Taking Car Painting Courses? Here's a Look at Audi's Paint Etching Technology
A lot of people love their cars, and a lot of them love giving their cars a unique look. Custom paint jobs, decals, and other visual flourishes allow drivers to make the look of their cars a representation of their personality. It also lets drivers enjoy onlookers’ stares when they’re sitting at a red light.
Now, there’s a new option available to Audi owners looking to make their cars a little more personalized. A technique called “paint etching,” currently available for the Audi R8, is a unique approach to custom lettering or graphics. If you’re interested in auto painting, you might want to check it out.
Here’s a look at what paint etching is, and why it’s useful.
Students in Car Painting Courses: Here’s How Paint Etching Works
Most cars have a glossy finish. That means they reflect a lot of light, making them look shiny and new when they’re all clean. Audi’s paint etching is a process that makes a small portion of the car’s paint look matte, or much less reflective.
To achieve this, the painters will take a stencil and then blast it with powder finish, effectively scraping the car’s clear coat down to a rougher, matte look. The possibilities for shapes and lettering are essentially limitless.
This kind of etching is currently only available to the Audi R8 model, but there’s nothing about the technology that wouldn’t work on other models. If this technique becomes popular within the industry, you might even come across it at some point after your car painting courses.
Paint Etching Is a Longer-Lasting Option Than Decals or Regular Paint
Getting custom imagery or lettering on cars is nothing new. Between paint stenciling and stick-on decals, it has long been possible to add a bit of expressiveness to your car.
The advantage of paint etching is that the results can look great for longer. A decal will only usually last 3-5 years, and designs that are painted on can bubble, peel, and fade in a similar amount of time. As a result, painted designs might need to be retouched by professionals with auto painting careers in order to maintain their sleek look.
Paint etching, on the other hand, is basically permanent. Barring some sort of accident disfiguring the design, whatever image or character that is etched into a car’s paint will stay there.
Pros in Auto Painting Careers Might Know There Are Limits to What Audi Will Etch
There is one potential downside to the process as it exists currently. According to Audi, it will not apply any patterns that affect “third-party rights.” This likely means things like copyrighted or trademarked characters and designs. If there’s someone out there who wants a Ferrari logo on the side of their Audi, they’re probably out of luck.
If similar technologies are developed elsewhere, there’s always the possibility that these forbidden designs will become available at some point down the line. Until that happens, though, it’s likely that only those designs directly approved by Audi are going to be seen on cars.
It remains to be seen how well Audi’s paint etching will catch on, and the process does currently have some legal limitations that may bother some people. Still, it could be an interesting option that automotive professionals will see more of during their careers.
Do you want to become an auto refinishing prep technician or other auto painting professional?
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