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Thinking of getting into wrapping, advice please?

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Lee Jordan

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:15 am

Thinking of getting into wrapping, advice please?

Hi

Just a quick note to say hello to all on the forum. Completely new to the business which has fascinated me for about a year now. Have been reading this forum for about 2 months, and visited the sign & Digital show in the week, where I had a good chat with Andrew Gamble and the William Smith crew.

I'm toying with the idea of vehicle wraps but don't want to start touching customer cars until I've at least been on a training course, which I've been chatting to WS and Andrew about. Thing is, it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation, as I don't want to turn up to the training course without ever having touched a piece of vinyl in my life!!! To this end I was wondering if there was a cheaper alternative to something like series 85 3M vinyl that I could practice on? I'm talking about something with perhaps the same application characteristics but that would not have the durability? If there was a cheap alternative, I could practice away then just remove and scrap the vinyl at the end of the practice session (i.e. at the end of the day). Practicing with series 85 is somewhat expensive, as you can imagine.

Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

Thanks

Lee
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Neil Davey

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:02 am

Hi Lee, and welcome to the Boards.
Talk about jumping in at the deep end!!!
Are you starting a business or doing this as a hobby/part time?

I think you would be better off trying to get vinyl work to begin with so that you can familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the material.

Going straight into wrapping is a huge leap if you've never worked with vinyl :-?

At least your thinking of going on a course but if you saw the guys at the show they do make wrapping look a lot easier than it actually is.
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Hugh Potter

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:48 am

Hi Lee,

welcome to the forum, goood to see you've been looking into what you want to do, however...

I'd agree with Neil, wrapping is made to look easy by those who are good at it, i can do basic partial wraps but unless you're working with vinyl all day every day, it's not something which most of us attempt. I don't have the facilities to do them properly as i generally fit outside so stick to partial wraps at most.

I don't think wrapping is a mystery, just a knack really but, you need to be able to use vinyl of any sort first, if it was easy there'd be a lot more people doing it. too many people are seeing this as the only way to go imho, there's a finite amount of customers who are willing to spend £2k on a wrap,


I don't want to put you off pursuing a dream or owt but, how much money are you prepared to put into this venture? a good printer will cost you £10k for a small 30" machine, separate laminator is over £1k (cheaper end), clean dry & heated workshop space is nye on essential, computer software isn't cheap. do you have a unit or are your prepared to spend out on one? i know i couldn't really do wraps from here in my workshop, you'd need plenty of space.

Don't get me wrong dude, i wish you all the best but, jumping in like this is not gonna be a cheap option. With all due respect to William Smith, they are, at the end of the day, looking to sell a product, a printer, a course, etc, i'm not saying they're misleading you but you need to do an awful lot of homework, the outlay would pretty much determine that this is not a part time occupation you're looking at, lots to learn and mistakes are very very costly when it comes to replacing print.

anyways, have a good think on it,

all the best,

HUgh
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Lee Jordan

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:03 am

Appreciate the replies. Yes, I have a unit to work from.

I thrieve on throwing myself in at the deep end. It's how I work best. I fully appreciate it's not going to be anywhere as easy as the guys make it look, hence the reason for wanting to have a few goes myself to see what sort of a job I'd make. I can then decide if it's worth pursuing with a course, or getting someone in to do the work, or just scapping the whole idea and moving on. I'd only be looking at block cast vinyl to start with.

With regards to commercial, it's something I do want to look at but there are already 2 well established companies offering this in my area, so I would need to be further down the line before I could think about this. A usp for me at the minute would be full or partial wraps.
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Hugh Potter

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:13 am

wrap vinyl tends to have it's own characteristics but a good cast vinyl should allow you to wrap, hexis hexpress is supposed to be good for wrapping in a solid colour.

for flat panels and recesses you can use any vinyl really, oracle 751 isn't dear, hexis ecotac ranges or some of the grafiytp films will all go into recesses with some heat. it's gonna be trial and error though, hard to explain how to do things. there are plenty of demo vids on the site (membership required), best thing to practice on will be bonnets, compound curves etc, that's where the fun begins, or as the guvner here says, wrap the outside or inside of a bowl, if you can do that you're about ready to begin learning!

the other thing, what are you able to do with regards other signage, sure as eggs is eggs, you'll be asked for it, site boards to go out with the vans on jobs, they'll want their office or unit doing, etc. are you prepared to take on all that work too?

the workshop is a start for sure, best of luck with the rest of it :D
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Hugh Potter

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:17 am

ps, maybe tell us a bit about what you do now, will save us making assumptions on what you might or might not be able to do, ie, where you're based (roughly if you don't want to give away too much), is there actually a maket for wraps in your area? maybe the other co's have decided it's not worth the money promoting? can you use design software? have an eye for design, wrap design in particular?

chuck a pic up too dude!! it's nicer to see who i'm talking too!

