printing decals-question

Hi Troops:

There have been a lot of comments on this website over the years about using an Alps printer for making your own decals. Since Alps is no longer available in the U.S. and it's technology is now held by a Japanese firm who aren't doing much with it, I'm wondering about an alternative. My printer is giving me more and more trouble so I'm looking at a replacement and am wondering if a color laser is the way to go, sort of a Christmas present for myself. The technology has been quite expensive, but like most the cost is coming down. I'm seeing HP units in the $500 range. I might try going with one as a replacement. Anybody out there have any experience or comments??

Bill Shuey

Reply to
William H. Shuey
Loading thread data ...

Not tried it for decals but I bought an HP 2550n recently and have been very pleased. Its photo printing comes out with strong colours so you have to tone them down a bit but you will always get a matt picture, even if you print on gloss paper. I use mine for photos I sell which are mostly under glass so this is not an issue for me. The output is quick - about 14 secs. for a full A4 colour page and it does about 16 pages a minute B&W. However, the toner is expensive. Expect (in the UK) to pay upwards of £200 for a complete set of toners ($350)

The problem is that you use it more because it is quick and efficient so the costs could mount up. BTW, this one holds 350 sheets and has a manual double sided feature which works really well. However, Samsung and Xerox have announced competing printers at a similar price that have internal double sided so check the market out. Alkso, expect to be upset when a better spec with lower price comes out the next week, but that's life in the PC lane :-)

Hope this helps.


Reply to
David Pennington

You still can't print white using laser printer, right? And most color decals need a white background...

And I'm not sure if you can print silver and gold.

I've seen some thermal transfer kits for metallic colors which can be used to get metallic laser printouts on paper, but I'm not sure it they would work on decals.

If you don't need any of the above, then you might do fine with a color laser printer.

Alps printers aren't being sold new, but they are still being manufactured for exchanges (the DP-5000).

I've also heard possible rumors that Alps is trying to work out a deal with some printer manufacturer to start producing the MicroDry based printers again (not under Alps name). Nothing concrete though...

I think (and hope ) that Alps consumables are here to stay for several more years.


Reply to
Peter W.

The thing that I don't like of color laser printers (and color copiers) is that usually they don't print at more than 600dpi (unless very high-cost ones) and sometimes it's not enough (the dither effect is visible unless you print only primary colors and lines and curves sometimes are not that smooth)

I recently bought instead an Epson inkjet with the new durabrite inks and did a test to see how much fade resistant the ink is. After one month of sun-exposure the ink still seems new, but I'll keep testing for more time before printing decals to really use on a kit.

But of course both technologies don't print white or metallic colors...

Another (cheaper) option would be to print the decal in a copy center (either from file or original artwork), but you must test before if they have a good enough laser printer/copier and if they accept to use your decal paper.

My 0.02

Reply to

I have a cheap laser printer, a Brother 1440 black and white printer, and a Canon inkjet printer. I use both for making decals, and it is a different procedure for each.

If I need a black-only decal I use the laser printer. This is easy- I just print directly on the decal. I still need to overcoat it. I use either Testors Glosscoat or Dullcoat, depending on whether I need a matt or gloss finish.

The color decals are a bit more work. I print out the original on regular paper. I take a sheet of decal paper and the printout to a local copy shop. They copy the design from my printout onto the decal paper. Costs about 90c. I then clearcoat it and use it.

I have both clear and white decal paper. If I don't need white in the decal I use the clear paper. If I need white, I use the white paper and it is a bit harder. If the design is simple, I then have to carefully cut it out with a no.11 blade. If the design is intricate, I surround the white area with a color as close as I can match on my computer to the model background. I now do not need to cut precisely on the line, but can cut a bit wide and it doesn't show. How well this works depends a bit on the background color. White on black works fine, as the black from my printer matches black paint pretty well.


Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minneapolis

true, but you take a piece of plastic, and paint it the color of the kit you are working on. then use photoshop to select this color for the back ground, and print the white letters on the back ground.

BCNU jack

formatting link

Reply to

True, if you can prefectly match that color and the printer can print it without visible half-tone dither, then you're all set...

Otherwise, Alps is the way to go.


Reply to
Peter W.

The match does not need to be perfect. The idea is not to leave a broad border, but merely makes it so that the trimming does not need to be perfect. Any LARGE areas can be cut away with a No.11 blade. The color will only be on very thin edges that you cannot trim exactly.

Yeah, it is a bit of tedious work on a complicated decal, but anything worthwhile should take some effort. (Peter W.) wrote

Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minneapolis

The Dutch OKI site no longer liss them. I think we got some of the last ones.


Reply to
Rob van Riel

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.