Cobra Imaging by Pete Ward
What is Water Transfer Imaging?
The most important part is preparation of the article that is going to be printed. (Cleaning, sanding, minor repairs) When the article is ready a primer is then applied for the base coat can adhere to.
The base coat is then applied as per choice of the customer, (for instance brown would be used for parts which would be printed on a wood grain film) it should be noted that the film is manipulated simply by changing the base colors to get the desired effect.
The available patterns are printed on a water soluble polyvinyl film from the manufacturer. This film is then carefully placed on top of the water surface of the dipping tank that is specifically designed for hydrographic printing. The film hydrates and an activating solvent is applied by spray to dissolve the polyvinyl. As the polyvinyl dissolves, it leaves the ink pattern on top of the water without affecting its structure or appearance.
The article is now ready to be printed. The article is immersed in the water through the floating ink using the water displacement to wrap around and adhere the print to the article no matter how complex the shape creating a continuous finish.
The article is then rinsed to remove the residue and then air dried.
Automotive urethane is then applied in a flat to high gloss finish. The article is then ready for wet sanding, buffing and polishing. Then we carefully package your article and mail back to you.
Cobra Imaging is a Film Dip company in British Columbia, Canada that I recently became aware of. After a few discussions we decided a review of the Film Dip process was a good idea. I chose to send in a metal riser recurve for the review. This bow was an old Hoyt TD3 form the 1972 era that I had converted to accept today’s modern I L F or Olympic style limbs.
The Film dip is a simple water transfer process, where we can choose from many different patterns. After the piece is dipped and the pattern is transferred the piece is coated with a durable clear finish to protect it. The clear coat can range from High gloss to a matte finish. I chose a semi-gloss for this bow.
The most common dip patterns we see are the camo’s. I was considering a fall or winter pattern for this bow but decided to give the metal riser a new look that I had not seen before and create the illusion of a wood bow. It worked. This also allowed me to be able to use these limbs on the other ILF risers I have without having them look out of place. Many of you will prefer to dedicate the complete bow to a pattern like ” Predator ” white for winter or green for Fall hunting.
When the riser was being prepared for the project I stripped it to bare metal, and washed it with muriatic acid before priming it. This is necessary to get adhesion on bare metal like the magnesium alloy it is made from. The riser had many bare places from the conversion it had just received. An already painted riser will not need the acid bath to etch the metal.
I think the quality of the burl wood dip is very good. It is nearly impossible to find the seams where the pieces were overlapped. The clear coat is well done without any runs or sags, and all of the edges are covered. The finish is smooth to the touch and it has appeal to the eye.
The only fault I found is where the limbs have a clear plastic sound deadening pad on the bottom side, over the limb weight label. The pads were dipped covering the label that identifies the limb type and weight. It took about 5 minutes to sand off this area and make things right. I should have told the folks at cobra to mask off this area, or better still I could have done it myself.
I think that the bow now has a much better appearance than it did before the film dip was applied. The overall quality of the job is very good. Considering the many curves and angles involved in dipping a 3 piece recurve and the fact that the seam lines are almost invisible I am more than pleased.
There are many different applications for a film dip; bows are just one of the toys we have that can be enhanced by this process. I am very satisfied with the results of this review.
“Cobra Imaging offers an innovative and cost effective solution to apply photographic quality images to three dimensional objects.”
Quinn Blanchard & Kim Sigurdson, Owners
RR#2, Site 19, Comp 13
Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4E8
author website: visit | author bio