Custom decal glitch

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Ralph, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I'm designing custom decals for a shortline that will interchange with my Penn Central themed layout. I used microscale paper sprayed with testor's dulcote as recommended to facilitate successful printing on my ink jet printer. The sheet came out beautifully. I understand that the dulcote will make the image run in water so the next step was to apply some Micro Liquid Decal film which I was informed by the instructions would seal the image and make it waterproof when it was time to apply it to the locomotive. I tested a little Liquid Decal Film on a small part of the sheet and the decal color immediately ran. I've looked at some other sources and see there are spray fixitives. I'm guessing that might be the better bet (?) Would any art supply fixiative work or do I need to tread back to the hobby shop and get a specifically for decals product?

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think you need to find out what sort of ink you have in the inkjet printer. If it is a water soluable ink, check to see if you can get a water proof ink. There may be fixatives that you can spray on the decals, but getting something water proof is probably the best bet.
  3. hobokid

    hobokid thebull

    i had the same problem, but then i got a job at a silk screening factory, and i found out i can use the decal sheets and print directly on gonna try to make up a new design for my rr, then its off to the printing shop:}
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Well, I went back to the hobby shop and expalined the problem. The guy said I should spray the printed decals with the dulcoat again. I'm dubious but decided to try it. I over sprayed the decal sheet last night. Nothing ran under the spray which is good. Tonight I'll test one by attempting to apply it to a scap loco body.
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Naw, that didn't work! The images didn't run under the second coating of dulcoat but they disappeared the moment I tried to dip them in water to apply them as decals. After that I went to Michaels craft store and bought a spray fixative that protects artwork. That seemed to do the trick. I successfully applied a number and a road logo to a loco. The paint scheme is orange and slate blue. The blue numbers look good on the diesel's orange cab but the orange logo looks washed out on the engine's blue body. I wish it printed more opaque. I might need to experiment with different colors and look into waterproof ink as Russ suggested....
  6. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    I have a large commercial copy machine in my office and I use that to print decals. I don't even need to spray fixative on them before dipping in water. Have you thought about going to Kinkos and having them printed on one of their color copiers? You could print the sheet in ultra high resolution on photo paper or glossy paper and then have them copy it to your decal film. Should only cost a buck or two.

    If my copier wasn't down right now, I'd offer to do it free of charge, but Kinko's should be able to help you out.
  7. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!


    Thanks for the kind offer! I think I may try Kinkos. The directions on the decal sheet mentioned using a copier as an option that would have fewer complications than an ink jet printer. I didn't want to try my work copier though in case it had a problem and the decal sheet melted in the machine or something!!!!! :)

  8. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Oh definitely. If I screwed my machine up, as a small business owner, It'd be catastrophic. However, the copier maintenance guy explained to me the kinds of media I can use and how to handle the specialty stuff, where to feed it (bypass tray), etc. Apparently, some media, due to the gloss, can ruin the diffuser and THAT to a copier is like blowing the engine in your car apparently. Kinko's staff, on the other hand, *should* be able to tell you beforehand if they can print it on the decal paper you have, chances are, likely yes, they can. Since I have a machine of my own, I have never used Kinko's for Decals, but I know people who have and they were very satisfied with the results.
  9. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    Since I have an Alps I have not tried it yet but Epson claims that their color is waterproofed and fade resistant.
    The new photo printers are really nice.
  10. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I really enjoyed my Epson printers, and the inks are everything they are claimed to be. But you must consider an Epson a throw-away printer. When - not if - the print head clogs (which it eventually did on all 4 Epsons I have owned, and numerous others have reported on various forums), replacing the print head far exceeds the cost of a new printer. One of my print heads failed within the warranty, so Epson replaced the printer for free. Leaving the print head sit idle for a couple of months of inactivity almost guarantees a clog.

    I have since switched to Canon printers because the ink is so much cheaper and the print heads are replaceable at reasonable cost. They work well and serve my purpose. But the inks are not as good or as durable as the Epsons.

    my thoughts, your choices

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