Custom Decals

Hey Guys,
Could somebody please post step by step instructions for printing custom
decals. I have an HP ink jet printer/scanner and plenty of art work, but I
can't get good decals. Some of my problems include:
-- faded black color after printing
-- all of the ink runs off the paper when placed in water
-- point or dotted effect when printing solid colors or fields
I have not had a successful print yet. When I ask at the local hobby shop I
get a different answer every time. I have two different brands of paper and
plenty of MicroScale liquid decal film and Microset and Microsol. I have
lots of old models I'm trying to rebuild/restore but I will need lots of new
decals to make them right.
Thanks guys
Zack
...of course I'm serious, and stop calling me Shirley.
Reply to
Zack
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Do you have the Micro Mark decal spray? They are selling Krylon Crystal Clear. They have a number of different papers for sale, some for laser, some for inkjet.
The steps are: print to regular paper as a proof. Once you have what you want, print to Injet Decal paper.
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This is the try-it pack with the spray included.
I print to a corner of the paper and cut it across so I do not waste a whoe sheet, then let it dry at least an hour. Spray lightly with the Krylon Crystal Clear and let that dry. Spray one more time, again, lightly. With out this the ink will come off.
Once usually works, but two very thin coats seem to work well, too. Cut, soak and apply like any decals.
As for fading of black, I have never had this problem with my HP at all. What paper are you using.
I found the Testors paper to be crap... Micro Mark's is much better and not expensive.
Hope this helps.
Lance
Reply to
Bluepen
Okay, here are answers to the specific questions, and then some alternatives.
1. Does your printer have a seperate black cartridge, or make black from a combination of colors/
2. The decals MUST be overcoated after printing. Some recommend a special coating. I just use Testors clearcoats- gloss or matt clear depending on the decal use.
3. This is MY big problem. I have yet to find a brand of inkjet paper that works with my printer. I also get that reticulation.
What I have been doing is printing out the design on regular paper, then taking the printout and a sheet of laser print paper to a copy shop. Used to work great, but the shop has recently installed a higher speed copy machine that uses a real hot platen- which wrinkles and destroys the paper. I am looking around for another copy shop with a slower copier.
I did buy my own black and white laser, and it works fine for black decals. With the price of color lasers dropping below $250 bucks, that looks attractive.
Some folks do get good inkjet printing. I have a Canon printer, and have yet to find a decal paper that works with it. My wife has an Epson- my next step is to try inkjet decal paper on HER printer- I'll let folks know the result.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
Okay, here are answers to the specific questions, and then some alternatives.
1. Does your printer have a seperate black cartridge, or make black from a combination of colors/
2. The decals MUST be overcoated after printing. Some recommend a special coating. I just use Testors clearcoats- gloss or matt clear depending on the decal use.
3. This is MY big problem. I have yet to find a brand of inkjet paper that works with my printer. I also get that reticulation.
What I have been doing is printing out the design on regular paper, then taking the printout and a sheet of laser print paper to a copy shop. Used to work great, but the shop has recently installed a higher speed copy machine that uses a real hot platen- which wrinkles and destroys the paper. I am looking around for another copy shop with a slower copier.
I did buy my own black and white laser, and it works fine for black decals. With the price of color lasers dropping below $250 bucks, that looks attractive.
Some folks do get good inkjet printing. I have a Canon printer, and have yet to find a decal paper that works with it. My wife has an Epson- my next step is to try inkjet decal paper on HER printer- I'll let folks know the result.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
I think what you're seeing might be dithering, the trick used by printers (both the devices and the people) to create different colours from a set of base inks. The trick is to not so much mix inks, as to print pixels of one colour intermixed with pixels of another to trick the eye into doing the mixing itself. Take a good look with a magnifying glass at any piece of glossy junkmail, and you'll what I mean.
Rob
Reply to
Rob van Riel
If you already have good artwork, I would advise you to have some Alps decals printed, the see their excellent quality for yourself. I have a page on how to prepare your artwork, and it has a list of custom printers:
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It's probably intimidating at first, but from experience I can tell it's worth it!
