Custom Decals

JimmyB

JimmyB

Phase 1 complete, roll on Phase 2
23 Feb 2018
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341
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Weston-super-Mare
I know a few of you have your custom railways, and as such require custom decals for your stock. I have water slide print paper, and it is okay, but using an ink jet requires sealing first, and when you cut the decals out the edges are "blunt" i.e. abrupt and do not blend like bought decals.
I searched the net and came up with a seller that would produce decals and but at £71.00 a sheet thought a little on the expensive side, but could be worth it if I got what I wanted, when i asked about the quality of the decals and and their structure, and requested a "proof" sheet so that I could see what I was buying, i was given short thrift.
So my help required is; what does everybody else do, that uses custom decals, and do you have a recommended seller, many thanks.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
15,448
655
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I know a few of you have your custom railways, and as such require custom decals for your stock. I have water slide print paper, and it is okay, but using an ink jet requires sealing first, and when you cut the decals out the edges are "blunt" i.e. abrupt and do not blend like bought decals.
I searched the net and came up with a seller that would produce decals and but at £71.00 a sheet thought a little on the expensive side, but could be worth it if I got what I wanted, when i asked about the quality of the decals and and their structure, and requested a "proof" sheet so that I could see what I was buying, i was given short thrift.
So my help required is; what does everybody else do, that uses custom decals, and do you have a recommended seller, many thanks.
Have to say I fudge things a little and Print with my Lazer to Matt Vinyl Stick on Paper. I do it with my Macdraft Cad Package which allows me to get sizes as I want them. As many items of Stock in former East Germany often had Metal Plates for numbers this works quite well. I felt tip the edges which I have Printed a Black surround to loose the White Edge. In any case it is an error that I am prepared to overlook. For me Unique ID fir Stock is important. And the paper removes very well with no left over residue so Stock can be returned to original if that us an issue.
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

Phase 1 complete, roll on Phase 2
23 Feb 2018
2,101
341
65
Weston-super-Mare
Jon, I also have some print on vinyl, but again my drawback is the ink jet, maybe I need to invest in a lazer printer.
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,666
206
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
I have used G Scale graphics in the US to provide white vinyl logos for my West Well Lumber Co. fleet. They were supplemented by Woodland Scenic dry print for numbering. All in Railroad Roman font. The advantage of vinyls and dry print is that you do not need to gloss coat the surface the decal will be applied to to hide the carrier film, if you were using a waterslide type, nor overcoat to return to a more "prototypical" satin or matt finish. These two types of decals are ideal when using single colours, easy to apply and durable. They can usually be removed with relative ease when selling on without leaving any marks.

Blackhams are a UK supplier of custom dry print decals but they come with a caveat.

Waterslide are good if you are looking for more complex designs and more than one colour but they need more preparation when applying and finishing and as a result are permanent so may limit resale value of your stock at a later date. Stan Cedarleaf in the US is considered to leading supplier of this type for the scales we use. There are one or two indigenous suppliers but my only experience with one was, shall we say, unfortunate. You could create a name from some of the proprietary alphabet & numeral sheets that are out there, like GRS's, too. Max

Produced from individual waterslide letters
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G Scale Graphics vinyls and dry print numbers
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Likewise both locos
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
15,448
655
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Jon, I also have some print on vinyl, but again my drawback is the ink jet, maybe I need to invest in a lazer printer.
Not so expensive these days. See pm
 
ebay mike

ebay mike

Registered
6 Dec 2011
2,613
267
Norfolk
I used the vinyls from PPD for my Orient Express Taurus. Sealed with Ghant brand spray varnish to weatherproof them.
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maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,666
206
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Reading your first post again Jimmy, may I add a word of caution about your expectations if you go down the route of bespoke waterslide decals. You made a mention of a "blunt" edge with your own made decals with proprietary inkjet printer decal paper when you cut them out from the carrier sheet after applying a sealing coat.

In most made to order "one off" designs it is most likely that the absorbent paper backing sheet will have a full all over coating of adhesive/carrier film, then the actual design that is printed only as it appears and finally an all over sealing coat covering the whole sheet. That's the problem with most bespoke work - As a result of this process individual items must be cut from the sheet, potentially leaving a prominent, blunt, edge on the decal.

With volume produced decals, that you may be comparing the bespoke type to, they differ in one significant way from most made to order "one off" designs - The adhesive layer, carrier film, printed design and sealing coat are all probably printed serialy on to the absorbent paper backing sheet by an offset process. This allows a close match of each layer applied to be planned to match that of the printed design alone, also allowing for voids to be made within a design's area too. I.E. You have a lot of individual items that do not need to be cut out and appear to have "feathered" edges giving the impression of a near printed on livery when applied.

