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 So I wanted to make white decals...
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TC
Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/23/2017 :  9:15:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I wanted to make my own custom white decals. After some research, I found and purchased an Alps dye-sub printer. That's a start, I guess.

Anyone familiar with the graphic design process for creating and properly sizing custom decal art (in white or any other color for that matter)? What computer programs are used, etc., tips & tricks...

Any advice or instructives would be welcome.

Country: USA | Posts: 181

BurleyJim
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/23/2017 :  9:51:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop are two pieces of software that do just about anything you would want to do. I know Bill Gill has done some fantastic work here with shareware programs like GIMP. Here's a link to get you pointed in the right direction.

https://techreviewpro.com/best-free-graphic-design-software-create-stunning-graphics-4976/

Jim



Edited by - BurleyJim on 06/24/2017 12:10:01 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 2262 Go to Top of Page

k9wrangler
Fireman



Posted - 06/23/2017 :  11:39:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Corel Draw is what I've used for decal masters. Never done my own, use Highball Graphics to print mine he uses Kodak printing system.

Did you find a source for supplies for the Alps? I heard they were extremely hard to get.


BE SAFE!!
Karl Scribner
Kentucky Southern Railway

Country: USA | Posts: 8610 Go to Top of Page

ed k
Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/23/2017 :  11:56:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great information as always.
ed



Country: USA | Posts: 256 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill
Fireman



Posted - 06/24/2017 :  07:52:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
TC, I've read threads where decals have been 'designed' with Microsoft Word, Paint, Excel and similar programs that come installed on many computers. I have found programs like those to be very limited, but they can do basic sheets of decals, and they might be a way to start out if you have never tried anything like this.

Programs like PhotoShop (expensive) and GIMP (free) are many many times more versatile, though both take awhile to learn and can be frustrating while trying to get comfortable with if you don't practice /use them a lot. Also both of those create artwork by using pixels. That makes resizing any lettering and artwork to fit different rolling stock more complicated to prevent getting jagged edges and dots of different colors if you use any colors other than plain white, black, yellow, magenta or cyan on the decal lettering and artwork. (There are ways to create custom colors with an ALPS printer that won't look "spotty" in close up photos).

Programs like Corel Draw (expensive) and Inkscape (free) are also very versatile, and again take time to learn. But both are programs that use vectors instead of little square pixels, and that means anything you design once can very easily be resized to any size you want, bigger or smaller, and the edges will be smooth.

I'm currently designing a sheet of white decals (just lettering, no heralds, logos, etc.) for my freelanced C&V RR and I'm using Inkscape because the place I will get them printed wants vector files. Also, I can design the lettering for one location and then resize or even reshape it to fit anyplace else.



Edited by - Bill Gill on 06/24/2017 11:06:31 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 1686 Go to Top of Page

sgtbob
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/24/2017 :  08:26:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit sgtbob's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I had an ALPS printer for many years, in fact at one point I had three of them at the same time.
I agree that they are the best (at a reasonable price) for most model railroaders for white
printing. However, when my last one died a couple of years ago, I think, I decided it was
not worth the cost for as little as I used it. I reluctantly sold it and all my supplies. I have
found that in most (but not all) cases there is a workaround using my brain and white decal
paper.

BY the way, I use what is most likely a kids desktop publishing program that is easy to learn
and does wonders and can usually be found for about 10 bucks on line. It is called PRINT MASTER.

I wish you lots of success with your new printer.

Bob


http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=30102&whichpage=1
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=38921
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=45371
http://www.freewebs.com/santmod/

Country: USA | Posts: 3040 Go to Top of Page

desertdrover
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 06/24/2017 :  09:53:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
TC Here are a couple of threads I did on decals. I got a Testors Sure Thing Decal Maker program see here; http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=23297 However it was pretty basic program. I wanted more.
Since that post, I have Adobe Photoshop for most of my use, and dabbled with Adobe Illustrator as well in the past.
Here is a thread on the Alps printer; http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=21441



Louis
Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast

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deemery
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/24/2017 :  11:22:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You want to prepare your artwork at the highest precision ("dots per inch"), and let the printer reduce the resolution as necessary.

There are two new systems for printing white on decal paper. One is a new Okidata printer, and the other is "Ghost printer" cartridges from a company in Germany. I've seen the results from "Ghost printer", and the white is quite acceptable. It's not quite as dense as you got from ALPS or from silk-screen printing, but the lettering looks quite good because it has a slightly faded/weathered appearance on models.

dave


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

Country: USA | Posts: 6359 Go to Top of Page

sgtbob
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/24/2017 :  11:51:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit sgtbob's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dave, If memory serves me right (and I am 82 years old ) the one is real expensive
and the Ghost system would be OK but the white toner cartridge is around $100.00 plus very costly shipping and they only
make them for a few selective laser printers, unfortunately mine is not included.

