Using the EFI™ VUTEk® GS3250x Pro hybrid printers’ multi-layer printing capabilities and VUTEk GSx CF Series inks for deep draw thermoforming, Shaun Lugton, EFI Applications Specialist, created the thermoformed automotive application sample pictured above, which features carbon fiber texture and a backlit logo.

The multilayer feature on the VUTEk GS3250x Pro printer allows for up to three images to print simultaneously. The layering of different images can create light box ready image densities, ink builds for true texture feel, as well as spot white ink layers that can print over the base image to maximize white ink capabilities. Multilayer can also be used to add a flood white or flood black layer without the use of an image.

Let’s take a look at all the ways multilayer was used to create some extraordinary features in this sample:

  • Carbon fiber appearance with texture
  • Backlit logo with “Day & Night” transmissive color profile to allow color to remain the same with back lighting is on or off
  • Mirror printing was used to achieve two-sided print – the logo was knocked out of the carbon fiber on the front of the sheet, then, the second surface color was printed on the back with the mirror printing feature to allow the image on the back to line up with the image on the front
  • Opaque block-out from light source:
    • The carbon fiber textured portion of the sample will not allow light through when viewed with light source, which customers request when producing backlit signage
    • Requires opaque black ink or a heavy build of ink to block out the light source in some areas of a sign in order to hide wires, light fixtures, or framing from being noticed
  • Spot white printing is showcased along with the printing of the carbon fiber texture during the front side print run

Using the VUTEk GSx CF Series ink set, all of the above can be printed and thermoformed into a completed product with only two passes through the printer. To learn more about direct print thermoforming, check out our Thermoforming 101 video.

This unique combination can be used for both backlit signage construction as well as automotive interior applications that might have a carbon fiber appearance and feel along with illuminated logos that are part of the same material structure.

Check out our Applications that WOW! resources page to learn how to perfect EFI’s backlit multi-layer printing techniques and more advanced applications. You’ll find video tutorials, application tech tips, and the must-have Ultimate Guide to White, Clear and Multi-layer Applications.

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