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Miatatom

Need a Good Printer for Decals

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I need to replace a dead printer and I need one that can do a decent job on decals.  I'd like to spend less than $200. Well, much less if possible. What do you giys recommend?

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https://decalprofx.com/

Buy a laser printer and one of these kits.  You can apply the image to decal paper and turn it into a waterslide decal.  A very versatile kit.  Just don't buy a Brother brand of printer.

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I was going to suggest a laser printer also.

I imagine that you will be comparing the cost of various printers.

I would suggest that you also compare the cost of the ink for each one you are considering. A low printer cost with a high ink replacement price will not be your friend in the long run.

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Standard printers use translucent Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow inks for printing color images.  For true color rendition they rely on the inks being applied over white background (paper). Decals printed on clear film will be translucent when applied to a non-white surface.  They will almost disappear on very dark surfaces.  Of course, you can print on white decal film, but then you have to trim the images really carefully or the white film will show up on the model.

Alps MD (MicroDry) series of printers can print white ink and they can print colors over the white ink areas. (in overlay mode).  That is really the only printer that can truly print good opaque color decals.  Of course it is out of production, and if you can find a used one, it will be very expensive.  There are also some color laser printers available which can print white (the black toner is replaced with white), but they are also pricey.

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3 hours ago, peteski said:

Of course, you can print on white decal film, but then you have to trim the images really carefully or the white film will show up on the model.

I've been wondering how small the Cricut Explore will cut. I was thinking of using it, in conjunction with my printer and white decal paper, if it cuts small enough areas. Then, the decals  could be printed on white paper, the image of the sheet could be imported into Cricut, and used as the guide for the cutter. I haven't begun learning to use my Cricut, yet.

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17 minutes ago, Straightliner59 said:

I've been wondering how small the Cricut Explore will cut. I was thinking of using it, in conjunction with my printer and white decal paper, if it cuts small enough areas. Then, the decals  could be printed on white paper, the image of the sheet could be imported into Cricut, and used as the guide for the cutter. I haven't begun learning to use my Cricut, yet.

If the tolerances are close enough, that might be an option.  Iit will likely work well for larger images, but if you have for example bunch of small yellow letters to be applied to a dark colored model, it will be quite a challenge to get them cut out accurately, then evenly apply them to the model, one by one.

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4 minutes ago, peteski said:

If the tolerances are close enough, that might be an option.  Iit will likely work well for larger images, but if you have for example bunch of small yellow letters to be applied to a dark colored model, it will be quite a challenge to get them cut out accurately, then evenly apply them to the model, one by one.

That's a good point! I was more considering it for use in cases of decals on a white field, for instance sponsor decals, simple logos, etc. I agree. It might not be feasible for simple lettering, etc.

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9 hours ago, Greg Wann said:

https://decalprofx.com/

Buy a laser printer and one of these kits.  You can apply the image to decal paper and turn it into a waterslide decal.  A very versatile kit.  Just don't buy a Brother brand of printer.

I'd love to see a realistic view on how good this works.  Like photos

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3 hours ago, Straightliner59 said:

I've been wondering how small the Cricut Explore will cut. I was thinking of using it, in conjunction with my printer and white decal paper, if it cuts small enough areas. Then, the decals  could be printed on white paper, the image of the sheet could be imported into Cricut, and used as the guide for the cutter. I haven't begun learning to use my Cricut, yet.

I have a larger cutter for doing decals and shirt vinyl and it will cut pretty small as long as there is not to much detail in what you are cutting. I resently was thinking about doing the same thing for a Mustang I'm building and making a pro street out of. I use the cutter mostly for making templates for etching glasses and have done some smaller detail with it. 

 

 

IMG_1986.JPG

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I have two ALPS printers, both with band counts below 10000. They were about $200.00 each. I bought them on a prominent auction site. You have to be patient, because realistically priced units aren't posted very often, but they come along once in awhile. I only use one of them, the other is in reserve in case the first one dies. If you do try to buy one, find out what the band count is before you buy.

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2 hours ago, Foxer said:

I'd love to see a realistic view on how good this works.  Like photos

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-arh-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=arh&p=decal+pro+videos#id=1&vid=22d1bdc24c442c96513c4e644be0317a&action=click

There are plenty of videos about this kit.  Yes, there are a lot of steps and a learning curve to get to the actual decal made as there are a lot of steps and a learning curve to get a model built.  Resin casting presents a huge learning curve too.  This kit is only $90.00 bucks, that is really cheap for it's versatility.  Don't underestimate it's usefulness  around the house.  You can make a temporary tattoo with it and apply a image on leather and cloth and even use this kit to make photo etch parts on brass.  This company sells a fab in a box kit for electronic boards, that's how you can make PE parts, but both kits are mostly the same.  Be sure you buy the laminator too.Yes, you can buy a used ALPS printer but the person mailing it to you really needs to know how to pack it properly.  You might get something that does not work when you get it.  I'm sure kids would really like the temporary tattoo thing as grownups seam to like permanent ones.

