Printable vinyls differ in their ink compatibilities and can be divided into three categories: cast, calendared and heat transfer vinyl. This article will explain the distinctions between cast vinyl and heat transfer vinyl, founded out of passion for Heat Press Machine creative crafters on April 9th 2018. At Sijiutech we strive to make crafting easy by offering multiple DIY choices at our headquarters – here is a quick recap:
Calendared Vinyl: Calendared vinyl is created by pushing a mass of PVC through several stacks or calendars, where heat and pressure compress it into an even sheet about 2.5–3 mils (0.03” to 0.003” thick). Due to its instability due to being formed under such harsh conditions, calendared vinyl should only be used on smooth surfaces and simple curves; outdoors it has an outdoor life expectancy between two to six years.
For short-term outdoor graphics, economy calandared vinyls such as ORAJET 3621 or 3640 can be used. Vinyls with intermediate calendars offer greater durability and flexibility; they’re suitable for more challenging curved surfaces and last longer before cracking, shrinking or peeling. Prism JET 201 and 203 and ORAJET 33651 and 3164 are some of the printable intermediate calendared vinyls that work great both outdoors and indoors.
Cast Vinyl: Cast vinyl is created by pouring a liquid mixture of plasticizers and PVC onto an expanding web. Once heated in an oven to evaporate moisture, this leaves behind a thin layer of vinyl (usually 2 mil thickness) that’s highly stable due to not stressing the film. Due to its thin face film of 0.002 inches, this makes cast vinyl ideal for compound curves like motorcycle helmets or VW Beetle Fenders; you may also see cast vinyl used to apply vehicle wraps.
Printable cast vinyls also include features like air egress release lines and a white point that can be used for high resolution printing – these will be discussed further down. 3M ControlTac and ORAJET 3951RA are two excellent examples of premium cast vinyl, while Avery MPI 1105 is another popular choice. Unfortunately, these vinyls tend to be quite pricey due to their advanced construction and high demand applications; with an average per square foot price tag of $1.00.
Ultra-Calendared Vinyl : With the growing competition in vehicle wraps, there is a need for an affordable printable vinyl that doesn’t require premium cast films for conformability or quality. We offer two ultra-calendared vinyls: PrismJET 220 Ultra and ORAJET 3551RA. These vinyls can be used on vehicles with flat surfaces or moderately curved shapes like box trailers or pickup trucks; making them great choices in markets that charge 61C per square foot or less.
Specialty Printable Vinyls: Here we have a broad range of specialty printable vinyls designed to serve specific purposes. Perforated vinyls can create one-way view graphics, high-tack vinyls can decorate low energy substrates, and reflective vinyls are included as well. These are just some of the specialty vinyls we carry in stock for eco-solvent printing projects.
Vinyls with Perforated Faces: Perforated vinyls feature half the original surface area removed, creating one-way-view vinyls which appear as window tint film when viewed from another angle. We offer both 50/50 punch patterns and the new 80/20 patterns which produce clearer graphics. Furthermore, some perforated vinyls can be mounted inside windows for vandal protection if your storefront marketing requires it.
Reflective: Reflective vinyls can be used with eco-solvent ink to print on. These vinyls are commonly found in traditional applications like police and emergency vehicles as well as custom and commercial vehicle wraps. EnduraLITE R8512 and EnduraLITE 48000 offer great flexibility while ORALITE 5600, 5650RA and EnduraLITE 48000 offer more color options when printing colored vinyl with CMYK ink – here’s why:
High-Tack Vinyl: Many of our customers and their clients require printed logos or decals to be applied on low-energy substrates like concrete and coolers. Sign industry standard adhesives are designed for flat nonporous surfaces like PrismJET203HT; to get them stuck to stucco, you will need a high-grip adhesive like PrismJET203HT from ORACAL; ORAJET 3165 and 3951 can also be ordered special request.
Vehicle wraps and air egress liners offer added safety to passengers in transit.
One feature found on some printable vinyls that deserves its own category is Air Egress Liners, developed by Avery to make vehicle wraps easy to apply. It’s almost like the trickle-down effect in automotive manufacturing: Heated leather seats such as those found in premium luxury sedans will soon be accessible to everyone. But what exactly is air egress and why is it growing so rapidly?