Don’t try this at home. Nevermind. Go ahead and try it, but don’t think you need to try it on a skull. Cale Frederick, graphic designer at SAS Systems in Muscle Shoals, Ala., was dying to test the new Infinium graphic material from LexJet and found something that would put the product through its paces.
Touted as the industry’s first transportable, conformable graphic, Frederick wanted to make sure it performed as advertised before trying it on a project. Looking around the shop, he spied a skull sitting on a shelf someone in the shop had been given as a gag gift.
The skull had all the elements he was looking for – lots of nooks and crannies and irregular surfaces – and Frederick went to work on it with an appropriate graphic.
“They say it’s conformable, and the test was successful. We’re pleased with the way it turned out. I’ve got some more ideas but haven’t had a chance to test anything else. We have a customer we print templates for that uses them as guides to carve cedar logs. He’s bringing some rough cedar and we’ll experiment with that as well,” says Frederick. “I used a generic vinyl profile and it seemed to work fine; it prints especially well in the dark colors. We’re really excited about it for future projects.”
The Infinium was printed with the company’s Roland solvent printer and applied using a heat gun and foam-textured surface applicators from 3M; a hot laminator for flat substrates like leather or canvas will work as well. Frederick says it took about 30-45 minutes to wrap and some of the steps in the process are shown in the photos.
“The material worked really well and sank right down into some of the really deep spots. I also found that using a printhead cleaning swab for the smaller areas worked really well,” explains Frederick. “I kept my heat gun set on about 970 degrees. That is the temp we usually use for installing textured wall wraps. The force of the air worked nicely for helping the material sink into some of the concave areas.”