In part two of our series on reviving tired rims, we look at water transfer printing. This method can produce some amazing looks from carbon fiber to snakeskin, to Cammo.
Water transfer printing or hydrographic printing is a method by which a complex pattern can be applied to almost any surface that can be painted.
First, a pattern is designed. The part to be printed, in our case the rim of a car, is carefully prepared and then prepared with a base-coat. Next the graphic design is printed and floated on a bed of water. An activator is sprayed on the floating design. Next the part is carefully lowered into the vat and the graphic bonds to the base coat. After the printing step, a clear coat is applied to protect the design and make it durable.
As the video shows, anything from a wheel to a dashboard trim piece to a grill can be printed upon. The process can produce sharp detail and is less costly and time consuming than specialty painting methods such as airbrushing. The photo showing the orange snakeskin design is for the show Wheeler Dealers. In the episode, they took a relatively tame Mazda RX-7 and made it look wild. The prior owner of the vehicle like it so much he bought the car back from Mike and Ed.