News You Can Use

Masking and Custom Converting

Summer 2023

Powder coating tape tip: Masking large, open areas

Inflation has certainly done its share to make everything more expensive. What is even more expensive is having to re-coat a part because masking failed - due to said masking being tasked with something it wasn’t really meant to do.

For high temperature masking tapes, that may mean the use of a more expensive tape – but it will do the job right the first time, too. Ultimately, that saves you time, money, and headaches – because it lowers or eliminates the need for costly rework. Just be sure to charge accordingly.

What do we mean by all this?

When a large area needs to be masked off (anything 6” to 8” square or bigger, for example), it can be tempting to think that a large piece of masking tape is the best way to mask it. For large quantities, that’s probably true. For small quantities or one-off’s, consider this:

Tape the edges with 1” to 2” tape, while covering the center with paper (that has a flash point is 451F) or aluminum foil (check the cost per square inch/foot first).

But that’s assuming the area is all one flat surface. And that adds a wrinkle to this.

When the area is flat all the way across, the tape heats up at the same rate as the part does, so reaching the part mean temperature (PMT) for powder curing takes longer for the tape – just like the metal part. This is because the tape is literally touching, because it is adhered to, the part.

But what about something like a valve cover? There’s a narrow, flat surface area around the outside edges, but a larger open area that is covered with tape that is unsupported. In that section, the tape doesn’t touch any metal – just air from both sides. Doing the paper/aluminum foil trick with tape around the edge is impractical now.

Then what? Green or blue poly all the way around?

That might seem to save money, but the unsupported polyester in the open area heats up quickly, and over time, can shrink – and that can cause stringy, partially cured powder to get dragged across the flat surface of the valve cover. That leaves a bit of a mess, and additional time and work. What to do?

Try using a higher temperature rated tape across a large, unsupported surface that will heat up faster than the part. Viadon carries 425F orange polyester tape, and 500F polyimide (amber) and glass cloth (white) tapes that are perfect for these situations.

Other powder coaters do this routinely, because in the long run, they save time – and money – as a result.

Spring, 2023

Soaring inflation has touched us all, from eggs to electricity - it seems everything has gone up in price. But what adds insult to that injury is when companies tack on extra “fees” on top of already high prices.

Shipping? Add a fee beyond costs.

Handling? Add a fee for someone touching a box.

Used an online system to place your order without any human intervention whatsoever? Add a fee.

What is that about? It is ridiculous, isn’t it?

Well, Viadon doesn’t do any of that.

While we have had to adjust our pricing to account for our suppliers passing along higher costs to us, we have never added extra fees – flat or percentages – on TOP of already unavoidable higher prices. That’s just wrong, in our view.

So not only are we upfront about pricing and do not add random fees, we also ship most in stock items same-day when ordered prior to 12pm Central Time – and sometimes even when ordered later than that! We do our best to get your order out the door given that we slit all tapes to width at time of order. Plus, we always try to respond promptly and provide quotes quickly. How quickly?

A recent prospect shared this with us:

I want you to know how much I appreciate your response.  I’ve sent countless inquiries on these and you are the ONLY one so far to respond!!!  THANK YOU!

Total time from inquiry receipt to response sent on the above? 16 minutes. And other companies did not even respond to them? We cannot even imagine NOT responding – even if we have to no-quote because it is a job we are unable to do.

Want better service without the added fees AND fast shipping of mostly American-made tapes from a company that answers phones calls with a LIVE person during business hours?

Give Viadon a call today. It’s why we are, “A cut above.”

Custom tape die cuts and custom molded masking plugs and caps


Autumn, 2022

Getting product TO our door

“Supply Chain Problems” has been one of the most challenging aspects facing nearly every industry over the past year or two. Viadon has worked hard to stay ahead of these issues – and largely has - by stocking up on tapes, caps and plugs as much as possible. But even with that foresight, one tape has proven to be short on supply for longer than anticipated: Our VHTC1 high temperature crepe tape (PG-21), with a max temperature of 325F.

For years, our VHTC1 tape has been the go-to masking tape for the finishing industry, particularly for wet-spray painters. Paper mills have been closing at alarming rates around the world, making the raw materials for paper-based tapes scarce.

An alternative became a necessity, as the situation is unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future.

Viadon searched high and low for comparable masking tapes to provide a satisfactory alternative that was also competitively priced. Many tapes exist that offer similar high temperature performance, but most of them have been substantially more expensive than our VHTC1 by 2x and sometimes 3x the price… until now.

P325 Pink Frog Tape

Viadon’s pink P325 crepe tape is a suitable, high-performance alternative in the high temperature crepe tape category. While the price is slightly higher than our VHTC1 tape, one thing it has going for it is imperative: Better availability! And the performance feedback we have received so far from customers has been that it works in nearly all the same masking tape applications. With the pink color, it also provides better visibility for removal.

Want to try a roll or two? Give us a call for current pricing. If enough customers continue preferring it, we will add it to our product pages as a stock tape. 