Rob
My models:
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Me 163B site:
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AQM-34 site:
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Reply to
Rob de Bie
Some of us see something other than the dithering. You do not even need a magnifying glass. You know how mud cracks when it dries? This is that sort of pattern- like the ink was shrinking slightly as it dries, and cracking. Remember the old "wrinkle" finish on military avionics and electronics? It is sort of like that.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
Rob, The thought just occurred to me that part of your problems with printing decals might be the format in which the artwork is saved or created in the first place. The artwork should be saved in a non-lossey format, such as .TIF or Bitmat instead of .jpg or JPEG. JPEG uses a compression technique that produces an image that can be sent over the internet without it being a huge file; for example the same image might be saved as 1 meg in TIF, but 450 Kb in jpg format. The computer dithers in the compressed bits to reconstitute the image...your eye can't tell and the resolution on your monitor can't tell either, but when you go to print the image, your printer can't make up the difference which is why the image may look grainy or "pixelated" when enlarged. The same condition may be present if you try to project the image in jpeg format when TIF or Bitmat wouled be appropriate. The drawback is that you have an enormous file rather than a smaller compressed file. Some photo editing programs will ask you about saving an image in a lossey type format, or do you want to compress the imaage for sending as an email attachment. I sent this to you instead of sending to the group as it's a long answer. So to cut to the chase, try printing in the highest resolution you can....set the printer to hightest resolution and save your artwork as a TIF image or Bitmap and or set your digital camera to create the highest resolution the camera is capable of generating. What you want is the most pixels or dots per inch you can cram into a given space. I hope this is helpful. Regards, Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Apple
I have the Microscale Liquid Decal Film, Micro Sol, and Micro Set. I can and will go get the Krylon if it will make a difference. I have tried two diff papers, one was probably a generic brand (unknown name), and I think the other most recent attempt was with Bare Metal brand. (I could be wrong about that) I have tried the paper by just printing with a not so great image. I then tried to coat the paper and then print, but this caused the "pixeling" effect. This is my third attempt at printing my own stuff and still having a hard time with it. The first batch (generic paper) had two or three sets of instructions and they all contradicted each other, so I could have done it all wrong.
Thanks for the reply.
Zack
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Reply to
Zack
I have a seperate black in well, and a color well.
I always apply the decals to a gloss surface. Does that determine the overcoat choice?
I understood that some print shops won't print on decal film because it will "gunk up" their printers. Have you had this problem?
Most of the decals I need are black or gray. Some color would be nice for nose art and sqaud logos. I'm that guy who hates to chase around looking, ordering, (oops those are no longer available), more looking, and finaly giving up. Especially when I have no trouble making the artwork and sizing it corectly. I do most of the art work in AutoCad. It gives me very crisp lines and it's easy to get the sizes exact.
I have always made sure I bought the inkjet paper not laser paper.
Thanks for the helpful reply
Zack
Reply to
Zack
My issue looks like a dot matrix printer only finer. It could be from mixing the colors but most of what I've tried was solid black lettering and Star and Bars.
Thanks
Zack
Reply to
Zack
I have been using AutoCad to make the artwork. Most of what I'm doing now is US AIR FORCE, star and bars, and general letters and numbers.
I will check out the page you listed.
Thanks
Zack
Reply to
Zack
You have your artwork as vector graphics, that is a very good starting point! Most people have bitmap graphics artwork, which (in my opinion) is much less suited for optimum quality.
Most custom printers use CorelDraw or Illustrator, I use the former. I just checked, and CorelDraw seems to be able to import AutoCad files. I could check it for you if you send me a sample file.
If you want to 'convert' to CorelDraw for your decals, look around to buy an old version cheap, you don't need the latest version at all. I think you can have versions 7, 8 or 9 or 10-20 dollars. Be sure to check compatibility with your operating system.
Rob
My models:
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Me 163B site:
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AQM-34 site:
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Reply to
Rob de Bie
I have Corel Draw 8 and Photo Paint 8, but I don't have the experience to use it efficiently. I think your correct, I've used Corel to change AutoCad .dwg's for posting of artwork. I started working with AutoCad in Drafting I my freshman year of high school and got really fast with it. Now, for me, it's just easier to use.
Zack
Reply to
Zack
I use both a CAD program (Autosketch) and a paint program (Paint Shop Pro).
CAD allows more accurate sizing, but not shading of colors. I use the paint program when I need fancier artwork that has shading of colors.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
It sounds to me like you're ready to go! CorelDraw takes some getting used to, but in your case you can do the design in AutoCad and prepare the printing in CorelDraw.
I am confident you will be happy with decals printed on an Alps. The only drawback is that you need to stick to 'spot color printing' for the best result, and it that mode your color palette is limited. I would try to find a custom printer that uses both CMYK and RGB cartridges, which gives you a reasonable palette. With these cartridges you can for example find decent matches for a full-color US stars & bars.
Rob My models:
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Me 163B site:
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AQM-34 site:
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Reply to
Rob de Bie
and Photo Paint 8, but I don't have the experience to
Well, programs like Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator and several others give you best of both. Vector based (accurate and scalable) drawings with full color shading capabilities. And you can also intermix bitmaps with vectors if you so desire.
Peteski
Reply to
Peter W.
Do you(or anyone else) think it is possible to get a camouflage pattern like this on a model ? If so how would you do it ?
see here :
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Reply to
veritas
quoted text -
It ~seems~ to be digitized, so I'd say, yes it could be duplicated. But as to how I'd do it? Not sure but definately very carefully. I do know some guys that made German lozenge camo onto decal sheets.
Reply to
The Old Man
Wow! as I started to respond to this I realized it was my original post from a long time ago. As far as the digital effect you should look at a product called "Duracoat". It's a finish used in the gun world to get custom camo and colors. This system has the stencils and patterns for applying a digital camo to guns to match the given theatre. I wouldn't use the Duracoat to actually paint the model but I've seen the guns painted in the digital pattern and it really looks factory.
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Reply to
Zack

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