The "blunt edge" effect can be masked/minimised in part by 1) Cut out decals from a sheet using a fresh sharp scalpel blade. 2) Make sure you have a good smooth gloss coated surface to apply them on. 3) Using a product like Microscale Micro Set, that will help remove air bubbles from forming behind and from the edges of the decal as it drys. 4) A decal solvent, say like Solvaset, that will help stop any further curl in the decals' edges so it snuggles down well to a given surface and any imperfections or texture 5) Apply an overall self leveling lacquer coat to provide a suitable finish and protection. Be careful that the decals supplied to you do not react adversely to any of the products used in steps 2/3/4/5.

Ask a potential supplier if they have a lower cost "stock" design they could supply for you to have a go with and see if they have any limitations, in your eyes. A specialist supplier may well be using a finer grade of prepared decal paper than you have available to you and a sealing coat that is again thinner in application, resulting in a more satisfactory final result. Sorry if I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here, it's not the intention :) Max
 
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JimmyB

JimmyB

Phase 1 complete, roll on Phase 2
23 Feb 2018
2,101
341
65
Weston-super-Mare
So it would seem buying custom decals from small organisations may result in goods of a quality less than expected. So if I can produce my own proofs printing them myself is probably most effective over time/cost/quality. I do think though a laser printer maybe the way to go, so are all laser printer outputs waterproof, and any recommendations on what to buy.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
25,800
765
North West Norfolk
So it would seem buying custom decals from small organisations may result in goods of a quality less than expected. So if I can produce my own proofs printing them myself is probably most effective over time/cost/quality. I do think though a laser printer maybe the way to go, so are all laser printer outputs waterproof, and any recommendations on what to buy.
There's a garden railway Facebook group, and a company there advertises bespoke decals and posts pictures of the products - just headed there to get you some details ........................... I may be gone some time ;);)



Quicker than I thought:

Endon Valley Custom Decals @EndonValleyDecals


I have no idea how to direct you to an FB site, Jimmy, sorry.
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

Phase 1 complete, roll on Phase 2
23 Feb 2018
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341
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Weston-super-Mare
P

playmofire

Registered
23 Oct 2010
6,730
153
North Yorks
Here's their website:

 
beavercreek

beavercreek

Travel, Art, Theatre, Music, Photography, Trains
24 Oct 2009
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78
East Anglia
www.facebook.com
I do a mixture...
Some done with laser waterslide paper where I print out my design.
Some done by Stan Cedarleaf in the USA from my designs. He did me two A4 sheets, literally crammed with all of the Rio grande, D&RGW, RGS decals that I could possibly use.
The lettering was done in white on clear background which was done using the ALPS printing system
The total cost was about £70 for all including shipping


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PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
24,075
705
Tamworth, Staffs.
Rhino, many thanks I will check on when I get home FB is a barred site at w**k, or just google :)

Endon Valley Custom Decals
Depending on your timescale.. They are booked for Llangollen..

All laser output is 'waterproof' (though obviously not necessarily what you are printing onto)..

The laser-toner powder is fused (melted) onto the 'paper' by a heated roller.

Be aware you need to make sure you are using a carrier/backing that is suitable for use in a laser printer. - If it melts in the fuser, it can be a 'orrible job to sort-out. Normally requiring (at least) a new fuser! £££ :(
 
ntpntpntp

ntpntpntp

Registered
24 Oct 2009
7,268
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56
UK
Must admit I still jealously guard my old Citizen Printiva printer, a rebranded ALPS Microdry print technology machine which can print white and metallics on decent thin waterslide decal paper. It sits in my hobby room along with an old Windows ME machine as that has the best printer driver for doing spot overlays etc. required to make layered coloured decals.

Sadly the technology is long obsolete and supplies of the "ink" cartridges are drying up so I restrict it to essential use only, but in its day it was a decent way for home users to produce effective waterslide decals, far thinner and finer than inkjet-based techniques.

All the white decals on this N gauge model were home-made on the Printiva back in 2005.
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F

Fred Mills

Registered
27 Mar 2017
1,553
148
77
Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario Canada
We have had great, reasonably priced service from "Stan Cedarleaf", who can be contacted through Large Scale Central web page. He does great decals. Mailing from the US to GB should not be a problem
 
Northsider

Northsider

Registered
3 May 2012
615
15
I am fortunate to have a friend who has produced artwork for Isle of Man Railway carriages (and the occasional short run of goods stock decals); so I went the waterslide/inkjet route. I made the background as close to livery colour as I could and used the process Max describes above. Plus the eight foot rule!
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I have used white vinyl too, but it stands proud of the surface, and while it is only 0.3 mm or so, it offends me!