We are a small shop with big ideas! When we discovered hydrographic printing, we were blown away! The totally cool and unusual process was something we had never seen or even heard of before. We were hooked and we decided that we wanted to share this very special process with the masses. Keep reading to learn more about Dynamic Hydrographics and the hydrographic printing process.
We're located in Nanaimo, a beautiful harbour city on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We’re surrounded by the incredible, rugged beauty of the west coast - the playground of killer whales, bald eagles, salmon and seals. Our mid-island location is convenient for customers spanning Vancouver Island, Vancouver and the lower mainland. Of course we don't stop there! We use trusted global couriers to offer our services to all of Canada, the USA and the World.
The internet has a way of making everything seem quick and easy but we all know better. There's a lot of skill, knowledge, and expertise required to produce quality hydrographic applications. What you don’t see is the hard work done before your item even hits the tank. In this game, proper preparation is critical to a successful dip! We're industry approved, certified applicators. That’s why we only use paint and chemicals designed by the industry specifically for hydrographics, high quality clear coating and polishes used by the automotive industry, and an 8’ commercial processing tank.
We do it the right way by using the right products, the right equipment, and the right techniques.
We stand by our work! If you’re not happy – we’re not happy and we'll make it right.
What is hydrographic printing?
Hydrographic Printing, also known as Water Transfer Printing, allows patterns and designs to be applied to irregularly shaped objects. Any object that can hold a base coat and be safely submerged in water can be dipped. Surfaces such as rims, dashboards, engine cowlings, hunting equipment, helmets, glassware, and gaming controllers can be customized with this process. With hundreds of available patterns and endless base colour choices the possibilities are truly endless!
How is it done?
Water Transfer Printing is a five step process where any waterproof 3d object is prepped, printed, and preserved using extremely specialized equipment and techniques. Here is how we do it:
- Film Selection: You begin by choosing a texture or pattern from our library of hundreds of water printing films. We carry images related to Hunting, Camouflage, Automotive, Animal Prints, Metal, Stone, Wood, and very Cool Designs.
- Base Painting: In most cases, a base colour coat is applied to the objects which are being processed. For instance, wood grain designs often look better with a brown shade base coat; metallic prints benefit from a silver or grey coat. We provide a wide colour variety of water based paints, which are ideal for Hydrographic printing. Part of the versatility comes in choosing the desired base coat. Patterns will appear radically different depending on the underlying base coat applied.
- Preparing the film: The Hydrographic film is carefully placed on the water’s surface in the dipping tank. The clear film is water soluble, and dissolves, leaving only the pattern floating on the water.
- Activation: We spray a special activator to liven the ink so it will adhere and surface tension allows the pattern to curve around any shaped surface. Any remaining residue is then rinsed off thoroughly. The ink has already adhered and will not wash off. It is then allowed to dry.
- Clear Coating: After a close quality control inspection, the printed objects can be clear coated to protect the surface, and to provide a shiny appearance.
Have a look at what the dipping process looks like in the videos below. It has to be seen to be believed, it is such a cool process.
Motorcyclists have always customized their helmets. The only problem is that airbrushing designs can be extremely expensive and have a very long turn around. With hydrographic printing we can get you any colour you like, topped with any pattern in our catalogue, and clear coated to a matte or gloss shine. Completely custom with a quick turnaround that won’t break the bank.
Hunting gear such as rifles and shotguns are perfect candidates for water transfer printing. All of the stocks and barrels are easily disassembled and easily masked, and when you find a complimentary pattern to your textured grip the result is stunning. Have a look at this complete dip to the left, the process is extremely cool.
When you pop the hood and see something completely custom hiding on the inside you know you are talking to a proper petrol head. Engine covers, air intakes, valve and fuse covers are all fair game and look insane when they are all painted and dipped to match. The super hard clear coat will easily withstand the heat from your engine and take on a brilliant shine when you are ready to show your vehicle.
Interior vehicle trim is hungry for customizing. Every single model from your vehicle’s year came off the line looking the same, why not put your own stamp on it? We can do radio consoles, shifters, door trim, dashboards, cup holders, ashtrays, manufacturer badges, and anything else you can take off and bring in. Have a look here at how we do it.
Customizing rims is one of the most exciting and most requested projects we do at Dynamic Hydrographics. There is nothing like a perfect wheel to complete your ride, but over time they get dull, damaged, or just need a change. We have a variety of options for you at our shop, you can see them all here. You can have them painted or dipped. The choice is yours.
How much does it cost?
We are often asked if we have a price list and the answer is no, we quote each custom job as it comes in.
The reason for this is that the work is extremely complex. YouTube has a way of making water transfer printing look like a snap, but there really is a significant process involved. The work falls somewhere between a body shop and custom airbrushing by an artist.
Every part that comes in for hydrographics requires sanding and prep, priming, multiple base coats, dipping, four coats of clear coat, then wet sanding. Between each of these steps is significant drying time, and at any stage there can be an inconsistency that would require us to start over. Some patterns are much more forgiving than others, and dips are often redone many times until they are perfect.
There are also patterns that are royalty or licensed designs that cost more than other patterns. This is quite common for the camouflage designs we carry.
Because of this complexity, we have chosen not to have an extensive pricing page. Instead, please go to our contact form and send us an inquiry. We may ask you for a photo when we reply so we can provide you with a quote via email. This streamlined process will make quoting and scheduling a snap without any false expectations on price. Please be in touch, we would love to hear about your next project.