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Printer and Decal Sheet Recommendations

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  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Lexington, KY.
Printer and Decal Sheet Recommendations
Posted by Got Plastic? on Friday, August 11, 2017 11:26 AM

Hello everyone - 

I am in the market to purchase a printer and decal sheets for future builds. Also, if there is a software program that works well could you please educate me on that. Thank you for your time and recommendations.

Chris

 

On The Bench: Coming Soon Big Smile

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Friday, August 11, 2017 2:20 PM

I have printed many decals over the years on different printers.  The printer does not matter.  Any inexpensive ink jet or color laser will work. For creating the artwork I have used several different programs.  I work in windows and have used MS paint, Word, Publisher and other simple to use drawing and document programs, even Google docs.  

What ever software you feel comfortable with to create the artwork will work.  I even scan in decal sheets and cut and paste decals out of those scans using photo editing software to print out.  I also use google images to find artwork.  

There are plenty of free fonts out there to create any wording you need in the right font as well.

Most inexpensive printers can not print white so you will have to use white decal paper as the base for white.  ink is translucent so printing on clear decal sheets will not show up once you seperate the decal from the backing paper unless the base color of your model it white.  

If you need to print white lettering, that requires a little creativity.  When creating the artwork, you need to have the white lettering inside a box with the box fill color as close as possible to the paint color you plan to place the decal on.

Once you place the decal on the model then you go back with a brush and blend the paint into the color that was printed in the box.  Once you weather and seal everything in it is very difficult to see to almost impossible to see where you had to blend the colors.

If you are itching to spend money, you can consider buying a vinyl cutting machine.  They run from 100-200.  I have a Silhouette cameo 3.  It comes with the software and now I can create masks with computer precision to paint on the majority of markings.

I use tamiya masking sheets for the cutter to cut masks.

The software that comes with the Cameo also allows me to print the artwork to my inkjet if the artwork is too small for the cutter.  I then print to decal paper.

If you are familiar with cad software you can also create masks for your canopy and other non flat surfaces.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Friday, August 11, 2017 7:19 PM

Hi,

I started looking into custom decals for a What-If model that I'm building, that requires some "white" areas.  So far I've found a few places that look like they might be able to do something.  Here are a couple sites that I have come acrosss, but I haven't ordered anything from anyone yet, so I can't tell you anything about quality or service or anything like that.

http://www.circusdecals.com/services.html

https://www.facebook.com/CustomWaterslideDecals/

http://www.diecastanddecals.com/

In general, at least one of them shows a nominal price of about $40 per 8.5 x 11 sheet, so with a minimum order of only 1 sheet.  So using a service like this may not necessarily be cheap, but also its not necessarily overly expensive either, especially if you maximize what you put on the single sheet (such as maybe filling otherwise unused space with generic symbols and stuff that you may be able to use on multiple other models).

Hope that helps.

Pat

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Friday, August 11, 2017 10:51 PM

PFJN

In general, at least one of them shows a nominal price of about $40 per 8.5 x 11 sheet, so with a minimum order of only 1 sheet.  So using a service like this may not necessarily be cheap, but also its not necessarily overly expensive either.

 

 

Provided that my printer is filled with ink, that same $40 will buy me four packages of decal paper and a can of sealer, which yields (80) 8x10 sheets of decals at the end of production. Granted, I have to do all of the work and it's not die-cut, but I just saved $39.50 on a single sheet over commissioning someone else to do it for me.

Software such as Word and Power Point can support design and printing very easily. MS Paint can also be used. These are normally already pre-installed on Windows platforms and they are simple to use. Photoshop is a great tool, as well as free, open source software like Gimp. Use what you're comfortable with and experiment around to see if it is something you like to do before investing any cash into software tailored to graphic designers. 

Colors like white have their in's and out's, but it's all part of the learning curve in picking up a new skill set on the cheap. Lots of tutorials are out there on the web to help get you started.

