Hydrographics or HydroGraphics, also known as immersion printing, water transfer printing, water transfer imaging, hydro dipping or cubic printing, is a method of applying printed designs to three-dimensional surfaces. The hydrographic process can be used on metal, plastic, glass, hard woods, and various other materials.
The water transfer printing process is extensively used to decorate items that range from entire all-terrain vehicles and car dashboards, to small items like bike helmets or other automotive trim. Films can be applied to all types of substrates including plastic, fiberglass, wood, ceramics, and metal. For the most part, if the item can be dipped in water and can be painted using traditional techniques then the hydrographic printing process can be used.
After removing the piece from the water, a top coat is applied to protect the design. With multiple prints, hydrographics printing can achieve full 360° coverage of the part surface, including small crevices. Compared with airbrushing, for example, the hydroprinting process is much quicker and allows far more complex and detailed designs to be applied.