How To Wrap Your Car with Skyprint Media, 3M and Lamin-x
Paint used to be the preferred and just about the only method of refinishing a race car. Paint looks nice but it takes a long time to apply and costs a lot to do. In the sometimes rough and tumble world of Motorsports cars end up having to be refinished frequently.
A lot of guys don't care about how their track car looks and just bang her out so the wheels clear fenders when things get bent. However, sanctioning bodies like NASA and SCCA have appearance rules and if you are sponsored, sponsors expect your car to be presentable so the beat ass race car look wont fly.
Since painting can be a significant expense, any means available to reduce the time and money spent keeping a car looking good is a godsend. One of the ways to keep your car looking its best relatively inexpensively is through a wrap. Wraps used to be pretty hard to apply with mixed results but with new technology, they're becoming easier and easier.
Check out how we wrapped the Dog Car giving it a fresh look with the help of 3M and Skyprint Media.
We had been slowly rebuilding the Dog Car, the infamous B14 Sentra race car that has been captained by yours truly and more recently by Dai Yoshihara who won the inaugural MPTCC championship in it. The car was sort of battered by 15 years of racing. One of the things we did was to fix all the bodywork which had been damaged in the last race of the MPTCC season and repaint the car. The car now looked pretty good, like a nice street car actually. It was boring so we had to make it look more race car!
To wrap the world famous Dog Car we called upon our buddy Alex Lopez of Skyprint Media. Alex does great work on wraps, graphics and printing of all sorts of things. If you needs shirts, stickers, signs, any sort of printed thing, Alex is your guy. Alex started our job by laying out where we were going to apply our different colors of 3M Scotchprint wrap film with some masking tape so we could get a rough idea on how to get the look we wanted.
You can see how our color panels are coming out here. Previously, the Dog Car had a sort of lightning bolt graphic as if the 90's had called and they were wanting their stripes back. Our new look will be simpler and cleaner.
After he figured out how we were going to lay out the 3M wrap material, Alex laid out a really cool type of tape. This is cutting tape, it has a thin filament that looks like dental floss in it. You lay out the cutting tape, put the wrap material on top of it, pull the filament up and it cuts the wrap material exactly. It is a godsend for elaborate designs and saves a ton of time.
A light touch with a torch helps the cut tape stick well. Let me tell you this is a light touch to just warm the surface of the tape, not melt it to the car.
Alex next lays out a piece of 3M Scotchprint film. We got the film in a cool color that looks like blue anodized brushed aluminum. Scotchprint film has some properties that make it a great material. Old films were much more difficult to install because when you tried to apply them, they would instantly stick to the surface, causing wrinkles and bubbles. It took two or more people to stretch the film out and lay it down just right. Scotchprint has a feature called Controltac which is a bunch of tiny glass beads in the surface of the adhesive. These beads allow the adhesive to move over the paint without sticking until it is squeegeed down. This presses the beads into the adhesive and allows the adhesive to stick. The Controltac allows the installer to move the film into place and get the wrinkles out much more easily.