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Lexington, KY.
Posted by Got Plastic? on Saturday, August 12, 2017 6:19 PM

Gentlemen - 

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my request. I will take the information all of you have provided and get set up. Thank you again for providing me with this.

 

Chris

Chris

 

On The Bench: Coming Soon Big Smile

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Monday, August 14, 2017 7:46 PM

KnightTemplar5150

Provided that my printer is filled with ink, ...

Hi,

I inadvertantly posted my response in the wrong thread here.  My response was meant to be to a thread by bsowles in the General Modelling Discussion Forum where he had specifically asked about any sites that would specifically be able to print custon decals and someone indicated that the only ones that they were familiar with had a mutli-hundred sheet minimum order.

With respect to decals in general though, I suspect that the right solution will vary for each perosn based on their specific situation. 

I agree that if you have an inkjet and full ink cartridges and are already experienced in making decals, using $40 for your own supplies, rather than paying someone else for a single sheet makes alot of sense.

In my case, I had specifically started looking for online sites that might be able to print decals for me because I haven't used my inkjet printer in so long that I'd probably either have to try and clean the prniter head and then buy new ink cartridges as well as decal paper, and decal bonder etc., plus go through some trail and error in learning how best to print the decals.

Just doing a quick look on the internet, in such as case suggests a cost of about 15-20$ for the ink cartridges, 10$ for the paper and another 4-5$ for decal bonder.  And in addition.  And added to this, part of what I want to do would best be handled if I clould make part of the decals white.  As such, for me paying $40 for someone to print me some decals as opposed to spending a similar amount of money trying to do them myself (if it is even possible - due to the color issues etc) doesn't seem like a bad option.

For anyone else in a similar situation, or perhaps for someone who doesn't have an inkjet printer to start with, $40 for a one off print job, especially if you could maximize what you put on that single sheet, may not be a bad option either.

As I noted in my initial post, $40 isn't cheap, but it is also not necessarily a prohibitively expensive option either.

Pat

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Monday, August 14, 2017 11:29 PM

While you were making a reply to another thread, my response was intended for the OP, who has expressed an interest in learning a new skill. I trust you understand that the misunderstanding lies in an attempt to be somewhat supportive of the OP's request.

 I concur that everyone's situation is different, but the point remains for the OP that learning to do this isn't expensive. In my situation, where I have a printer in the house that is properly cleaned and maintained, the low cost per sheet allows for being human and making mistakes. Like any other skill, it takes practice. In my specific case, even if I burn through 79 of the 80 sheets and only one comes out usable, I learned and improved. Still got my single sheet of decals packed to the edges with every color of the rainbow for the investment of $40, but I gained assets that managerial accountants define as "intangibles" -  new skills, knowledge, and experience that improve my abilities.

After the ledgers are balanced, I still come out ahead with a lot more value than just a single sheet of decals.

I'm hopeful it'll work out for the OP this way as well.

 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 2:43 PM

Hi,

I think I understand and sgree with you completely.  For the OP here, he was interested in learning more about doing decals himself and for $40 there is a lot you can do.  

My post was meant for a completely different thread where that OP was asking for places that could do decals for you, and my response about $40 not being cheap, but also not being outrageous was based on comparing that cost to either needing to buy supplies that you may not have and/or other sites where a minimum order may be on the orde rof hindreds of sheets.

Pat

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, August 17, 2017 9:31 AM

I get my decal paper from MicroMark, and use it in an Epson printer.  I seal the ink with various things- Testors clearcoats, or sometimes Micro Scale decal film.

For software, I use Corel's Paint Shop Pro, which varies in price due to frequent sales, but is usually somewhere around 80 bucks.  Adobe's Photoshop Elements, a simplified Photoshop, sells for about the same price and is fine for decal making.  There is a very good shareware program called GIMP, but help files are not that great so it is a bit hard to learn to use, even though there is a book out on using it.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Lexington, KY.
Posted by Got Plastic? on Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:59 PM

Don - 

Thank you sir. I forgot about MicroMark.

Chris

 

On The Bench: Coming Soon Big Smile

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