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Why are there no custom decal makers?

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Posted · Report post

Why is it, with the wealth of resin casters, photo etchers and all other manner of aftermarket dealers out there, why is it impossible to find a custom decal maker? I'm not talking about a decal maker who already has a large stock of items for sale. I mean where are all the folks who will accept your artwork and make decals of what you want for you? There used to be talk all over the place about Alps this and dry transfer that, but there's nothing out there now.

I've seen several posts in the wanted section about a need for some custom made decals and noone ever answers those calls. Is it fear of a lawsuit? Does noone use Alps anymore? (and yes, I know Alps printers are no longer made but there are others and it's my understanding you can still get cartridges for Alps).

So what gives? Why is noone offering a custom decal service?

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Posted · Report post

It may be that the price would have to be pretty steep with all the setup and sizing and such that would need to be done. I think it would be pretty time consuming. I am just guessing here. It would be cool if someone could do that at a reasonable cost.

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Posted · Report post

Check the links under "Decals."

http://www.socalcarc...elcarlinks.html

I'll try those Harry, but the rub is i've BEEN looking up decal (or alledged) makers for days now. So far all i've run into are dead links and for sale domain names. :(

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Posted · Report post

Here's why- most people are too cheap to pay for the person's time who makes the decal. Most people aren't aware of what is necessary to make a professional quality decal, how good the artwork needs to be, what file extension it needs to be saved as, and so on. The time it takes for the decal maker to get the artwork ready to print is where most of the cost and time is, and who wants to devote an hour of their time to make minimum wage or less?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

You can get your custom decals made. It is expensive and there are minimums (250 sheets or so from the companies I've contacted).

These are not Alps or Inkjet printed - I am talking full on silk screened type.

Edited by Erik Smith

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Where were you before William!?? :P

EDIT: THREE tries to post with a quote. I'm only mentioning it because of the debate in the other thread.

Edited by MAGNUM4342

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Here's why- most people are too cheap to pay for the person's time who makes the decal. Most people aren't aware of what is necessary to make a professional quality decal, how good the artwork needs to be, what file extension it needs to be saved as, and so on. The time it takes for the decal maker to get the artwork ready to print is where most of the cost and time is, and who wants to devote an hour of their time to make minimum wage or less?

Oh my god! A whole hour!?!? I had no idea! :rolleyes: Look- if they're being printed out on an Alps or similar printer, and the artwork is provided for them ready to go, where's the issue. If I could afford an alps i'd do it myself! Edited by MAGNUM4342

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Posted · Report post

Oh my god! A whole hour!?!? I had no idea! :rolleyes: Look- if they're being printed out on an Alps or similar printer, and the artwork is provided for them ready to go, where's the issue. If I could afford an alps i'd do it myself!

What Casey was saying is that if the wrong type of art file is provided, the decal maker has to spend his own time to create a usable file.

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Posted · Report post

I've found the best way to get custom decals...is making them myself :unsure:

there a number of companies which have decal paper for inkjet and/or laser printers and the actual process of copy, pasting, printing and clearcoating the decals is fairly simple

of course the difficulty and/or limitations arise on how complicated the artwork may be.

trying to get the special decal for a particular car, etc can involve lots of research to capture the best image possible for making the decal...a tool such as photoshop helps a lot too

goodluck

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Posted · Report post

Even if you provide the artwork they may need to be redrawn and, resized. I do not do decals myself but, share shop space with someone who does. The reason most decal makers will not do one off decals is simple. Most people are not willing to pay in the area of $100.00 for one set of decals.

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Posted · Report post

If I could afford an alps i'd do it myself!

There's another reason. I paid $450 for my ALPS printer in '98 or so, and I don't think they've come down in price. $700.00 out of pocket just to start making decals is not something most people are willing to spend, then try to make that money back on selling 70 $10 decal sheets.

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Posted · Report post

Anybody used this service?

I have not, but the prices are so reasonable, seems to me like a good investment to give him a go. Not much to lose, everything to gain.

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Posted · Report post

I print custom decal sheets all the time for customers who submit their own artwork. Decals for museum models, limited-run kits, personal projects, guitar headstocks, and so on. Details are on my website at www.fireballmodels.info.