Another reason why Viadon is A Cut Above.   

Summer, 2022

All time highs... and not the summer heat

It has been quite the year and a half since Covid-19 changed things! Price fluctuations, supply chain disruptions, shipping issues, pandemic-related challenges. Can we all just get a break already?

And yet, through it all, Viadon has thrived – our total sales have continued going up.  Our customers have been incredibly loyal – and we appreciate all the new ones too. We are incredibly grateful to the purchasers, small shop owners and everyone else in between with whom we interface for placing their trust in us repeatedly, despite the occasional bumps in the road.

It is those valued customers and our trusted vendors who have helped Viadon continue to grow and provide the very best products at competitive prices – all while doing it with mostly American-made tapes and silicone sheeting products. Why? We believe the USA-manufactured products are consistently better – and we provide them at prices that rival and even out-compete those imported ones.

Perhaps this is why - after nearly two decades of ISO certification - Viadon continues to receive a 99% satisfaction rating from our valued customers in ISO surveys. Is further improvement possible? There’s not much room to get better, but we will keep trying! Why? Because we value our customers and want to keep providing the fast and friendly service they have come to depend on since September 2000.

It's why Viadon is ‘A Cut Above.’

Winter, 2021

When the shipping hits the fan

You may have noticed items missing from store shelves, seen delays and backorders from suppliers and experienced unanticipated – and sometimes quite significant – price increases.

Viadon has not been immune from this. Our logistics partner shares that most of these circumstances, in one way or another, can be traced back to Covid-related issues. Whether it is insufficient workers (due to sickness) to produce items or get them shipped/delivered, spikes in demand causing supply shortages and/or shipping bottlenecks due to those surges of buying, nearly all of them have that same cause in common.

During this time, Viadon has been working diligently to maintain our stock products and get custom parts made and shipped quickly.

- For one, stocking mostly American-made tapes has helped us maintain an almost-always available supply of tape and die cuts.

- And back at the beginning of the year, Viadon was already buying additional caps and plugs to maintain sufficient stocks of those parts.

- To date, we have been able to acquire new tooling for custom die cuts with only a slightly longer lead times.

- One significant challenge right now is custom molded parts. Very often customers choose to air these parts in from our overseas molding partner. At present, the holiday season is upon us and currently there are 60+ container ships waiting to dock in LA / Long Beach, in addition to currently-unloading ships.

As such, many importing industries with the option to do so are choosing to bring in product via airfreight just to get it stateside before Christmas (even at increased cost). Unsurprisingly, we have seen some delays due to this, though so far they have been minor. Our logistics partner anticipates this should begin to ease sometime in 2022.

This is all to say we have been working hard and will continue to do our best to try and provide you with the materials you need so you can finish things right. We do ask that in the event an item is out of stock or somewhat delayed, please be patient and know that we are doing all we can to acquire the missing item. And as best we can, we will keep you updated on the progress of those products.

This is a challenging time for everyone, but Viadon continues to rise to that challenge because we continue to believe we are, A Cut Above.

Thank you for your business. Know that we will keep working diligently to earn it every day.

Summer, 2021

Viadon has more options for die cut tapes and molded masking parts than ever before. 

Not only has Viadon added a new die cutting machine (see Winter 2021 post below), but we have been expanding the ways in which we offer our services to better account for your needs as a customer too.

As a custom converter, we get asked a lot of different questions about what we can do. And the answer is... well, a lot! The question really is: What do you need die cut? Tape slit to width? Tape laminated? We have a lot of options available, and we offer most in small or large quantities to best fit what you need. 


Fall, 2020

Custom parts don’t just save time – there are more options than ever to save money and enhance the services you can offer, too. From single cavity molded parts tools to plotter cutters making one-off or low quantity die cuts, learn about some of the specialized options that exist.

Products that get coated in some way – whether it be powder coating, anodizing, plating, wet spray painted, or something else – have become increasingly specialized. To be sure, there is the automotive market, for example, where tens or hundreds of thousands of similar parts get finished. But for many jobs, the specialization required can be for quantities in the mere hundreds or even mere tens of parts at a time – occasionally even just one-offs.

Is that economical? Affordable? The answer may surprise you. (Hint: It's "yes.")

For the manufacturer or metal finisher, customization at low quantities can make for some challenging masking decisions, especially when the geometry of the part is complex enough to require more than just a tape disk or standard plug. But services Viadon has been able to offer for a long time are lower quantities of not just custom die cut tape masks, but even molded parts from single cavity molds – with low or no tooling costs depending on the part and material. And there are even more options now as well.

Here is a brief look at each option and how these could save you time and money and give you a competitive edge.

Plotter made die cuts at Viadon

Plotter made tape die cuts

Viadon has had a plotter cutter since we opened in 2000. It’s basically a knife blade that moves back and forth along one axis, with pinch rollers that feed and retract the material along the other axis.

When tape is applied to a liner and fed through the plotter, the blade cuts the tape and leaves the liner intact.

This is an ideal way to produce accurate, lesser quantities of die cuts - with NO tooling cost.

