Written by Juan Fernandez

The future of graphic printing is...roller skating? Faena Art in Miami Beach, Florida commissioned Thomas Printworks to help them with a unique large format printing project- constructing a roller skating rink that can easily be installed and removed. The idea behind this project was to bring artwork to the masses via a free event at an exclusive venue.

Every construction process starts with an idea, and then it's about turning that idea into reality. Every aspect had to be thought about and questions had to be asked, such as: What material can be used to create a 65-foot skating rink? How would it be installed and removed without wear-and-tear damage? Would it withstand the rigors of transport, not just from the Thomas production facility to the Faena Forum building, but time and time again? After long discussions, the team came up with three possible solutions. 

It was decided that all panels would be 8 feet by 4 feet for standardization and that each panel piece would be cut out (routed) into jigsaw-looking puzzle pieces so that they would interlock for easy install. Deciding on what and how to print it was where we had to get creative.

The first concept entailed using direct printing onto ¾ inch thick plywood. Once that piece was printed, they would then apply a polyurathane coating over the entire image for protection.

The second idea called for direct printing of the selected image onto ¼ inch high density white PVC. Once printed, pebble lamination was applied over all images for protection. This would help to protect the graphic itself as well as all skaters. 

The third proposal was a reverse direct print of the selected image onto G floor woodgrain. Once all panels were printed a white adhesive vinyl backing would be added over the image for protection. This method also called for low tac tape to be applied to the bottom of the panels for easy removal.

After long hours of evaluation and testing, the conclusion was to not just pick one, but to think bigger and combine the three. Utilizing aspects of each idea accommodated the need for long-term wear-and-tear and easy install and removal. In order to do something you've never done, you have to think differently than you have before. It was a privilege to be apart of the completion of Miami's most innovative skating rink. This project has opened up the thinking in the vast possibilities and solutions for large format printing. If a skating rink is possible, then the possibilities are endless.

Thank you for reading this week's Thomas Printworks blog. Do you have a crazy idea that you weren't sure was possible? Contact us today and let's see if we can put our heads together and figure out a solution. We'd love to help make ideas a reality. After completing this project in Miami our minds have been turning nonstop with new ideas- we'd love to get these new ideas out there, will they be in your store? You decide!

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