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Wrapping Your Own Car

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by Edmond, May 23, 2016.

  1. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    #1 Edmond, May 23, 2016
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
    I responded to this question in a thread, but it may be missed by some who are interested.

    I suggest Youtube University if you're fairly handy. There are two kinds of wraps, 'wet apply' (Xpel, Suntek, et al) and 'dry apply' (most newer opaque wraps). Dry is a little more challenging and you should have at least two people to lay the wrap, although there are tricks like 'hinging' it. (peel off a little on one side to stick, then peel from the other side) It's still unstick-repositionable. Heat gun to conform, doing as little stretching as possible. Plastic squeegee (ideally with felt edge) to fasten, then for 'dry apply', heat hot to bond. Best to remove the parts you want to wrap if they're practically removable. For wet and dry, allow a week to bond before waxing.






    The fast-and-dirty shops use templates of your car to cut out the shapes of pieces from a bulk roll. (and it costs them alot to use the templates) These are easy, but do not wrap around edges and may come dislodged over time (car washes), so I prefer cutting larger pieces out of bulk rolls to custom cut and wrap around edges. And wrapped edges should be primed with 3M tape primer for far better stiction.

    Problems are: particles ending up under the wrap causing bumps (or white spots for transparent), which is why hinging is a good method to reduce that. Clay wipe (there are clay wipes - auto body supply) the whole surface right before application.

    Surface chips or deeper scratches will show through any wrap, so polishing (with a random-orbital, the longer the throw, the better) is a good idea. For transparent wrap any surface flaws (swirls) will be enhanced, so once again polish and use a single-source light to find swirls, especially on darker colors. Key to polishing is to keep the pad clean. I use a microfiber cover over the pad and change it when it gets dirty; or if you have an air gun you might be able to blow off the pad.

    (he's pretty proud of his toy, but ignore that)

    To apply wet-apply you use two spray bottles:
    - Tack (adhesive side): 15% of 70% isopropyl alcohol
    - Slip (outside): 2-4 drops of Johnsons baby shampoo

    What brand of wrap is the next question. 3M has a rather bad reputation for quality on wrapper's forums, which came as quite a surprise to me. So I bought Xpel and Avery. Brushed metal wraps (like my Brushed Steel) only have a lifetime of a couple years, so I'll be applying Opticoat Pro+ to it to make it last, if I can find someone who will sell it to me. "Opticoat Gloss" is the consumer version, but it only lasts a couple years, and dealers are prohibited from selling Pro+ to civilians, for cartel reasons.

    For Avery and 3M, Cheetah Wrap's prices can't be beat, even by eBat.

    And that's all their secrets.
     
    • Informative x 1
  2. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    PS - If you've just been painted, you MUST wait at least a week before wrapping, due to off-gassing. (may bubble) Best to wait a month though, for hardening of the paint.
     
  3. Fusion

    Fusion Member

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    Where's a good place to buy clear/transparent wrap? I wouldn't mind trying to apply it to protect the front and mirrors. I do my phone, how hard would it be to do a car right? haha
     
  4. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    #4 Edmond, May 23, 2016
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
    I couldn't find anyplace to buy Xpel discounted other than eBat. Best price at the time was mykodesigns. I also bought my primer in eBat, but watch out for those damned 3M primer pens (rvinyl_inc) -- they're 1/4 the size that they look in the pictures. I bought 2 but now regret not buying one. So then I bought a 1/2 pint tin of 3M primer (autobodynow) and repeatedly dipped the pen in it. You can apply the primer with a paint brush or rag, but the pen is like a very thick cigarette filter and is nice and stiff.

    I did my wheels in black chrome, which is stunning. Much better than OEM gray paint. Thing about wheels is any coating you put on them will be damaged by the tire machine when a tire is changed. So good to wait for new tires then do it. Put plenty of primer around the rim, at the tire and around the top. Then make the tire man use a towel between his tool and the rim. Also, black chrome only looks good a couple years on wheels, so use Opticoat Pro+ if you can, to lengthen that time.

    To apply wrap or film you have to have your sh*t together and remain conscious all the time, and not be drunk. If you're not drunk and fairly good with your hands, it'll be fairly easy to learn. It's not calculus like the wrap guys would have you think. One or two panels, you'll have the hang of it.

    Outside mirrors are a faff because of the significant compound bends. That's why I included a video of it above. He uses a special trick of pre-stretching the wrap, then taking advantage of its preference to shrink and close around the mirror. This can only be done with certain wraps, I don't know which, but it certainly can't be done with chrome, it'll split.

    Prep is key, as it is with anything. If you skip that you can expect and will get mediocre to poor results.

    You can always buy a square of wrap and try it out; they sell it in all sizes. You'll be surprised how easy, but be sure to try a curve, and have a heat gun. Then you can just pull it off. (if you haven't used primer - if primer it'll come off, but it'll be a struggle) Concave curves are why you want to avoid stretching where possible, because it'll pull off the deep surface sometimes if you do.

    And again, with new paint less than a month old -- if you pull off the wrap it could pull off the paint. This won't happen otherwise though.
     
  5. rypalmer

    rypalmer Member

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    I love a good DIY and am very tempted to give this a try. I'll report back with my experience.
     
  6. Terra117

    Terra117 Member

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    Wrapping with a dry vinyl color wrap is far easier than a paint protection film wrap.
     
  7. nagerseth

    nagerseth Tesla Enthusiast/Owner

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    I'd suggest liquid vinyl wrap. It's pretty easy to use and remove. Also, it's a lot cheaper :)
     
  8. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    #8 Edmond, May 25, 2016
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
    Yes, we saw all your other posts. Dip is an easy option, but it doesn't have durability or hardness (don't polish it, don't use it on wheels), and it is limited in options.

    This isn't a debate on wrap vs dip, as each has its place.

    For me, dip is not an option since us older guys tend to like the chrome as it is tastefully rendered on the MS, and also the changes I want will make my P85D look similar to the Bugatti Veyron two-tone, or this:
    [​IMG]

    ... except for the light areas I've bought Avery's Brushed Steel, which is a special (stunning) finish that dip can't do:
    [​IMG]

    ... not to mention, black chrome:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. nagerseth

    nagerseth Tesla Enthusiast/Owner

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    Ahh ok. Just supplying other options :)

    Some dip solutions do have the hardness though...
     
  10. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    Many of those wraps are stunning... I wish I was that good, but I just have the feeling I would end up with a mess if I tried to do it myself - I would rather pay someone who is well experienced at doing it. Maybe I could try wrapping a cheap vehicle first before tackling a MS...has anybody wrapped a LEAF?
     

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