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How to Bungle a Vehicle Wrap

(April 2012) posted on Mon Apr 09, 2012

Common wrap mistakes ranging from lessons learned the hard way to almost comical happenings.


By Jared Smith

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Another rookie error is using heat on a cold window during a removal. Since we’re located in Arizona, it took us longer than it probably takes most other shops to learn this lesson. But once we heard the big, loud cracking sound, the message was immediately clear. Come to find out, it’s simply not a good idea to use a weed burner, torch, or heat gun on a frozen piece of glass. To be fair, most of our staff knew this already – but one employee (who no longer works here) apparently never learned that trade secret.

‘Even experts’ error
Advanced errors are errors that only a true expert has the knowledge to avoid – hence, these can happen more often and to anyone, at any time. Causes for these errors run the gamut, from work overload, disorganization, rushing, or simply just bad luck.

We all tend to move pretty fast. Sometimes, we move so fast that we don’t catch that the RIP is set to use the wrong media profile. Printing a vehicle wrap using something like a banner RIP profile will throw the whole project off. Getting the RIP wrong can lead to problems like color that is noticeably off target to ink just dripping right off the media. To avoid a RIP disaster, use quicksets or checklists that will help your staff ensure they get the RIP right.

No matter how trained you become, however, there are always those mistakes that even the best can’t avoid. Like forgetting to add an overlap – this is an easy mistake to make because a tile done with correct overlaps looks almost identical to a tile done incorrectly. It’s almost impossible to spot. Many times, it isn’t found until after lamination and trim, or even after the client is already in your lobby and the installation has begun. I’ll tell you one thing: It isn’t fun to find out that you need to throw away hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of material. But, what’s even worse is when your client is waiting in the lobby expecting to drive out of the lot with a wrapped ride by the end of the day. To make sure this doesn’t happen, we employ quicksets in our RIP software to automatically add our standard ¾-inch overlaps between tiles for all wraps.


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