Explain a method to transfer printed ink to a curved plastic surface

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  • Palkinto: $70
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We want to customise hard hats made of ABS plastic with customer logos. We need a simple method that is economical in small volumes. The result needs to be able to render multi colours, probably a CMYK + white printer will be required but there may be other methods. Preferably we want to start from a transfer printed in house on transfer paper with an office inkjet/laser/UV curing printer; then transfer the ink onto the product. If necessary the process could use primers, catalysers, heat bonding, UV curing, etc, as long as not too complicated or time consuming. The surface being applied to is a compound curve so the transfer needs to be conformable in 3D.

The process and result requires (a) chemicals and inks to be non-damaging to the helmet's ABS plastic surface, (b) the print to be reasonably durable to withstand knocks and scratches in service, (c) the print to be resistant to UV fading if the helmet is worn outdoors. We don't want to use a waterslide decal or a sticker.

The method shown in this video [login to view URL] looks ideal, but when we tried it, it didn't work---the chemicals supplied were different to those shown in the video, they were too thick to apply easily and too aggressive, and ended up damaging the ABS surface.

If you are familiar with printing processes, you may be able solve the problem! What we require is a clear explanation of your suggested method, explanation of where to source any equipment/materials that aren't obviously obtainable and preferably reference to products that have been printed by your method. Needs to use commercially available materials/equipment. Equipment cost up to around US$6000 will be considered. Prize will be awarded to the method that looks to have the most potential. The image represents the kind of result we want to achieve.

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