3M Tape Primer 94 and Vehicle Wrapping

What is 3M Tape Primer 94, and why do some say it’s a must for installing vehicle wraps?

3M Tape Primer 94 is an additive that’s used to keep ControlTac Comply from pulling away from areas where the surface of the vehicle curves sharply or deeply inward. Without the use of an adhesive primer, ControlTac will lift from such channel during or shortly after installation. One of the downsides of this requirement is the presence of VOC’s. Tape Primer 94 contains strong solvents and is classified as a hazardous substance. Note:  It is illegal in the state of California and cannot be shipped UPS Ground.

It seems odd in this environmentally-conscious age to invest tens of thousands of dollars in an ecosolvent printer and then uncork a bottle of solvent laden adhesive primer. 3M  announced a new version of ControlTac that doesn’t require this odorous assistance.

What you should be known about Tape Primer 94 is that you do not need and should not use Tape Primer 94 with Avery or Oracal vinyls. ControlTac requires adhesive Tape Primer 94 because it has a very low tack adhesive. No such problem with Avery’s 1005 EZn or EZRS vinyl. EZRS, which is removable and slideable, allows you to position the vinyl just where you need it, including in deep grooves. EZn has a little more initial tack than EZRS and may be too aggressive for installers in warmer climes. But no matter which EZ media you choose, no adhesive primer is needed.

What about using Tape Primer 94 with Orajet 3951 or 3551RA?

Not only is it not necessary, it’s detrimental. According to Oracal’s tech support staff, OraJet adhesive is designed for dry application and will actually be degraded if installed over Tape Primer 94. Like Avery, Orajet offers two options in 2mil cast vinyl for wrapping with slightly different properties. Orajet 3951, the industry’s most durable 2mil cast vinyl, has a repositionable and removable adhesive with no air egress features. You simply apply it like normal vinyl and reposition it till it’s just right. And without air egress channels that are known to degrade print quality in other brands, you get a perfect, paint like finish.

Orajet 3951RA offers an air egress liner for those who want a little faster or easier installation. Oracal’s Rapid Air liner works similarly to the 3M’s Comply V2 and Avery’s EZ vinyls by allowing air to be worked quickly toward the edges of the panel for a smooth, bubble-free installation. The RA liner does produce a slightly dimpled print surface, but it doesn’t distract much from image quality. And the conformability of 3951RA allows it be installed in all kinds of compound curves, channels, and creases without the help of any additives.

The Bottom Line

If you’re using 3M ControlTac Comply, you’ll need some help to get it to stay stuck in deep grooves. That’s what Tape Primer 94 is for. But it isn’t needed if you’re using Avery EZn or EZRS, and isn’t recommended if you’re using Orajet vinyls of any kind. And if you prefer ControlTac, try the new 3M’s new V3 formula for a faster, solvent free installation.

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