Hydrographics or something else?


I am interested in “coating” the welding helmet with some graphics(example below).

I assume default process is hydropainting, are there any others solutions?

I’d said it depends on the results you want but that one looks more like airbrush to me. Hydroprinting usually has a more or less an uniform pattern style all over the surface it is applied.

agreed, hydro graphics are usually patterns, but they don’t need to be, basically it’s a way of getting a 2D graphic onto a 3 dimensional part by allowing the 3D part to pass through the 2D image plane. The potential problem with your example is that unless the image factors the form and angle etc of the part going through it (not even sure they do this, but in a highly controlled process I could see how it would be possible), it will distort a bit, you can see on deep parts that the patterns get stretched a bit.

There may be other more straightforward decal type processes, but I’m not sure if that is the desired look.
There may also be some masking and painting operations that are more manual that could be considered.

It is something with thickness under a clear coat. You can see a border at the right chin area.

Probably waterslide decals.

It is an applied label with an over coat, the contour cut around the graphics is visible when you look at an enlarged image. Maybe a water-slide decal but it looks too thick.

I know the mask below is done through hydrographics. It’s fairly clean in real life, but you can see parting lines and distortion when really looking at it in person.

3D dye sublimation might be an option, depending on your part. I’ve seen some decent results on complex parts.

Agreed. The amount of curvature could probably accommodate digitally printed PVC like a car wrap.

Dye sublimation is usually done on white parts and the deep blacks are tough to do. There is no way to align hydro graphic dip as the in the above photos.

Wow those helmets are awesomely unattractive.

I worked in the motocross industry for awhile. We always used water slide decals for the base of the helmet graphics. But you can spec over painting type techniques. Such as small amounts of airbrushing to add gradients. Also they can do small amounts of pin stripping to. Usually with a tape pinstripe material. Then heavy clear over the whole helmet. In my experience helmet manufactures are some of the best at in interpreting 2d art into 3d applications. This has just being my experience I am sure it is different for each factory. Water slide will still have some amount of distortion in areas. But the factories will generally work with you to correct these issues.