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Old 09-05-2012, 12:22 PM   #31
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Location: Austin, TX
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How to lay reflective checkers.

Here's a gas tank I did in reflective checkers back in 2006. Ok. Apologies up front. This is a bit cutesy, it is not using SOLAS tape, and I just "cut and pasted" this from something I wrote back then. But it is kind of on the topic of reflective tape.

Here is Isaac's walk through on how to cut and apply reflective tape checkers.

Hi. I only know about ten words. Maybe more, My favorite is “Moo Cow.” However, my second favorite is “Varoom,” and that is the sound that a quality checkers paint job makes when it is attached to a well built vintage cafe racer. Trust me. I know about this stuff.

Ok. Let’s get started. You can see that I already masked up the petrol tank. I used 3M’s 1" blue masking tape “for automotive applications.” Also, here to my left you can see where I have prepared some squares out the reflective tape -- I used the blue and grey paper cutter in the background. Along with the squares are some pin stripes (which will be used later), some chocolate chips, and a beer (which will be used now). Also note how I thoughtfully put an old blanket down so I don’t scratch up Mommy’s table. See, why can’t Daddy think of little details like that?

Here I have removed the center strip of masking tape and the strip immediately to its right. I will be placing the checkers by hand, using the remaining hedge of tape on either side as a guide. As the tape squares are laid the guide tape will facilitate mostly straight and obliging rows.

Ah! The checkers’ squares. And I use the word “square” loosely. These are hand cut so on a theoretical level, every one is a little different. It is good to keep in mind that the tank is not flat, instead its a round, curved surface. Because of this, in order to keep the illusion of symmetry, I often have to hunt square by square to find just the right one with the perfect imperfection. Some are larger than others, some are lop-sided, others are closer to true. I will sort the conspicuously inaccurate ones in their own little pile for later use.

We have a good row going here. I like to peel the guide tape as I go. It helps me keep a view of the big picture. This process of actually laying the checkers just cruises by. I’d say that more than 60% of this job is preparation. Sometimes at this point I will feel obligated go back and remove a checker and replace it with one that is more suitable for that location.

Doesn’t that look great?! Note that where I have the petrol cap’s opening taped closed and placed the checkers right across that opening. I use some of those earlier mentioned odd ball squares here. A little later I will go back with a razor blade or an “Exacto Knife” to trim the excess. The next step after this picture is to lay that third and final row of checkers. While this one is the easiest, I often will find some missteps along the way – sometimes life doesn't doesn’t fit the way it should, and things need to be slightly rearranged to accommodate the illusion of symmetry. Even the softest of things can pass through a horse like invisible water. If you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you can head off your enemies with a balanced attack. A bird in the hand is always greener than the grass under the other guy's bushes. Like a walnut. I found this tape to be somewhat stretchy, so if I have to remove a square, it often will deform, and I wont be able to reuse it.

Yey! The checkers are done and I placed one of the pin stripes. You also can see I trimmed the tape around the petrol opening. A word about the pinstripes. This tape came in 1.5" wide rolls. Since the checkers are 1" square, I was left with 0.5" strips of leftover tape. I used the paper cutter to carefully slice these into what I imagine are approximately 3mm-wide pinstripes. This was a bit difficult to consistently get right, but I eventually ended up with several long, straight usable pieces. When I place the pin stripes I try to space them their own width from the checkers. I used to carefully mask off guide lines, but now I just do it by eye.

Boom goes the dynamite! You can tell I’m proud of my work in this picture.

One more view of the mostly completed tank -- I still need to shoot the whole thing with a clear coat. You can see my pink bike there in the background. Can you guess whose bike will be getting checkers next?!! That’s right. I thought it would be best to practice on Daddy’s before tackling mine.

Nothing beats the feeling of a job well done!

I've got to tell you, this reflective tape stuff is super fantastic stuff!! I only wish I could have done it with some of that fancy SOLAS tape. Maybe I'll try to do one of Daddy's helmets next.....

Peace and diapers

Phi1osopher screwed with this post 09-05-2012 at 03:11 PM
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:17 AM   #32
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Best. Write-up. Ever.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:50 AM   #33
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Everyone's tape was shipped off yesterday. If anyone is concerned that they were overlooked, please PM me.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:12 PM   #34
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After receiving my tape strips, I went ahead and tried a few quick applications.


Front Forks:

The strip around the forks looks like it was originally came with the forks during the day, but shines brightly at night.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:07 AM   #35
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Hey, That looks great. Thanks for posting the pics!
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:45 PM   #36
Bob Tosi
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Here's some pics of my tape installed on my top box. I'm about fifty feet away. The light is from a 100 lumen LED flashlight. The first pic the light is pointed at the ground. The second pic the light is pointed directly at the top box.

When you're lost in the wild and scared as a child. And death looks you bang in the eye, and your sore as a boil, its according to Hoyle to cock your revolver... and die. But the code of a man says "fight all you can" and self-dissolution is barred. In hunger and woe, its easy to blow... Its the hell-served-for-breakfast thats hard........Robert Service
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:18 PM   #37
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SOLAS Tape almost as bright as HID lamps

Thanks Steve for the quick shipment. As soon as I get it installed will send photo proof of the super bright reflective nature of the tape. Ride Safely, Rob
Takes the long way home
CT110 - 8 speeds fwd
Laissez le bon temps rouler

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Old 09-19-2013, 03:17 PM   #38
Jedi Apprentice
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Just got my tape in the mail, wasn't expecting it to come that quickly! I promptly slapped it all over my bike.
2005 BMW R1150R Rockster
2006 Vespa LX150

Philadelphia, PA
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:23 PM   #39
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Looks great! jfoley09, thanks for sharing the pic.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:10 PM   #40
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Is this still active? I'd like some tape! Sent you the PM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:24 PM   #41
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What is the color of this tape? I was hoping to find some Grey or Silver tape to put onto a pair of Happy Trail bags. This stuff looks to be perfect from the pictures.
2006 KTM 950 Adventure - Go Everywhere Bike
1993 Suzuki GSX1100G - Street Touring Shafty
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:09 AM   #42
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Hi All. Its fun that this thread woke up again.
Yes, I still have about 300' of White SOLAS tape left.
I only have the white color.
I am happy to ship it out to inmates and friends.

Please double check the very first thread for pricing and shipping info. (LINK)

Peace and grease,
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:28 AM   #43
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Thumb You need to start a business!

Wow! PM'ed on 17Oct. Invoiced 23Oct. Tape delivered 26Oct.

Ordered 20' uncut. Great looking tape, I'm looking forward to getting it on the bike.

Steve - if you ever start a business, I'll be you're first loyal customer!

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:54 AM   #44
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: AZ
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Got my tape in the other day! Haven't put it on my bike yet, but I played around on my backpack which I ride with always.

Flash off~

Flash on~

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Old 12-12-2013, 05:28 PM   #45
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PM sent

Hey Steve,

I sent a PM a few days ago. You might be busy or somethin' so thought I would give you a bump.

2012 DL650 Wee Strom,
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