In general, if we are going to provide these die cuts to a customer, the typical practical quantity is usually in the 50 to 200 pieces range. This does depend on complexity and total area – contact us for details.

For most requests, we supply plotter-cut die cuts from green polyester tape on a liner. This is a widely used masking material for many coating applications.

Some customers even use it for testing the shape first even if they wind up ordering a hard tool utilizing a different tape material later.

Plotter made die cuts in-house by you

Lined green polyester tape

As the price of plotters has come down and they are more widely available, customers have been purchasing their own to create short runs of custom shapes, kits of die cuts, or even just one-off masks when necessary.

Since that began, Viadon has made their green polyester tape on a liner available for anyone looking to make their own short run custom die cuts.

And other tape materials may also be available – contact us for more information. A question we are often asked is “What plotter-cutter should we get?”

The unsatisfying answer is: It depends.

While Viadon has a work-horse plotter made by IoLine (made in America, with little maintenance required), there are certainly other options that are of good quality.

Obviously budget is an issue. It also depends on how often you will use it, and what width of material you plan to run through it – that is to say, “How large of a die cut do you want to make?”

While there are certainly smaller/cheaper ones out there, we work with customers that use plotter-cutter models from Roland and US Cutter, that tend to be of a higher quality, and importantly, provide for wider rolls of material. These are also likely to last longer than the lower end models with narrow material feeds.

Custom molded parts

Custom molded silicone masking parts

An option Viadon has offered for over a decade and a half is the single-cavity tool option for custom molded parts.

Whether a customer needs silicone, EPDM, neoprene, or other types of elastomers, we have the ability to provide them with a low-cost tooling option that produces 10’s or perhaps up to 100 custom parts when necessary.

Although the part price is obviously higher compared to a production sized tool, the overall cost is far less, especially when low quantities are the goal. Very often, the single cavity tooling is only in the hundreds of dollars range – similar in cost to a custom die cut hard tool.

Additionally, we will always look to see what the best option for you is depending on quantities. A recent customer found that because of the quantity they needed for testing was significant enough, it made more sense to go straight to a production sized tool. They will save money on their overall prototypes and go to production faster.

But that may not be what your needs are - perhaps low quantities is what's required. We're going to look out for the best option for your situation.

That is one more reason you can trust Viadon to help you save money while making your processes faster and more efficient.

3D printed parts

3D printed masking plug with handle

While generally not a true masking option given the lower temperatures at which these parts are made due to the material used and the very low quantities produced, a 3D printed part can provide a low-cost way to see and feel an actual mask prior to a mold being made.

These can also be useful for testing how a handle might interfere with other parts, or the ease of insertion / removal for operators.

And the lead times can be quite short – often within days!

While the filament material necessary to make “rubber like” parts is still a plastic, albeit somewhat softer than most plastics, as a result it will still often feel a bit harder than an actual molded rubber part.

But for testing fit and design components, it can be a very fast way to see and feel a part and “dry fit” test it for fit before committing to a rubber mold.

Viadon: A cut above, so you can be too

Our design engineer, Dave Fuller, designs 100% of the custom die cuts and molded parts here at Viadon. We work hard so that questions can be resolved quickly, or other ideas discussed and considered. And if it is a part we cannot do, or just isn’t feasible to make and have work well? We will tell you that too. We know what we can do, and what is not possible. No sense not giving it to you straight so you can make the best decisions. But 99% of the time? We can provide a solution for you.

And if a custom designed die cut or molded part is going to save both time and money – well, we are ready to help you invest in that savings to give you a competitive edge. 


Summer, 2019

As the needs for masking in powder coating and other metal coating processes have gotten more detailed, more offerings of stock parts have been introduced to the market. Viadon has added two well-used masking plugs to their line up – the VTMP first thread masking plugs for blind holes and the SFPP flanged pull plugs for through holes.

The VTMP takes the concept of a straight plug and adds a small flange at the top, to cover the initial, lead thread for blind holes. Viadon’s lineup includes plugs for both standard and metric ranging in the popular sizes M6 through ½-13 threaded holes. The convenient handle on the masking plug makes them a snap to insert and remove for efficient preparation for coating.

The SFPP uses the more simple pull plug design but adds a flange at the tail end. This is perfect for most through holes of 1” length or shorter as the masking operator can simply grab the “tail” of the plug pushed through the hole, then pull until the flange seats on the first thread. Viadon’s offerings here include standard and metric plugs from 10-32 up through the quite large M16 size.  

Winter, 2017

Viadon introduces the Silicone Multi-Use Plug and Cap Kit. This allows the job-shop or small powder coater to avoid purchasing dozens of different plugs and caps, and plug holes from 0.109" to 0.709" (with just 3 different plugs!) and cap off studs/threads from 0.118" to 0.709" (with just 4 different caps!).

And you can get a kit with all of them for only $50. Interested? More info here at this link.

Powder coating job shop masking kit
Powder Coating Job Shop Masking Kit