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Shrink Pointers, Needed

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Hi Guys,


Just after some pointers/advice on how do you know that the tint is fully shrunk? Due to WFH/boredom i have decided to learn a new skill, seen the Youtube recommendations and figured seems interesting and want to learn.   Got a roll of 3M and tried to shrink to the front windshield. The first piece was a total disaster, inc burned/chard film.  Leeson learned, not as easy as Youtube. 


The 2nd attempt is looking better (ish) but the question I have now. Is how do I know that the film is fully shrunk. Linked a video and I know the reflections of the tarp above make it difficult to see.



The film had the initial shrink, I then picked up this half and put it back down. It snapped into place and I only needed to felt card it for everything to go flat. Left it on the windshield like this for over a day and came back to this. A dozen or so mostly vertical bubbles/ fingers formed  most only a couple of inc, with one around 4inch. The film was tacked on with dry bar soap. These fingers go away again after a light felt carding. I haven't yet tried to heat these slightly to see if I can remove them.



So the question is, should the film stay perfectly glued/flat to the glass like this with a dry bar soap tack for a day+ ? Or is it ok to expect some bubbles/fingers coming up?


Any advice would be appreciated.


Thank you.


*Edit* no I am not tinting the windshield with this ridicules dark tint. I chose it to practice on because its easier to see the fingers/lines etc.

Edited by Chilled
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After shrinking with dry soap or baby powder lift the film and spray with water and squeegee smooth. This is referred to as wet checking. If you find any fingers after a wet check, shrink em. 


Put a light inside the glass and use a grease pencil to trace out your pattern and cut your film on a piece of glass that you don't mind to sacrifice. I usually find an old sliding glass door (tempered only) and use it til it's grooved and useless, flip it over and use the other side. Eventually replacing it after a few years.


Good luck and welcome to the forum.:hat

Edited by Dano
Thurd grade grammar
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Ok, will try the wet check.


So am I expecting too much for it to maintain that shape, zero fingers/bubbles overnight. Or is that the idea of a perfect shrink?


Also I noticed that once I peel up the film, the film itself is kinda more bumpy/lumpy now. Not as flat/smooth as it was off the roll. Is that normal or should I be aiming for that roll like smothness? 

Edited by Chilled
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If you leave it on the outside of the glass it will pop up from sitting, that's normal. If it's installed and a finger shows up you can push it down and warm up the glass a bit. Streaching it a little on install will help too. Whatever you do don't try to heat up a windshield too much or it will crack...especially if you shock it with cold water.


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I'll just add: don't over think it and don't set your expectations too high, too early.


Nobody masters shrinking in a short period of time. After almost two decades of training newbies, I haven't had one that mastered shrinking in the last two days of practicing as many times as they wanted.


And like Dano has said, be careful with heat guns around windshields; they are laminated glass and it's exceptionally rare for a windscreen to be made laminated tempered glass. At most it is heat-strengthened because heating is required to shape the glass. Heat strengthened will crack if the glass surface temperature exceeds 100 degrees F difference between center and the glass edge.

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21 hours ago, Dano said:

After shrinking with dry soap or baby powder lift the film and spray with water and squeegee smooth. This is referred to as wet checking. If you find any fingers after a wet check, shrink em. 


When wet checking, am I supposed to press all the water/slip out? Had a look around and could not find anywhere the method for it.


Initially I just wetted the dry soap that was on the glass and used a 3M hard blue card (I didn't want to get the felt card wet). Got a few bubbles/fingers and once I forced all the water out. The film didn't lift for over a hour.


So i did it again this time with J&J slip mix( initially only 5pumps /0.7quarts, then progressively ended at 20/0.7q), and same thing. Once wall the water is forced out. The film just stays there its been on for over a hour between each attempt.  Nothing



Am I using too much force to push the water out and that is suctioning the film onto the glass?

*note* this is the same piece that was in the vid with those small(ish) fingers.

Edited by Chilled
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On 11/16/2022 at 4:26 AM, Chilled said:

 Got a roll of 3M and tried to shrink


Couple of questions.

How did you get a roll of 3M film? 

Is it the 'color stable' "CS" line? If so that is a tricky film to shrink and not representative of the way most films need to be shrunk. Def not a beginners film.

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Darker films are harder to shrink.  Like @TintDude said, if this is CS film from MMM then you need to get a different film for practice.  The CS line is hard to work with and you might not be learning properly because of the difficulty of the film to work with.  Proper beginning techniques are not going to be the same with this film and you don't know any advanced techniques to make this film easier to work with.  After getting a different film in a lighter shade, you learning process will be much more pleasant and easier.   :twocents   

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The film is the Ceramic IR. I know not cheap, dumb pick for a first try. When i was choosing it, was full of oblivious optimism(ignorance) with "How hard can this be?" And was thinking maybe i would loose 1 piece to practice, one of the cars needs to be re-tinted, perfect project.


Boy did I get humbled quick on the first shrink attempt. Gotta admit, now im actually more interested learning/figuring this out.


Care to share some of those advanced tips? Or have any good links to read/watch.

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