Some months ago I posted a message with a report of my tests to see if
the Epson "Durabrite" ink is really fade resistant as they say and to
see if it's good to print decals. This was a "winter test" so I did it
again now that there's a lot more sunlight.
I printed the same red artwork with a durabrite ink printer and with
my other "standard ink" printer (an Epson Stylus Photo) over both
their photopaper and decal paper. The decal paper is a micro-mark
solid white "laser" sheet. I didn't have the inkjet version at hand
and didn't want to buy it just for a test (as it would have been
useless if the test failed), so I just sprayed a clear flat before
printing the artwork: the standard ink "smeared" but the durabrite
print was almost as good as on the photopaper (of course an inkjet
paper should work better with both printers).
I also took the fin from a scrapped model, painted it with a red
enamel, applied the durabrite printed decal over it and clearcoated
with the old microscale/superscale clear gloss.
I then placed everything (the fin with the decal and the 2 photopaper
test sheets) inside a sealed plexiglass box and put it on the top of
my car box where it is always exposed to direct sunlight (this means
about 14-15 hours a day).
I also printed another set of "test sheets" and stored it away from
the sun to use it as a quick reference to judge fading.
After one week of "exposure" the standard ink already showed signs of
fading and after 2 weeks it is clearly faded. The durabrite ink
instead seems to resist very well. Seems the artwork printed on the
photopaper is slightly different (maybe because also the paper is
reacting to the light or because it is not clearcoated), while instead
the decal is still as bright as the red enamel on which it is placed.
I'll keep testing for still another 2 weeks before opening the box and
compare the test sheets with the other prints I kept away from the
sun, however it seems the durabrite ink is really nice to print
decals. The only "problem" is that, as the printers don't print white,
you have to print on solid white sheets and then trim (unless you are
printing really dark colour or you have to place them over white or
really light grey painted models).
P.S. I don't have any connection with Epson (apart from the fact that
I bought their printers), however in case someone at Epson wished to
thank me for my tests, a lifetime ink supply would be much appreciated
17 years ago