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No-Paint Facelift | 3M Vinyl Wrap Installation

Posted in How To on November 1, 2012
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there are lots of different opinions on the lines and looks of a vehicle. That’s why Americans have so many different vehicle models available in so many different paint schemes. And the freedom to change your ride’s finish has never been easier!

Vinyl wraps have allowed almost any graphic or color to be available on your truck or 4x4 in about a day, without the mess (or permanence) of paint. Wraps can cover an entire vehicle or be used to simply accent the vehicle’s exterior.

Our 2011 Super Duty is a wonderful truck, but it came with a paint scheme we could have done without. The white platinum paint on top is beautiful, but the lower gold portion of our two-tone paint job is…gold! Not our favorite flavor on a truck, but again: people have different tastes. We turned to the leaders in vehicle wraps—3M Wraps—to see what we could do about the lower of the two-tone paint.

What 3M has created lately is amazing. You can even get a carbon fiber wrap in a few different styles—so real you’d be hard pressed to know it wasn’t real carbon fiber. We opted for a new black brushed steel wrap that Mike Maguire of Newport Signs and Graphics in Santa Ana, California, laid for us in about two-thirds of a day. It shines brilliantly in the sun at just the right angle and looks like real black brushed steel around the lower portion of our truck. We even catch people in parking lots touching the wrap on our truck to see if it’s real brushed metal!

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04. The durability of the wrap depends on the quality of the installation. Maguire took extra time to make sure that all pieces wrapped completely around the sheet metal and that all ends and corners were hidden.

05. Our 3M wrap is a Scotchprint Series 1080 Black Metallic (1080-BR212) wrap film from the Brushed Metal line.

In case you’re not a fan of the brushed metal look, 3M has tons of other colors and styles to choose from. There are glossy colors, matte colors, metallics, a carbon fiber line, and even a satin if that’s what you want.

“We’re constantly evolving our 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 line to include new colors and styles,” said Doug Blackwell, business development manager for 3M Commercial Graphics. “We recently launched five new finishes including matte pink, matte orange, matte blue metallic, gloss red metallic, and satin black. In January, we introduced the brushed black metallic finish, which is truly unique—only 3M produces this color and texture. In fact, this finish has become one of our top five most popular offerings to date.”

06. The Black Metallic brushed wrap looks absolutely amazing when the sun catches it right. And it accents our truck’s platinum white paint beautifully since that color, too, glistens when the sun hits it just right.

07. When the light is off the wrap, it simply looks like dark grey paint. After dusk our truck simply looks like a clean “work special” HD truck with a flat white and grey paint job. But in the morning when the sun hits the finish, there is some definite bling going on!

08.0 The wrap job on our truck took about two thirds of a day with Mike Maguire from Newport Signs and Graphics in Santa Ana, California, working alone. Maguire tells us that both the 3M carbon fiber wraps and the brushed metal wraps are a little thicker than conventional 3M wraps but have non-visible air-release channels that help let the wraps be laid flat without air bubbles while the pressure-activated adhesive takes hold.

08.5 It was amazing at how much our truck’s looks changed from just morning to afternoon.

Not only did it look great, but if we ever do damage it, we can just get more material and recover the damaged wrap on the body panel.


3M Wraps
Newport Signs and Graphics

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