Forced Air Convection Apparatus (Graphics Drying Fan)

For years the graphics world has been trying to figure out how to cure solvents from digitally printed vinyl. It has been an industry problem since large format ink jet printing was invented. It continues to cause aggravation to print providers, vinyl manufacturers, and most importantly, installers. For those of you not aware of the disasters of uncured solvents, refer back to our May 2009 Ask the Expert for more details on this common issue.

I recently decided to figure out a quicker, and more importantly, easier way to achieve the goal of curing solvents for 24 hours. I have seen drying fans, and drying boxes along the way, and really just wanted to make something compact, inexpensive, and easy to build. The idea is quite simple; utilizing box fans to blow air over graphics stood upright. This eliminates the need to unroll graphics on tables or floors and prevents dust and dirt from attaching to your prints.

The below photo shows how I used peg board to make the outsides of the box, and 2” plumbers pipe fittings to make tube supports. The inside of the box has a simple wooden frame to support the weight of the graphics and stabilize the store-bought box fans that I inserted into either end. I made sure there is open air on the underside of the box fans, and made some holes larger on the top to allow more air to pass through.

The key to this “Forced Air Convection Apparatus” is that you create a space in between each layer of vinyl, which allows the air to pass over the solvents and dissipate them into the air. This unit can accommodate four rolls at a time, but could easily be adapted to fit eight or more if stronger fans were used. This project took me about 4-5 hours to build with minimal tools, and a budget under $130.