnlewis

    March 6, 2005 at 11:52 am

    cheers dsi

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