I am going to be experimenting with doing it the other way around.
For the 4-4-0s on my CVR line, I will try painting a small areas white,
where the decals would go, then print the decals in reverse printing, black
background and white letters. The letters would be the areas NOT covered in
ink. then apply the decals and paint/weather the tender.
Have a look at the prototype photos on my website to see the originl
Not sure about the rest of the rolling stock, how I will handle it.
Maybe the same way using colours similar to the kit color. Then paint over
the decal to blend it in.
OK, so why doesn't some bright boy come up with a white ink that takes the
place of black? Then you set your word processor to do black type on white bg
as normal, but it comes out white on clear decal paper. This could get hairy
using it with colors mixed in...
CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
I, too, have used the reverse method by painting the background white and
putting a clear decal over it.
I've also experimented with using yellow and the desaturating the color to get
something close to white, but I've not gotten it to work well.
Dave, this doesn't answer your question, but I felt compeled to say this anyway.
I quit making my own decals after several years of successfully creating quite a
custom decals and actually applying them to cars.
I decided it just wasn't worth the trouble and expense to do that, especially
the most needed color- white- is the hardest one to do.
Anymore I do all my own artwork and have a silkscreen made or send it to a decal
maker like Rail Graphics and get them to do the job.
Yeah, it costs a little, but you get such better quality and quantity that I have
decided that it is worth the price. Alps printers are no longer available in
America, and even if you find one (used) you can't get supplies and service
jumping through a myrad of "burning hoops". Of course, you have to make your own
decisions, but it probably isn't worth the trouble. Get yourself a CorelDraw
do your own artwork and get Ron Roberts at Rail Graphics to print them for you.
Graphics does all the decals for my local operating group and we are pleased to
with the quality of their work.
Making your own decals, especially white ones, is a major PITA.
On 1/31/04 5:50 PM, in article email@example.com,
I HAVE and ALPS, and it is NOT a PITA. You print to it like you would any
other printer, but just load blank decal paper in the paper tray. There are
no "burning hoops" that I am aware of, as ALPS still makes the ribbons (and
has to by law) for several years yet. Even then, ALPS still makes the
printer for Oki and others, but just overseas, so those are available gray
market. Check the ALPS list on Yahoo for more info.
BTW, one of my local friends is an OKI rep, and I forward almost every
letter like this to him in the hopes OKI will listen to him that there IS a
demand for this printer in the states.
On Sat, 31 Jan 2004 23:50:06 GMT, Froggy @ The Pond.com purred:
While ALPS is no longer sold in the US I disagree about having
problems getting support or supplies. ALPS support has been wonderful.
They supplied me with drivers for machines no longer made, pointed me
to suppliers for materials and supplies and have been far more helpful
than any US sold printer maker. I wish they were more easily available
in the US (you CAN get new ones and supplies from European Dealers) I
would not hesitate to get another one.
Let me just add a few notes about ALPS printers.
I have one that I bought on ebay for only $97. It works like a charm. But
I found out later that I got extremely lucky.
ALPS printers work by passing a wax-coated ribbon over a print head that
prints by heat. A very common problem with the printers is that some of the
heat elements in the head burn out, which results in "banding" in the
printing. There's absolutly no remedy for this except complete replacement
of the printer.
ALPS has a "repair" program whereby you send in your broken printer and
[something like] $250, and they'll send you back a refurbished printer.
It's a different model (an MD-5000) than what you sent in but it will indeed
I mention all this because of the "banding" issue. Very, very often people
will sell ALPS printers on ebay and not mention this problem. Then some
unsuspecting modeler will receive it and find out later it has this problem.
All that being said, yes, ALPS ribbons are indeed still available, and
relatively easy to get from a variety of sources. I've read that some folks
have compatability problems with the ALPS printer driver and Windows XP;
others experience no problems.
Also, there is an Austrailian gentleman on one of the Yahoo "ALPS" groups
who still has a supply of brand new ALPS printers that he's selling. I
forget the price.
As far as I understand it, the ALPS models which will print white are the
MD-1000, MD-1300, and MD-5000. The MD-2300 will print white, but only if
you swap labels on the ribbons to fool the printer into thinking it's
printing some other color.
Hope that helps anyone thinking of buying one.
Thats great. I'm glad to hear that you like them so much.
I used one for a while (1999 - 2001) but was never happy with the results I got
it. The colors were not opaque and they were not solid. the colorization was by
mixed-dot process like in the comic papers. When you got close you could see the
dots. One pass would not do the job abd it took forever to run as many as ten
to get the density or opacity I wanted. You just had to guess when you had it
because once you took the sheet out of the machine your registration was lost.
was not possible to get it back in for another pass and so you had to start all
again. In general I was very not pleased with the overall performance of the
machine. It is actually more expensive than sending artwork to a decal maker.
I have gone back to silkscreening. With silkscreen you don't have to guess when
have enough layers laid down because one is all you ever need.
I would not buy an Alps for half the price, nor would I recommend it to anyone
So you have had success getting fine enough screen to handle
freight car data as well as heralds? Any tips on screen
brands/types, and your favorite tricks for assuring alignment,
how you handle outside braced boxcards and hoppers, etc??
Sounds like it would make an excellent ilustrated article in a
model magazine or a regional NMRA pub or such.
You will need a minimum of a 360 mesh preferbaly up to 480 for data, and I like
using a vinyl ink, it has a slower flash off and you have a bit more latitude
in the retarder.
To print multi-color heralds you need a screen for each color, and you should
print lightly off contact.
When we print decals for a diecast car company (
http://www.shrockbrothers.com/new_releases.html ) we use our ALPS, only trick
with the ALPS, after burning out 7 units, all replaced free, was that you
cannot run it more than 20 min, then a shut down for a min of 30/45 min to cool
We lay down two coats of white, and print our colors using CMYK formulas,
rather than spot color, the reds are red'er as are the yellows.
David - As a very pleased ALPS printer owner, I would offer the same advice as
someone here already has. If you want to simply make sets of reporting marks,
heralds, and slogans for your private RR, go through a decal making service.
The cost of a lifetime's supply of such decals will be less than the cost of
the ALPS printer and they will probably look better. You don't really need an
ALPS machine unless you are making a lot of one-offs. I've used mine mainly to
replicate lettering for specific cars that will never be done commercially,
that I need only in ones and twos, and to create large wall signs for
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