You just gotta love modern printing equipment. Back in the day, if we wanted something of any real size, it meant tiling the largest sheets of substrate we could manage to print then assemble them together to get what we wanted. Today, thanks to exponentially improved printing technology and digitization, sizes of up to 10′ high and 40′ long are not only entirely possible but are being done at Garage Graphics via dye-sublimation. The sublimation process uses heat to directly fuse the ink into the printing material yielding prints with rich, vibrant color. It’s some amazing stuff.
Seeing my artwork in full-scale as it was meant to be seen is always something special to me but seeing my recently completed GT 40 print at full-size is really over the top. The detail, clarity and richness of color produced by the dye-sub process is just flat amazing and to see it as the 1967 LeMans winning Gurney car is well, hard to adequately put into words. You really have to see one of these back lit displays in person to get the full effect. Lucky for you, Doug Buchanan and Garage Graphics are headed to Automobilia Monterey August 21st and 22nd where the GT40 print will debut in Doug’s booth during the Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
Even the production process is cool. After the work is printed on the dye-sublimation machine it moves to the Zund fabric cutter. The Zund first reads the registration marks along the sides of the graphic. Once it has the marks across the top and down both sides read, the blade, spinning at 10,000 RPM, cuts the fabric creating a “U” shape. The gantry then moves and reads the registration marks again and completes the rectangle. The overall size of this GT40 print is 192″ x 84″. Once it’s been trimmed the fabric is now ready to move onto the next step—sewing.
Each graphic is held into a special extruded aluminum frame by a small neoprene bead sewn into the perimeter. Once the graphic is complete and the frame properly assembled, it’s quick work to press the print into the aluminum. The extrusions come in two widths—one for back-lit displays and another for un-lit displays. Either can be ordered as a wall hung or free standing unit.
Check out this video of the Zund trimming the GT40 print.