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Best value & quality vinyl for general vehicle graphics?

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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:55 pm

Best value & quality vinyl for general vehicle graphics?

Hi everybody,

most of you will know I'm usually a bit confused about things anyway, but I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good value and good quality general purpose vinyl for van lettering.

I've been using cheap stuff to practice on up until now but I'm starting to get real work coming in and thought it's time to switch to something more realistic than the avery jac stuff...

I did a van recently with more expensive avery vinyl and I assumed it would be ok, forget the type exactly, and the guy says some of the letters are lifting a little bit... I applied dry in sub zero conditions and thought that might be a factor but I think it's best to eliminate the possibility of it being down to using cheaper vinyl.

I guess Oracla vinyl of some sort but I've read so much my head is swirling.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:18 pm

you will be confused after the answers to that one.

my all rounder is Image perfect 5700 down side spandex only
never touch avery again after the rubbish of a few years ago
orical 751c fine plain colours won't use the metallics again
3m 80 series fine.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:48 pm

3M 50 series for general use (5-7 yr calendared)

or 3M 80 series for a wider range of colours and higher performance.

always apply dry and heat it up afterwards if very cold when fitting.

Also...customers tend to clean their vans with power washers an inch from the vinyl...it does exactly what it's meant to, take stuff off....so ask how he's been cleaning it!
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:00 pm

I am not a fan of 3M cut vinyl range, but do like the digital and wrap films.


I have a tried a great many cut vinyl films, but the best by far for me is Oracal 751c or Oracal 551 for a more competitive priced film...
Remember 751c is a Cast film so if you haven't used a cast before it can be unforgiving until you used to the characteristics of the film.

applying in the cold has many pitfalls, a tip is to heat the areas of the "panel" you have applied the vinyl too after the work is complete. heat will promote adhesion.
that said, if they move close enough to vinyl with a pressure washer they will damage or remove the graphics.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:10 pm

Vinyl is a bit of a minefield as everyone it seems has their own favorites, I suppose it's what you get used to.
Good and bad experiences with both manufacturers and distributors also play a part, my own prejudice is that I won't touch Hexis after a bad experience!
I use mainly Metamark 5 and 7 series for my vehicle graphics, good range of colours, usually in stock and order before 6.00pm I get it next day.
I only use 'cheap' vinyl on short term promotions, usually not worth keeping in stock as the material cost is only a small proportion of the overall job cost.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:51 pm

I've never had a failure with an Arlon product yet (I use Calon II)
I use Oracal 751 and 951 for vehicle lettering.
I had many a miserable failure with Avery. I find Mactac difficult to work with.
For reflective I only use 3M Scotchlite.
Love....Jill
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:08 pm

Oracle it is

I think I'll just use Oracle for everything, it seems to be the brand people refer to time and time again and so I don't think I'd be too far wrong doing that.

I'll look at the price difference between Oracle 551 and 751c.

The van that apparently is showing signs of letters lifting belongs to a car valeter and I suspect that he's power washing it 10 times a day or something.

I didn't know that customers should be advised not to power wash lettering... learning curve.

Thanks for all your feedback on this. Once again finding membership of this forum to be totally invaluable.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:11 pm

Most spec sheets will tell you minimum application temp is around 8dg , fitting at sub zero is asking for trouble no matter what vinyl you use.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:50 pm

Regarding vinyl & power washers.

One of the car dealerships I do work for strips the cars once a promotion is done with....a power washer (heated)...vinyl just doesn't stand a chance.

Normal washing / rinsing with one from a few feet back is perfectly fine...it's the maniacs that attempt to use 1000psi water to clean a car rather than soap & a sponge.

In a fleet of vehicle there was always one coming back with lettering mysteriously peeling & chipping...I was blamed for shoddy work.

No...the guy blasted the crap out of his van every weekend with a water lance.

