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Zoom! Zoom!

Eight vehicle-graphics projects that are wrapped and ready to hit the road.

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By Clare Baker

Several rounds of physical and digital proofing were necessary to get the color and scale of the graphics correct. "Getting a real neutral gray tone with the black-and-white images" and keeping the color consistent between the photographs was a challenge, says Kurosaki. Cross sections of the graphics printed at 2- to 3-ft. wide x 6-ft. high with an 8-color HP Scitex XL on Oracal Orajet 3551 PVC film were given to the client for approval.

For final output, PDI used the same printer and media to execute the graphics for each of the trailers in 48-in. wide sections. The window graphics were printed on Oracal Orajet window perforated film with laminate. Total output for all three trailers was approximately 2000 sq ft; printing took 4 to 6 hours for each. The graphics were finished with an Oracal Oraguard 290 Premium Cast PVC laminating film. Before installation of the graphics, PDI painted the areas of the trailer that would not be covered by printed graphics black so that none of the original white paint would show. It took three PDI employees 1.5 days to paint the trailer and to complete the install.

Originally a photo lab, PDI has been in business since 1989 and has 35 employees. In 1993, the shop got into digital and in 2000, the shop’s first Scitex was purchased, followed up with the purchase of the 16-ft. HP Scitex XLjet5 a few years later. While acknowledging that smaller machines can achieve a higher resolution, Kurosaki points out that sometimes the decision of which printer to use is, well, black-and white: "Resolution is important," he says, "but when you’re doing volume and need things done fast, a larger machine is the way to go."


A Teen Dragster

While some girls at age 13 spend their time picking out clothes and jewelry or which new CD they want or which Harry Potter book to read (again), 13-year-old Katie Dill was picking out the design for her dragster. Katie and her sister Kelly, age 12, comprise the "Brat Pack Racing Team," and have been racing for 6 years, currently under the sponsorship of their dad’s motorcoach business. This past March, Katie and her dad enlisted the help of Road Rage Designs in Spring Grove, IL to wrap her 2005 Motivational Tubing Dragster.

Katie provided Road Rage with the idea for the design of the wrap: a rusted-out dragster-in shades of pink, of course-adorned with the image of a skull and cross bones on the side of the vehicle.

"[Katie] knew exactly what she wanted, so we had to make our layout match her imagination," says Kris Harris, of Road Rage Designs. Using Katie’s idea, the shop found a high-resolution image of rust and Mike Grillo, president of Road Rage, drew the other graphics. A few adjustments had to be made to the image says Harris. "The photo of rust was not the correct size for the dragster, so we had to tile the photo right to left and top to bottom."

Using its Mimaki JV3-160 SP Ultra with Mimaki SS2 ink, the shop output a reduced-size proof onto Avery MPI EZ RS. After receiving the go-ahead from Katie, Road Rage output the final graphics using the same printer and media. The image was produced in one piece, totaling 51 sq ft. Printing time took approximately 20 min. The graphics were then laminated with Avery DOL 1000 using the shop’s GBC Artic Titan 165, taking about 5 min. The installation was completed in 3 hours by one person.

In addition to the Spring Grove shop, Road Rage Designs also has locations in Wisconsin and Indiana. In business since 1999, the shop specializes in vehicle wraps, says Harris, citing that 90% of business is corporate accounts and fleets while the other 10% is racers and private individuals-although, presumably, the majority of those clients aren’t still in junior high.