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Decal Printing


JayW

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My old HP color inkjet printer needs replacing.  I have used it to make DIY decals for aircraft models, with varying results.  My biggest issue is color bleeding even though I use clear Testors decal sealer.  Any recommendations on a cost effective color printer?  BTW I see that color laser printers can be had at reasonable cost these days.  

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I recently had some custom decals printed, there's a thread somewhere about it. I should get them this week, I think it was $20-30 for a sheet.  Pretty cheap considering my build rate. 

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Ink jet inks are water soluble and although you "can" use them with a special base material, they're really not your best choice.

 

Laser printers use a dry toner that fuses to the base material and although they are not water soluble they too have serious limitations such as not fusing well to clear or white decal film, duplicate ghost imprints and unless coated with a clear film they can break up when applying them.

 

Neither ink jet or laser printers can print white.

The optimal solution is UV printers. They print white and the resolution is very good but the surface is not smooth, barely visible but you can definitely see it. The downside is the cost, they are obscenely expensive and only practical for commercial printing firms. The good news is that with proper file setup and simple instructions to your printer you can buy this service at a reasonable cost.

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8 hours ago, Woody V said:

Or you can make decals with masks... if you have a cutter.
INSTRUCTIONS HERE

 Yes Woody - you have showed me this before.  The Tamiya AS and TS sprays - are they lacquer enough for this application?  I am told they are some kind of pseudo-lacquer.  

 

15 hours ago, blackbetty said:

i never had any problem with fusing to clear or white (hp printer)

 

Ah!  Here is some input I am interested in.  I hear laser printers as a rule do not have as fine picture quality as ink jets (dpi limitations).  Do you find this to be the case?  I am almost ready to plunk down some coin for a laser printer perhaps an HP.  Which one do you have?

Edited by JayW
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43 minutes ago, JayW said:

 Yes Woody - you have showed me this before.  The Tamiya AS and TS sprays - are they lacquer enough for this application?  I am told they are some kind of pseudo-lacquer.  

 

 

Ah!  Here is some input I am interested in.  I hear laser printers as a rule do not have as fine picture quality as ink jets (dpi limitations).  Do you find this to be the case?  I am almost ready to plunk down some coin for a laser printer perhaps an HP.  Which one do you have?


depends on the printer. Our Canon at work does 1200dpi which makes great decals. 

172194AA-6C6B-4267-B2F5-12550AB6DC65-600

 

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8 hours ago, JayW said:

Yes Woody - you have showed me this before.  The Tamiya AS and TS sprays - are they lacquer enough for this application?  I am told they are some kind of pseudo-lacquer. 

 

Not familiar with Tamiya paints but generally speaking, nothing water based. Decal chemistry is lacquer and all setting solutions are formulated to work with lacquer. As always, do a test whenever trying something new.

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On 5/3/2023 at 6:07 AM, blackbetty said:

I never had any problem with fusing to clear or white (hp printer)

 

Yea, I forgot I had problems with my HP too until I adjusted the setup from plain paper to card stock. 

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I had some custom decals printed by Josh at Bedlam Creations, I found them on a thread here as a recommendation.

 

A friend 3d printed a tank for a Viet Nam veteran, and sent some photos.  I am not sure the scale, maybe 1/48 or so, and I could not find a way to print the distinctive Ace of Spades for the turret.

 

I did find a decal sheet online and was able to copy an image that was 90% of what I wanted, then I emailed it to Josh with what size I need.  Calipers said .4 inch high.  

 

This is the result.

vNDZf0.jpg

 

3MMTHo.jpg

Tough to get in focus for some reason.  

Edited by Citadelgrad
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Most reasonably priced color laser printers have 600 x 600 dpi resolution.  Similarly priced ink jet printers usually have more (1200 sometimes).  I guess my main concern is decals with small print ("no push", "tab access here", "hoist point" etc).  Is 600 x 600 enough?

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