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Dip Tech Hydro Imaging

Nov 30, 2009

So you've got the ultimate swap completed, making more than enough power. Your suspension is dialed in and your car could work weekends as a go kart at the local indoor arena. In essence, your entire build is nearing completion, yet you want to add a little something to let the world know this build is all yours. You could shave your valve cover and paint it, which really isn't that hard, yet it's been done a million times. The other option is of course powdercoating, but again, it's nothing new to the Honda world. That's where Dip-Tech comes in. They've taken the art of customizing valve covers and just about anything else on your car, to new heights.

Htup_0912_01_o+dip_tech_hydro_imaging+base_coat Photo 2/12   |   Dip Tech Hydro Imaging

Dip Tech was established in September of 2008, and its Alex Grochev and Paul Chamberlain have over thirteen years of custom automotive and industrial painting experience, as well as four years in hydro-graphics. Feeling that there was a need to bring this process to the masses, Dip Tech was created and the options seem to be endless.

The process is called hydro-imaging, and it's relatively new. In fact, there are only four dealers in the world that supply the proper film and equipment. It can be quick and painless, or extremely complex and time consuming; depending on your design and color choices. Essentially, Dip Tech has the ability to print just about any design, in any color, on your valve cover, plastic dash insert, shock tower bar, or any other solid object that can be submerged in water. No job is too big or small, as they're one of the only companys in the U.S. that can dip objects as small as a shift knob, or as large as an entire hood. Their facility can also match factory colors and they can emulate wood grains, carbon fiber, marble stone, etc. To finish off a piece, you can choose a super high gloss clear coat, matte clear, and even a custom rubberized soft touch coat. It's the perfect solution to creating something mind blowing and unique to your project.

Htup_0912_02_o+dip_tech_hydro_imaging+spraying_base_coat Photo 3/12   |   Our AP1 valve cover and spark plug plate are blasted, then coated in black to start the process.

In order to get a first-hand look at just how precise this process is, we enlisted Alex and Paul to create a graphic on our Project AP1 valve cover. Alex states "with this particular valve cover we decided to try a lava theme in silver and black. Since the car carries quite a bit of black and yellow, we felt the silver and black valve cover would tie into the look, without clashing with all of the kevlar pieces under the hood. Much of the process involves preparation, where the item is thoroughly cleaned, blasted, and smoothed via primer. The item is based in whatever base color pattern you desire (in this case it was black). The film is actually transparent, and with the lava pattern, it was printed in hydro ink on top of resin film. The film is then cut and laid on the surface of the water in the processing tank, and sprayed with an activator chemical. We carefully place the valve cover into the tank, and as it passes through the floating ink (the film has dissolved at this point), the floating design wraps around the grooves and edges of the valve cover. It's then placed in a wash tank to remove any excess, and soon after it's ready for a coat of clear. The process takes a lot of skill and practice, not to mention a little bit of basic physics to get a good, precise image. We've done countless jobs for clients all over the world in every design and color you can imagine. We guarantee everything we work on with a limited lifetime warranty against any peeling, cracking, or blistering."

We were amazed when we received the valve cover back from Dip Tech. The glossy finish and accuracy in the design are absolutely stunning. The design appears almost 3-D, as it pops off the valve cover. In fact, numerous people in the office rubbed their hands over the paint expecting to feel a textured surface. If you're interested in creating a piece of art for your project car, log onto and contact Paul and Alex you won't be disappointed. Oh yeah, tell them Honda Tuning sent you!

By Rodrez
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