Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
Illustration for article titled LaLD101: Tampos

AutoArt's Facebook page just posted an interesting write up about what tampos are and the process of printing them on cars. I'm not going to paraphrase, just a straight up copy & paste; I think its a great explanation. I refuse to call it tampon printing though...

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"People often ask what is the meaning of Tampon or Tampo Printing. Tampon printing, as developed by the German firm Tampoprint AG, is an automated indirect offset printing process, or one in which an image is robotically transferred from a negative plate to the model surface via a soft silicone pad. The starting point is a steel plate that has the artwork chemically photo-etched into its surface, which is then lapped to a smooth finish. Using an inking tool called a "flood bar," the etched image is flooded, or coated with ink, and then a scraper resembling a doctor's scalpel removes the excess ink from the plate, leaving a deposit of ink only in the etched area. A mechanical arm presses the silicon pad, or "tampon," against the steel plate and the pad imprints with the ink from the etched image. The pad then lifts off, slides over to the model, which has been set in a fixture by the operator, and lightly presses down, transferring the image directly onto the surface to be printed. By virtue of the shape of the silicon pad, the ink releases onto the surface to be decorated. Then the silicone pad moves back to its home position, ready for another print cycle."

Illustration for article titled LaLD101: Tampos
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(All credit for pictures and write up goes to AutoArt's Facebook page. Link above.)

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