Same with the old complaint of lettering 'falling off' back windows in the winter...blamed for a poor job / bad materials then lo-and-behold the width of the ice scraper in the driver's door fitted the width of the damaged areas.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:08 pm

Have to point out though,
a pressure washer will not remove graphics unless you are "trying to cause damage" or" holding it within an couple of inches of the leeding edge" of the vinyl.
we have our own high pressure jet wash at work and never once have had an issue with the graphics coming off our vans over years of use. its all down to how the customer uses the lance.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:38 pm

simon who is your supplier for your metamark
stu
Last edited by Stuart Davies on Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:17 pm

3M for wraps.
Oracal 751 for lettering.
751 is the best value cast vinyl I have seen.
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Post Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:58 pm

ImagePerfect 5700 and Metamark 7 for everyday vans, signs etc.
MD3 and MD5 for digital.
Some Hexis and MacTac but have gone off MacTac in recent years.
23 1/4 carat gold transfer leaf for gold leaf jobs :D
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:41 am

Stuart Davies wrote:simon who is your supplier for your metamark
stu

Hi Stu,
http://www.metamark.co.uk/index.htm
on supplies toolbar
Simon
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:26 am

Oracal 751 for all vinyl work, cant see the point having 551 at same time just doubles up the number of rolls
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:36 am

Hexis Ecotac and Suptac.

Easier to weed than 3M and Oracal IMO.
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:43 am

JAC Serisign 5-8 year film from Victory, I believe it has the same film face as Avery who own the company (Someone correct me if I have got it wrong)
Alan D
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:08 am

Alan Drury wrote:JAC Serisign 5-8 year film from Victory, I believe it has the same film face as Avery who own the company (Someone correct me if I have got it wrong)
Alan D


JAC was acquired / bought out by Avery, but it is not the same film, I could be wrong but i believe its still manufactured by JAC.
If it were the same I would imagine the name JAC being removed and it brought in as a new series of Avery, the more reputable brand.
Some time ago I was approached by a rep and offered JAC, i was pretty much told same. But personally, I see any reference to Avery as a sales pitch.
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:10 pm

You could well be right Rob, I'm only repeating what I had been told/read either way I have been using it since Victory started selling it which is some while now and I am very satisfied with the way it cuts, weeds and has performed longevity wise - price is very competitive too.
Alan D
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:18 pm

Most of the stock i bought with this business is Mactac 9800. Not got anything to compare it with but so far i'm happy with it
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:45 pm

Thankyou Simon
Stu
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Post Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:22 pm

Ewan Chrystal wrote:Most of the stock i bought with this business is Mactac 9800. Not got anything to compare it with but so far i'm happy with it


unless they have changed it in the past 11 years, there is not much wrong with Mactac 9800 Ewan. I used it for many years before moving to Oracal. I found it a good vinyl to work with for general signage and vehicle graphics. But Oracal 751, even before it became a Cast, really did have the edge of any other i had tried.
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Post Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:18 am

I used all of the Mactac range for many years but weeding got more and more difficult (nothing wrong with my plotters), even getting high tack application tape to adhere was a problem. moved to Avery 700 and 900 and have not looked back since, I find it a delight to work with.
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Post Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:32 pm

my bread n butter vinyl is 99% oracle 551, yes- it's a calendared film but I've never had issues with shrinkage, metallics are good in it too - though they obviously won't cut as well as the regular coloured films. it cuts nice, weeds nice, etc.

I still use some 651 with older customers as the colours just aren't available in the other ranges, never had a problem with that either!

I do have a limited stock of 751c but, it's not my favourite to work with, especially in hot weather!

951 I have used a fair bit of too - mainly on £100k + boats!

tried the hexis economy for a while, in place of the 551 but noticed too much shrinkage on vehicles and panels that weren't 6 months old. Mactac- I never got on with it either, god knows why but I find it never weeds well on small stuff and I had two rolls that were so badly tracking off that I binned em in frustration!
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Post Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:00 pm

I used to really enjoy working with oracle vinyls and would like to go back but found their main supplier for southern England became an absolute nightmare to work with once they got taken over. I don't miss the attitude that the supplier was doing me a favour by taking my money !
Now using a mixture of metamark and hexis who both seem to bend over backwards to get the correct orders out on time.
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Post Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:05 am

I used all of the Mactac range for many years but weeding got more and more difficult (nothing wrong with my plotters), even getting high tack application tape to adhere was a problem


Funny you say that. I was trying to weed a small intricate job today and it was a nightmare. Its fine on the bigger stuff though. I ended up giving up and will get the job printed

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