Hydrographics (printing)

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Hydrographics or HydroGraphics, also known as immersion printing, water transfer printing, water transfer imaging, or cubic printing, is a method of applying printed designs to three-dimensional objects.[1] The hydrographic process can be used on metal, plastic, glass, hard woods, and various other materials. In the process, the substrate piece to be printed is pre-treated and a base coat material is applied. A polyvinyl alcohol film is gravure-printed with the graphic image to be transferred, and is then floated on the surface of a vat of water.[2] An activator chemical is sprayed on the film to dissolve it into a liquid and activate a bonding agent. The piece is then lowered into the vat, through the floating ink layer, which wraps around and adheres to it.[3] After removing the piece from the water, a top coat is applied to protect the design. With multiple dippings, hydrographics printing can achieve full 360° coverage of the part surface, including small crevices.[4] [5] [6]


  1. ^ "Ski Goggles, Tower Cranes, Porcelain Figurines and Diesel Engines (Audi)". How It's Made. Season 6. Episode 19. 2:12 minutes in.
  2. ^ "Water Transfer Printing". Solublon Water Soluble Film. Aicello. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  3. ^ "American Chopper 5: Camo Bike : Video : Discovery Channel". Turbo.discovery.com. 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  4. ^ "Hydrographics". Daltek Custom Industrial Finishing. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  5. ^ "Hydrographics examples". AquaPrint Design. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  6. ^ "What is Water Transfer Printing? FAQ". HG Arts. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 

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