No, no, I did not misspell anything and yes, if you started “hip hoppin'” it was entirely intentional. While our industry’s wrappers aren’t quite the same as Sugarhill Gang we do get the same kind of satisfaction in creating something innovative and new. Wrapping is an art. A craft. A detailed and exacting application of skill and expertise. It is what we do and this photo is about the tools we use to do it.
The professional wrap installer’s kit can contain an amazing array of tools and items. One wrapper’s kit might be tight and streamlined while another wrapper might have every possible tool under the sun. We all have our methods and we all have our preferred setup so this is, by no means, a comprehensive list. With this in mind, please check out a typical professional wrap installer’basic kit.
1. ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, Advanced Multi-Surface, 1.41-Inch by 60-Yard: 1.5″ rolls of this tape are perfect for holding graphics during a dry-fit while also removing cleanly.
2. Rolle-Pro: An excellent roller tool designed for fast channel / rivet work. The Rolle-Pro also doubles as a surface roller.
3. Stanley 33-525 25-Foot-by-1-Inch PowerLock Tape Rule with Blade Armor: An absolute must for any wrap installer.
4. Lisle 81200 Plastic Chisel Scraper Set: This is a plastic based, handled chisel for removing vehicle emblems without damaging paint.
5. 3M L Roller: a specialty tool from 3M to help lay graphics properly into various grooves and channels.
6. WrapCut Pro tape: this a specialty mono-filament tape designed to precisely place film cuts without risking a knife blade damaging the paint.
7. Scissors: Self explanatory but primary used to do rough cuts of film & liner prior to installation.
8. Lil’ Chizler: A plastic chisel tool designed to help remove graphics without paint damage.
9. Stabilo / Staedtler Pencils: Water based marking pencils used for all sorts of placement applications. Easily cleaned without staining the surface though the red ones can stain quickly if not removed promptly.
10. Sealit! Pen: A clear edge sealer in an easy pen applicator. The Sealit! pen helps secure potentially problematic edges and provides more protection for seam edges.
11. 70% Isopropyl Alcohol: This all-around cleaning solvent is very common for the final surface cleaning prior to installation. Can be purchased at any WalMart, CVS, WalGreens, Kroger location.
12. BAFX Products (TM) – Non Contact – Infrared (IR) Thermometer (-58F – +1,022F) – W/ Pointer Sight – BATTERY INCLUDED!: A hand-held laser thermometer used to confirm that the film has been properly heated for final post-heating.
13. 6 PACK OLFA 9mm Stainless Steel Auto-Lock Professional Graphics Knife SVR-2: a handy flat blade with snap off points for fast trimming
14. Elmers/X-Acto X3036 Axent Knife with Cap, Red: a sharp angled razor blade for small detailed trimming, radius and smooth curves.
15. Wrap Glove: a lint free glove enabling a wrapper to work with film without contaminating the adhesive.
16. Squeegees: Various scratch resistant squeegees in various sizes for various applications
17. Bernzomatic TS8000 – High Intensity Trigger Start Torch: Hand-held heat source for fast & controlled graphics heat. A firm grasp of the techniques and application of a torch are vitally critical.
All of this, of course, is just one opinion for a basic wrap installers kit. There are myriad of other tools available. Professional wrap installers all over the world will have all sorts of tricks and techniques requiring additional specialty tools. At the end of the day; however, it is not the tools that make a wrapper but the skill, determination and attention to detail that sets a novice apart from a pro. The perfect tool in the hands of an amateur will be trumped every time by the simplest tool in the hands of a trained professional.