Printing your own decals


I know this topic pops up regularly, but I would like to have an idea of where we stand right now with printing technology. In other words : is it already feasible to use a color laser printer to print decals on plain decal paper ? Which brand and model of printer would you recommend ? I'm fully aware of OKI and Alps being able to print white and gold, but that's out of my league (not price-wise, but computerwise : I have been follwing the Alps discussion group for a while, and gave up on the idea that I would ever have an Alps printer working. And there's the servicing problem, when you live in Europe...). Is it really that difficult to use an ALps ?

thanks for your input.


ps : I use special decal paper for inkjets right now, that's why I want to switch to another solution...

Reply to
pierre francois
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Hi Pierre, I have used TangoPapa decal paper in a Minolta QMS Magicolor 2300DL, most times without a problem but it does happen that the paper gets stuck in the printer for some reason once in a while. I would not try the decal paper made for inkjets as they are in all probability incompatible and may damage the printer.

As for the ALPS - no, it is not that difficult to use except that you need to know a drawing program (like CorelDraw) reasonably well to be able to create different layers for silver, white, etc. Also, it is a bit limited in the number of colors you can print without a rather nasty raster pattern showing.

So far my ALPS has worked fine, but I have not had that great a volume... OKI does have representatives in Europe and should probably be your preference over ALPS (if you can get hold of one at a decent price, that is).

Sten Sundelin Flying Colors Aerodecals

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rather nasty raster pattern

This is true for the ALPS 1000 and 1300. The 5000 doesn't have this problem in one of its printing modes. Some people aren't bothered by the obvious (to me) dither pattern that the 1000 and 1300 produce, but I think it's awful. I only use the Alps to print black, white and metallic decals now (since they won't suffer from the dithering effect).

Another problem with the ALPS printers is color matching. Even with CMYK matching, it can be very, very difficult to get an exact color shade in a decal.


Reply to
Frank Henriquez


I'm also following the Alps groups and I have also concluded that I wouldn't be using an ALPS printer myself.

I print decals onto Expert-Choice clear laser decal paper (A bit expensive) with an HP C LaserJet 4550 (At the office we have also a Kyocera Mita FS-8000C KX printer but because this printer doesn't print as good as the HP I haven't tried it on this printer.)

The first decal used simply disintegrated because I didn't seal it. I now use Superscale Liquid Decal film (simply brush it on with an old brush). The decals go on well over Superscale Sol. I did use also Superscale Set but the decals simply curled up and didn't stay on the model (I simply put a new coat of Superscale Liquid Decal over the decal and the decal stayed on the model).

The decals have good colour density over silver paint (and off course white paint). I have a set of red decals waiting to go over black painted model just to see if the colour density stays good (or if I need two sets of a decal for good colour density).

I will try the BelDecal clear decal sheet next (it's cheaper but you need to order more sheets in one go).

And off course you can't print white in this way. There are still a lot of decals that I can't make because of the amount of white (lettering) you need.



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a rather nasty raster pattern

Reply to
pierre francois

I used some decal paper from micro mark and my inkjet printer. The decals were thin, but a bit transparent. If I was applying them on a smooth surface, I would have superimposed two decals. I was putting them on a corrugated surface, so I didn't think I'd get them to align. Kim M

Operation American Freedom Where is our regime change?

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Hi, I use a Minolta 2300DL Color laser with good results on 'regular' decal paper. You can only use dark colors (unless the model is white), though. Same limitation goes for inkjet, which has two more disadvantages:

1) You need a special decal paper to get good results. This is a bit more expensive 2) Decals will probably fade over time. While there are 'archival' quality inks, they usually require special (non-decal) paper to guarantee lifetime. On the plus side, some inkjets have excellent resolution (dpi = dots per inch)

I would suggest making a good color print on inkjet paper and take that along with a sheet of decal paper to a local copy shop. Ask them to copy there. Some may refuse for fear of the decal paper damaging the copier, but then try the next shop. Remember to your new decals with MicroScale Liquid Decal Film as soon as you can.

As far as using the ALPS 5000 in dye-sub mode (no raster) for producing decals, I have not succeeded in actually printing anything usable - you really need a special (non-decal) paper for it to work. Those pictures come out great, though...

Finally, color matching is always an issue with anything but silk-screened decals (and sometimes even then).


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