Hugh
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James Sahota

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:12 pm

I wouldnt panic to much about nothaving touched vinyl....a few years ago when we went on the course run by James Deacon at Roland academy there were people on the course that had never touched vinyl....people came from clothing background, graphic designer etc...

James is very well clued about wrapping and is extremely good...you may have seen him at the show wrapping some ugly looking motor....

He runs through all application of vinyl and talks about vinyl properties and how best to apply and work with them....

You should be ok i would imagine....once you've been on the course i would then begin to practice...as you will be better informed on techniques and application styles.
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John Childs

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:17 pm

Hi Lee. And welcome to the board.

As you've been told above, wrapping theory is not difficult, but it does require a LOT of practice and experience. Most of us started at the bottom with flat panel work and, as our skills improved, progressed on to simple curves, compound curves, part wraps and, only then, onto full wraps.

Sure, the process can be short circuited, but the results are not likely to meet with the approval of your customers, or lead to any repeat business.

Then there's the financial aspect. Too many people undervalue wrapping and, for me, there's not enough profit in it. The time a wrap takes to do properly is a killer and I reckon that I can make more money by sticking to the more mundane types of work.

We will do wraps, but only if the customer is prepared to pay the price of doing it properly. Otherwise we steer clear of them.
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Lee Jordan

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:25 pm

John - That's what I'm thinking, but I don't want to turn away any trade in the first instance. Partial wraps seems to be easier and more profitable, and that's where I'd like to start, but I'd like the confidence in knowing I've at least tried various panels out before hand. I'm not going to offer full wraps to start off with, that's not my intention. I'm not going to attempt to charge for something I'm not confident in doing.

I'm a strong believer in practice makes perfect, and although I know the training course will be very beneficial and worth it's weight, I know making the mistakes myself with practice will be just as beneficial, hence the question about a cheaper alternative product to try out on many times. Wasting upwards of £30 or £40 everytime you want to practice is somewhat costly!!!

Hugh - I'm in the North Midlands, and have been heavily involved in the IT business for 16 years. I've run my own business for over 12 years now, and I'm looking for something completely new to invest in. I have a couple of avenues I could explore with this, so not solely relying on the wraps.

I'll get a piccy added up when I can find one that doesn't make me look like a criminal!!
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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:45 pm

lee, all good advice so far,
you can use more or less any vinyl to practice with, (the wrap experts on here can wrap kitchen foil) metamark md5 has been used to wrap vehicles, pretty cheap at 1340, but you can play with cheaper stuff, some cast materials are hard to work with especially oracle 751, (as they have high grab, what you need to wrap with is low initial tac so it can be repositioned and give you a second chance.
temparture is all important though, vehicle and ambient temp need to be !8c or ideally a bit more.

The only problem with practicing before a course is like teaching yourself to drive, you may have to undo bad habits to do it properly,

Good luck with your new venture

Peter
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Matty Goodwin

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Post Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:24 pm

As Peter says, a good wrapper can use most materials, its the longevity of it which matters. I would start of with 5-7 year vinyl around easier moldings and then move on to a cast. You'll be amazed at the difference and will feel more confident when applying.

For me personally VWS by KPMF all day every day. We used to demonstate wrapping thus...

open a car/van window. apply the vinyl over the open window, so the vinyl is tort and covers all the window. Heat the vinyl to a 70-80 degree heat by waving the heat gun around as direct heat will burn or melt the vinyl. Then put your fist through it and it will stretch a good 12"-18". When you let go and its all crumpled and creased apply the same heat and watch it go back to shape!

Then do it with 5-7 year vinyl.

This will give you an idea of what differnt media will do.

Good luck and if at first you don't succeed, keep trying. Don't be scared of vinyl, it will become your best friend .......
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Lee Jordan

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Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:08 am





Post Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:08 am

Cheers Matty, that's some good advice and thanks for the encouragement.

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