What's causing micro cracks

What causing these micro cracks? I'm using hydrographic blank sheets and printed this image with pigment ink using epson printer.Used rustoleum  clear to seal the printed image. Activator I use  Hydrovator arasol.  Sprayed adhesion promotor on surface and then sprayed rust-oleum white primer matt.Water temp is 90 deg. Wait for film for 1 min once placed in water, and sprayed activator and wait 30 second to  dip and Rinse

Any ideas?

People online with similar issue says underactivated. I tried spraying more and waited longer the 30 seconds. It just breaks apart.longer I wait image breaks apart faster.


  • studebakerstudebaker Member, Business Ninja Posts: 4,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You waited too long after activating. It's over hydrated and the activator has evaporated off before the dip happened. Also, there is too much paint in the basecoat. You only need enough to color it white, you're not trying to make it smooth and glossy by applying a thick coat of paint that will "smooth out" as it dries. Just make it white and stop.....
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,903 El Moderator
    Rustoleum paint (Along with any paint not specifically designed for this process) is terrible to try to learn on, and spraying Rustoleum clear over the top runs a very real risk of softening the basecoat and wrinkling it, and the propellent in the clear has the ability to fade your print.

    If you are just playing around and trying this out, it can get you started. But if you have any interest in something actually looking good, you are going to have to get some better products.
  • jaysond2004jaysond2004 Member Posts: 7
    Thank you for both of your input. 

    I figured it was the clear coat i was applying so I remove that on my last print. Did the same process and there are NO MICRO CRACKs. It was a good hit. What I did though is not rinse right after and just let it dry. It was such a good hit that I didn't want to ruin it since Ive experienced when rinsing the ink colors fade away.

    Can I get away with not rinsing? Just let it dry for a long time and then spray lacquer?

     This film I'm using are those costume clear hydrographic films I got from Amazon.

    After some time I will upgrade my equipment. Thanks for your help.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,903 El Moderator
    No, you have to rinse. You have to get that PVA off or when you cover it in clear it will chip right off.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,903 El Moderator
    Keep in mind, films from Amazon are at your own risk. The suppliers on this site test all their films. If they can't make them work, they don't sell them, and they help you troubleshoot if you are having issues... Amazon, not so much.
  • studebakerstudebaker Member, Business Ninja Posts: 4,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The clear PVA residual after dipping is ALWAYS water soluble. If you paint over it, the clear coat will crack because the PVA residue is soft and the clear coat is hard. You must rinse! As an alternative to rinsing with a stream of agitating water, you can just leave it underwater for a while and the PVA will dissipate... Eventually.
Sign In or Register to comment.