Bob


http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=30102&whichpage=1
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=38921
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=45371
http://www.freewebs.com/santmod/

Edited by - sgtbob on 06/24/2017 12:45:20 PM

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deemery
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/24/2017 :  12:14:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Until recently, we had zero alternatives to ALPS, so this does represent progress! At least the prices are down from the $10,000+ for the Epson printer that Don Tichy has.

If I was in the market, I'd check eBay and more importantly used office furniture/IT auctions for a used model of the appropriate HP printer. A friend has been buying used HP office (vs home) printers for years with generally good luck. And he gets them so cheaply, that if one breaks, it's no big deal.

dave


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

Country: USA | Posts: 6359 Go to Top of Page

Chester
Fireman



Posted - 06/25/2017 :  1:15:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I see many software programs listed here for making the artwork for decals. The one and only thing to remember is to use a vector based program to prevent pixelization when reducing.

http://modelingin1-87.blogspot.com/

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Shady Pine
New Hire



Posted - 06/26/2017 :  12:51:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BurleyJim

Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop are two pieces of software that do just about anything you would want to do. I know Bill Gill has done some fantastic work here with shareware programs like GIMP. Here's a link to get you pointed in the right direction.

https://techreviewpro.com/best-free-graphic-design-software-create-stunning-graphics-4976/

Jim

Jim,
I'm not sure but there is a new outfit that's making and selling the ALPs stuff tho it's been about a year since I bought from them.
In my experience, the CorelDraw stuff is a bit better as it natively handles the files as vectors, whereas PShop will try to treat it as a bunch of pixels. This is bad.

Also, I have a friend who showed me a hell of a tip on getting the Photoshop and Corel to print even sharper and tinier than normal on ALPS and even basic color printers.
(There's a long, quite funny story behind who he is and how the Secret Service made shutting his, uhh.. "printing operation" down wherein he got caught for making fake $50s on a cheap color printer, complete with fake "bands", prismatic ink, and they even passed the counterfeit pen test I'm told.. he really went to town and caused a panic at the Treasury when they got a load of his work. He traded some technical tips in return for ending up with probation.. but that's probably for the Lounge forum.. heh!)

He would prepare the art as normal, shrink it only PARTIALLY down in-software and then use the printer's function panel to make the stuff even tinier. He showed me the trick and it's true it will force even a "basic" printer to perform much much better than trying to print a tiny letter at "100%". Using both scaling methods you can make incredibly small print on even the most generic printers, although there is more of a lower limit on the ALPS I've found, due to the method used to actually apply the foil and color media from ribbon to the printed surface. I'd definitely suggest sticking with the software that uses the vector .eps .cdl files natively over bitmaps or pixels.




Edited by - Shady Pine on 06/26/2017 01:04:07 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 29 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill
Fireman



Posted - 06/26/2017 :  06:33:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello Shady Pine, Welcome to the Forum. Your short description above about using a printer's function panel for shrinking artwork even more than with the graphic software that created it sounds very interesting and timely as the club I am in is looking at ways to print our own decals. Can you share more specifics of what to do?


Country: USA | Posts: 1686 Go to Top of Page

BurleyJim
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/26/2017 :  08:49:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
At last years National Convention in Indy a gentleman from Washington State ( I can't remember his name), printed 'white' decals on an inkjet printer and on a color laser printer too. It was pretty darn slick. He used white decal paper, did his artwork, and then printed a negative. Basically using the software to color everything else except what he wanted to leave white. Any minor color mismatch was negligible with a touch of weathering. The results were fantastic.

He used, and I do too. http://www.bare-metal.com/Experts-Choice-Decal-Film.html

Really nice stuff to work with.

Jim



Edited by - BurleyJim on 06/26/2017 10:37:46 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 2262 Go to Top of Page

Jeff G
Engine Wiper



Posted - 06/26/2017 :  11:07:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think a company called Papilo (Papilio?)sp sells white decal paper for both inkjet and laser printers. That said, what about using off-white to cream color instead of white to get around the problem of white"knocking out" clear when printed on regular paper? Just a thought.


Country: USA | Posts: 296 Go to Top of Page

BurleyJim
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/26/2017 :  3:09:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jeff,

The problem might be that, there is no white ink in a regular inkjet or laser printer. They both want to deposit color to white paper. Your computer screen displays RGB (red, green, blue), in various combos to produce white on the screen. A printer lays down CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) to produce the desired color on white paper. The only "white ink" is currently available on that high $$$$ Okidata printer.

Jim



Country: USA | Posts: 2262 Go to Top of Page
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