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12 hours ago, Greg Wann said:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-arh-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=arh&p=decal+pro+videos#id=1&vid=22d1bdc24c442c96513c4e644be0317a&action=click

There are plenty of videos about this kit.  Yes, there are a lot of steps and a learning curve to get to the actual decal made as there are a lot of steps and a learning curve to get a model built.  Resin casting presents a huge learning curve too.  This kit is only $90.00 bucks, that is really cheap for it's versatility.  Don't underestimate it's usefulness  around the house.  You can make a temporary tattoo with it and apply a image on leather and cloth and even use this kit to make photo etch parts on brass.  This company sells a fab in a box kit for electronic boards, that's how you can make PE parts, but both kits are mostly the same.  Be sure you buy the laminator too.Yes, you can buy a used ALPS printer but the person mailing it to you really needs to know how to pack it properly.  You might get something that does not work when you get it.  I'm sure kids would really like the temporary tattoo thing as grownups seam to like permanent ones.

Have you actually used this and with any success?

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Micro Mark sells a white toner carraige for HP printer. I also got one of those Cricket circut cutters  only tried it so far making stencils for my models

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I don't believe you can just replace the black toner cartridge with a white one and magically be able to print out opaque color decals.  It all depends in which order the colors get printed.

There are color laser printers which can print white, but they also come with special drivers (RIP, or Raster Image Processor) which allows you some control of how images get printed.

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22 hours ago, John Pol said:

Micro Mark sells a white toner carraige for HP printer. I also got one of those Cricket circut cutters  only tried it so far making stencils for my models

The price on that white toner cartridge is insane! I really need to take some time to learn to use my Cricut. One of my ex-girlfriends bought an early one, for scrapbooking. I told her then, that if they made it, so that you could use your own art, they would open a whole new market, for themselves. Turns out, now I have one! I believe that it has a ton of potential, if one is willing to take the time to explore it (no pun intended).

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I know everyone is saying laser but the prices for anything that isn't monochrome are high. Any suggestions for inkjet printers and associated materials?

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7 hours ago, Miatatom said:

I know everyone is saying laser but the prices for anything that isn't monochrome are high. Any suggestions for inkjet printers and associated materials?

Do not get an Epson inkjet, they will not print on decal paper. At least, that's been my experience. I had an HP inkjet printer that worked fine with inkjet decal paper. There is still the problem with the inks being translucent, so the decals printed on clear paper have to go over white, or the color of the decal will be changed by the color under it. White decal paper solves that problem, but the decals must be trimmed very closely, and have a white edge. The white paper seems a bit thicker than the clear as well. There are ways around some of these issues, and I have made some decent decals with an inkjet printer, but the ones on white paper are not as nice as kit decals. Hope that helps.

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On 9/16/2019 at 8:08 AM, Repstock said:

I have two ALPS printers, both with band counts below 10000.

Is the software and ink supplies still readily available? I've been thinking about getting one, but not sure how easy it is to keep it going.

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I created my decals and then printed them on a commercial Xerox laser printer. They are still translucent on clear, but not too bad. I just doubled the amount I printed and then layered them which made them work better. They still don't work very well on dark paint. If you do this, he ink doesn't run, but it can be scratched by even a fingernail, so be careful until you put a coat of clear over them.

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On 9/21/2019 at 10:18 AM, oldcarfan said:

I created my decals and then printed them on a commercial Xerox laser printer. They are still translucent on clear, but not too bad. I just doubled the amount I printed and then layered them which made them work better. They still don't work very well on dark paint.

I think that is an understatement.  Decals printed on clear film using any CYMK color printer (ink jet or laser) do not work on dark surfaces. Period!  Lets not dilute ourselves. No matter how many times you overprint, they will still be translucent and the dark model surface will basically hide them.CYMK printers rely on the background surface being white.  The only color which is opaque in those printers is black (by definition).

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Just a thought Tom.

There is a local store near me named Office Max which I used to frequent often for a job I had previously. I bought my ink jet printer there, which was on clearance, (new in an unopened box) for $25.

I bought my laser printer there for about $40, retail was around $119 IIRC. This one was the display model. It came with no box (so I didn't have to store or toss it). It also came with no instructions or the cd to link it my computer. The instructions are on the internet and I was able to link it to my PC with no problem in under 10 minutes.

If you have a similar type store in your area you may want to stop in now and again to look for such bargains. I got both of mine by being there on the right day.

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On 9/21/2019 at 10:14 AM, oldcarfan said:

Is the software and ink supplies still readily available? I've been thinking about getting one, but not sure how easy it is to keep it going.

Well . . .

Drivers have not been updated since Windows 7 (and that was a kludge), so while you can get them to work with current version of Windows, it can be a pain.  Only 32 bit drivers too. Alps  are also happiest running from a hardware on-motherboard parallel (LPT) port.  Anything else can be a pain to set up.  I have dedicated Win98SE machine where my Alps is attached and I run Corel Draw 10 on it to do my artwork.  That is the easiest and most reliable setup, although Alps is also perfectly happy on XP.

These printers are quite delicate and many (sold used) end up with damaged print head.  Most ink cartridges are still relatively easy to find, but the prices are shooting through the roof.  I have a nice stash of inks, so I'm set.  Elephant Rocket is also producing some custom color inks, not ever offered by Alps (makes it easier to get some colors difficult to print on Alps otherwise).

But don't think that once you have the printer, the decal printing is easy.  There is quite a bit to learn on how to do it properly, and some ink overlays will not adhere to previous layers.  But once you get the hang of it, and the printer cooperates, the results are stunning!

I have owned my Alps printers for at least 15 years now, and I'm glad I got mine when I did.

Here is a good primer and general reference on Alps decal printing.

robdebie.home.xs4all.nl/models/decals.htm

(had a 404 error when trying to post this with the link above, so just add "http://" to the URL above and copy/paste into your browser)

 

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