Color Craft assumes original decals will be applied to protect aircraft when their base coat is still tacky. “You could wait for the paint to dry,” Stewart says. “But nobody wants to wait.” As a result, 03's transfer medium allows the base coat to breathe to prevent out gassing from creating bubbles in the image.
Color Craft has just 12 employees but its roots are in a larger, 64-year-old commercial job-shop printing business that began developing specialty applications for Boeing in the 1990s. Stewart bought the aviation division two years ago. While its 03 technology finds its footing, the company continues its core business of aircraft stencil and decal work, serving Boeing, airlines, cabin interior suppliers and design specialists such as Teague. One customer, Associated Painters of Spokane, Wash., is being acquired by Leading Edge Aviation Services of Costa Mesa, Calif., which describes itself as the industry's largest independent aircraft painter.
As much as the 03 process may open the imagination, Stewart says the basics will keep him in business. “The most fun is to create the big graphics, but our bread-and-butter work are the mandatory markers.”
Watch video of Color Craft's 03 process on our Things With Wings blog: ow.ly/knq0D