YDR Insider

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A bit of a setback found in the Mobile Media Lab plans

Well, it turns out the van we have been planning to convert into a Mobile Media Lab will require a lot more prep work than we had thought. And it might not even be salvageable for the project.

We met yesterday with Travis Hawthorne and Cherie Thompson of Print-O-Stat yesterday to learn more about what it will take to get our designs wrapped around the van. Our artists have done their job well and are ready to enter the final stages. The vehicle, however, is a different story.

This 2001 Chevy 1500 van came from our fleet of delivery vehicles. I have always felt confident that this ugly duckling would look just fine with a vinyl graphic display wrapped all around it. But there are some important details I did not know. And in some ways, this is just a ridiculously shabby van for such an effort.

The big surprise came when we opened the side panel doors and a plume of angry wasps buzzed out. A sizable wasps nest had been built inside the door frame, and these guys were not happy to be disturbed.

As we scrutinized the van from front to back, it was funny to see the looks on the faces of Travis and Cherie. They were so polite and so professional, but they were also awestruck that anyone would think to convert this thing into a premier marketing piece. Finally, one of our editors asked Cherie if this was the ugliest vehicle they had ever been asked to wrap. Without hesitation, Cherie stated that this was, indeed, the ugliest thing they had ever worked on.

She and Travis remained steadfast and confident, though. If we do the prep work they laid out for us, she said, they will make this look great.

There is one possible deal-breaker: Cherie informed us that the vehicle cannot have been painted within six months before applying such a wrap. Fumes will come off the paint and cause the wrap to bubble and separate from the vehicle. Also, no rust whatsoever can be on the van. And this baby has a ton of rust. No holes or anything. But lots of scratches, dents, dings and gauges and lots of spots of rust. Each spot must be sanded down, filled as needed, and primered.

We are worried that the filler and the primer will have the same effect as fresh paint. Travis is checking with his experts on this. If that is the case, this van is out of consideration, and I am on the hunt for a new van, or a used one in very good condition. If the primer is not a deal-breaker, I am on the hunt for someone who can do this work at a very low price, as none of this was budgeted into our plans.

If you know of someone who might be interested in contributing to this effort — with a vehicle or some labor, please let me know. We have a wonderful array of sponsorship options for this educational community service project. A company’s name on the tents or tables, or even on the van, could generate a lot a of goodwill as we help people in York County improve their connections with the community.

In the meantime, wish me luck. We really want to get this lab on the road by July. There are so many great summertime events we can take this to. Time is of the essence.