It can be called under many names such as drip molded, epoxy domed, raised lettering, and most commonly just domed lettering. Doming is very common on badges and labels, but no so much so on lettering although that is what we specialize in.
Not all doming resin is the same. If you find yourself shopping around be sure you know what you are getting. First of all we use a two part polyurethane resin made especially for doming. This is important for many reasons. Our resin doesn't yellow in the sun, it is also durable indoors and outdoors for 5+ years. This is in comparison to UV cured epoxy which is normally fine for indoor use, but not for outdoor. Depending on the type UV cured epoxy can be cured using a normal black light; other formulations require a high intensity UV lamp which can be quite hazardous to look at. During the curing process UV cured can immediately develop a yellowing due to the photo chemical process. Rest assured our two part resin formulation dries to a long lasting optically clear finish. The only downside to our process is that we have a 24 hour waiting period after doming that the resin must cure. This is very important as we don't want to disturb the coating if not fully cured (it will distort).
You'll find out using any one of our lettering tools that you can create quite a few different designs. We do have to limit the height of lettering you can create to around 2 inches. This is because it becomes very difficult to dome tiny curves while keeping the resin inside of the lettering. The surface tension of the resin allows it to form a dome on the lettering. The edge of the lettering creates a lip that the resin naturally fills into. The issue becomes that the doming effect will eventually collapse if interior or exterior corners are too tight. Even if you order normal lettering we will round all of the edges a very small amount to counter this effect. If you must have something this small, just let us know we might be able to help you.
Although our resin is optically clear the color white can produce some unintended results once domed. Solid white lettering will take on a slightly off white hue. It is apparent if you placed it directly again pure white. If you add an outline to white lettering the white will take on the hue of the surrounding outline. In most cases this is a subtle effect, but please consider this before ordering.
Once the artwork has been prepped the vinyl is produced and all of the colors overlayed. At this point the product is the same as if you were ordering vinyl lettering. The resin can now be applied directly the lettering surface. Just to get an idea how long it takes, from start to finish a set of registration numbers can take around 45 minutes from setup to cleanup. We drip the resin on the surface using a very expensive compressed air dispenser system. If during the process the resin runs over the edge the graphic is ruined and must be redone. This isn't something you have to worry about paying for but there is very little room for error on our side.
Once the application process is complete the lettering is allowed to air dry for 24 hours. This is critical so we don't cause any issues in the finish of the resin. Once cured the resin is optically clear and slightly flexible. We do one final visual inspection to make sure there were not surprises during curing. The lettering is covered in application tape, boxed up, and shipped to you!
No, not at all. Raised lettering is very popular on boats, but it has many applications outside of boats. Some other ideas for domed lettering include, store front windows, glass doors, vehicles, and much more! Just keep in mind that although the vinyl might stick to your surface it still has to conform to it. This means complex curves are out. In fact only very smooth basic curves will work if the lettering has been domed.