How are Custom Inflatables Made?
Transform your Big ideas into Giant Inflatables in three easy steps!
You have a vision – We convert your idea into a design – Your concept is Brought to life!
Are you looking for a fun, custom inflatable to grab some attention and support your brand? What a great choice! Maybe you are looking for a character or a logo to reflect your brand as an inflatable. Perhaps you would prefer something more functional, such as a bounce house or a jumper. In any case, you might wonder, “How are inflatables made? ”
How are Inflatable Structures Made?
A custom inflatable can be simple or complex. Due to their lack of internal structure, they are simple. Air is the only thing holding them up! But because of the production methods required to achieve such shapes and they’re also complicated!
Custom made interactive or sports inflatables especially must be strong as they have to endure the force of people jumping on or bumping up against the structure. The best material for inflatables is PVC-coated vinyl or nylon, which is strong and durable. PVC-tarpaulin is particularly heavy-duty and is often used for inflatable structures that are used outdoors. Oxford cloth is another material that is used and is the best choice for creating complicated shapes or for indoor usage.
Let’s go through the phases to answer the question, “How are inflatables made?”
Step 1: Design
The design is very important. Thankfully, nowadays, we have the bonus of computer modeling. Graphic Designers will take an idea from a client and create a computer illustration of it. Its important to work as closely as possible to the clients original concept while also ensuring the custom made inflatable will work in the real world.
The 3D design is then flattened out to form individual pieces that will eventually come back together to form the custom inflatable. A computer program will help our designer determine how much material or PVC is required. Each of these digitally created pieces is sent to the printer.
Step 2: Print
The custom inflatable design is sent to the print department where each individual piece is printed. After the pieces are printed, they are automatically cut using a pattern cutter. Then the pieces head to the stitching or welding department.
Step 3: Assembly and Testing
The pieces are then stitched or sealed together carefully and following the original 3D model design and pattern number, each piece has to fit exactly as designed, just like a jigsaw pauzzle. Once the inflatable is completely built, it’s inflated with air to check for leaks and ensure there are no faults.
What Is the Standard Lead Time?
Our standard amount of time needed to build a custom inflatable is 4 weeks. Firstly we get an idea of your concept by asking a few questions, next we move on to quoting for the custom inflatable. If the quote is accepted we move to the design phase which can take up to one week. When the customer is happy with the design we will move to construction. It usually takes 3 weeks to construct an inflatable.
Some clients are working to tight deadlines and so they require the inflatables to be delivered much faster. If a customer is in a rush, we have a few options available. Firstly they can choose an existing design. Maybe the customer is a beverage company. We have already made many soda can designs in the past so it would be straight forward to apply new graphic to an existing design – This is easy!
If the design is more complex, we can offer an expediated service to ensure the design, production and delivery phases are all prioritised. This Rush Service is at an additional cost and quoted on an induvial basis depending on the complexity of the custom inflatable.
What Materials Are Used to Make Inflatables?
So that you can make the best decision possible for your investment, it is necessary to understand the various aspects of the inflatable manufacturing process. The information below will help you find the answers you need to get the most for your inflatable dollar.
A major factor in choosing a cold-air inflatable is the lifespan. Will the inflatable tear, will it fade in the sun, will it last forever? This all depends on the material chosen for the inflatable.
When thinking about purchasing a custom inflatable, its best to consider the following:
What is the denier of the fabric? Denier relates to the unit of weight, indicating the size of the fibre. The higher the denier, the stronger the fabric.
Is the material strong? Material strength depends on a combination of elements including the denier, the fibres, and the weave. The tighter the weave is, the more durable the fabric will be.
Will my inflatable fade? If the fabric is not treated, it is very likely that your inflatable will suffer fading. The inflatable fabric used by Mr Inflatables contains a UV coating to prevent colour fading under normal conditions. However, no amount of UV Coating can prevent fading completely.
Will my inflatable last forever? With all the advances in inflatables today, we still have not found a way to allow inflatables to last indefinitely. Does the manufacturer offer a warranty. This will give you a good idea of the lifespan of your balloon. Mr Inflatables products are backed with a 24 month warranty, however, many of our customers report using their inflatables successfully five years or more.
Six of the most commonly used inflatable fabrics are:
Rip stop – Rip stop fabric is a 70-denier nylon, usually 1.9 ounce, urethane coated. It is used for very lightweight inflatables and internal construction pieces such as the internal baffles that control and maintain the shape of the inflatable.
Oxford – This inflatable fabric is a 200/210-denier nylon oxford cloth, usually 3.5 ounce, urethane coated. It is used primarily for internal construction pieces such as the baffles mentioned above, but is not well suited for inflatables.
Pack cloth – A 410/420-denier nylon pack cloth that is 7-8 ounce, urethane coated. It is more durable than oxford and is heavier. If you are concerned about weight, oxford is most likely the best choice for you. If you are interested in an inflatable constructed from heavier materials, pack cloth will be the better material to use.
Vinyl-Coated Nylon (7.5 oz) – This PVC coated nylon is normally 7.5 ounce. It is used as the exterior material (what you actually see) for most cold-air, advertising inflatables. It’s lightweight, strong, available in custom colors, and accepts graphics easily. This fabric is well suited for cold air inflatables.
Vinyl-Coated Nylon (9-12 oz) – A PVC coated nylon, usually 10 ounce. This fabric is of medium weight and used on areas requiring additional strength such as the base of a small, indoor inflatable, or the primary fabric of recreational or interactive inflatables such as bouncers and slides.
Polyester Vinyl-Coated (18-22 oz) – This heavyweight fabric is made from PVC coated polyester, and is usually 18 ounce. Primarily, this fabric is used as a base material, covering areas where inflatables touch the ground. It is also used heavily in interactive inflatables like bouncers and slides.