'Ghostbusters' Arcade Game Requires Tricky Thermoforming

Who you gonna call? DKM AdArt and Plastic Systems.

Big Picture

The Client Innovative Concepts in Entertainment

The Players DKM AdArt, Plastic Systems

Tools & Supplies EFI Vutek GS3250, PETG, thermoforming machine from Terraforma Machinery

The Job Many arcade machines call for anywhere from 15 to 40 pieces of print, and it takes a trusted partner to make sure each and every graphic is not only visually enticing but also long-lasting and seamlessly installed. Innovative Concepts in Entertainment (ICE) turned to DKM AdArt to help launch a new “Ghostbusters” experience in time for the 2016 IAAPA gaming expo, hoping to stir up interest before the new film debuted in July. In addition to the usual pieces, ICE wanted a backlit, thermoformed attention-grabber that would be irresistible to arcade goers.

Production The core of the “Ghostbusters” marquee begins with a ¾-inch wood piece with affixed LEDs – that’s the easy part. DKM worked with thermoforming partner Plastic Systems for more than a year to get the external graphic just right.

“While software exists to help take the guesswork out of making sure all your graphics line up to the form, it is rather expensive, so we do it the old-fashioned way,” says Jeff Walton, head of design at DKM.

The prepress team went through trial after trial, working to line up the ghost’s facial features perfectly; tweaking the depth perception of the hands; and fine-tuning black accent details that would be thermoformed into the deepest parts of the logo.

After the first several rounds of grid testing and persistent ink cracking, it became necessary to modify the mold – which of course initiated a new shift in artwork and more rounds of testing. The final piece was printed on DKM’s EFI Vutek GS3250 onto a soft PETG plastic – requiring three passes of CMYK and two passes of white ink – and thermoformed with equipment from Terraforma Machinery.

In addition, DKM provided a range of printed material from 2-inch decals to 4 x 6-foot graphics and even service decals for the machinery’s interior. The shop’s arsenal also includes a Roland Soljet Pro II, Epson printers Stylus Pro GS6000 and SureColor S50670, 3M Controltac IJ180Cv3, Avery Dennison MPI 2050 Translucent White, a range of materials from Duratex, and CNC and laser cutters.

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