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Posted · Report post

I've found the best way to get custom decals...is making them myself :unsure:

there a number of companies which have decal paper for inkjet and/or laser printers and the actual process of copy, pasting, printing and clearcoating the decals is fairly simple

of course the difficulty and/or limitations arise on how complicated the artwork may be.

trying to get the special decal for a particular car, etc can involve lots of research to capture the best image possible for making the decal...a tool such as photoshop helps a lot too

goodluck

I'm well aware of how to make decals at home. I do it all the time. Right now though I have a dozen or more stalled projects because of a need for a partially white or all white decal that CAN NOT be done at home.

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Posted · Report post

I print custom decal sheets all the time for customers who submit their own artwork. Decals for museum models, limited-run kits, personal projects, guitar headstocks, and so on. Details are on my website at www.fireballmodels.info.

Thank you very much Joseph, i'll check it out. :)

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Posted · Report post

There's another reason. I paid $450 for my ALPS printer in '98 or so, and I don't think they've come down in price. $700.00 out of pocket just to start making decals is not something most people are willing to spend, then try to make that money back on selling 70 $10 decal sheets.

I smell bs here. Okay lets say you did pay $700 up front. I guarantee there are at least enough people here with enough want lists that would pay $10 bucks a pop. That's 70 decals. Do good, quality work and you'll make that in no time! Want to argue about the cost of cartridges too? With people paying on ebay regularly at $12 to $25 a sheet for decals there's no excuse. If it's not something you want to do for the love of the hobby, to help your fellow modelers OR for profit? I won't hold it against you. But don't try and sell me bs. ;)

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I smell bs here. Okay lets say you did pay $700 up front. I guarantee there are at least enough people here with enough want lists that would pay $10 bucks a pop. That's 70 decals. Do good, quality work and you'll make that in no time! Want to argue about the cost of cartridges too? With people paying on ebay regularly at $12 to $25 a sheet for decals there's no excuse. If it's not something you want to do for the love of the hobby, to help your fellow modelers OR for profit? I won't hold it against you. But don't try and sell me bs. ;)

The problem with your situation is that I've fronted $700 for a printer and cartridges, presuming I can even find the white, silver, gold, etc ones that the cartridges that would let me print stuff that you can't do yourself. Then presume that you have all of your artwork together, in the proper file, in the proper size, etc why do you think I should be giving this stuff out like charity? Your one set of decals at $10-15 doesn't put a dent in that $700, nor does it even cover 30 minutes of what my time is worth, let alone the paper to print it on, and the costs of shipping it out to you.

There is a reason the major players (Microscale, Cartigraf, et al) have minimum orders and art fees, etc. If you think the set of decals you want is so fantastic then bite the $1,000 bullet, order the 250/500 sheets and then try to sell them! Usually they charge by the 8x11.5" sheet, so you might be able to cram 3-5 models worth of stuff, making those 500 sheets, 2500 sheets...good luck getting rid of all of those. I've known people who make decals for law enforcement models for years, since back in the "heyday" of the Mid-90's, and they all got stuck with a pile of stock they STILL have on hand to this day. Otherwise I need to find 70-100 PAYING customers who each want individual one-off decals done, 78% of which don't even know what PhotoShop is, let alone how to use it. My time is money, and you're talking about having hundreds, if not thousands of hours (10 hours per order is a bare minimum) tied up in those 100 orders to get them produced. That doesn't even mention the part where the back half of those people get all cranky about the fact that their decals are taking so long to get done because the 30 people in front of them sent in 3 blurry B&W photos shot from 2/3rds of a mile away with a Kodak SureShot and expect that to be enough data to produce what they want. That doesn't even get into sticky issues like copyright & licensing. Modelers are cheap, plain and simple, so if I say O.K. I can make xyz for you, but it's going to cost $100, I'd get laughed right out of here. So instead I need to just eat my costs and time for this mystical "betterment of the hobby". Let's face the fact that the grand majority of people in this hobby have like 0 common interests outside of building little plastic cars, this isn't the Benevolent Order of the Elks or something...

People are willing to pay (well people are willing to charge, I don't know how many people are actually willing to PAY) $20+ for a decal sheet because chances are it's most likely something that's long out of production, or it's a NASCAR decal. NASCAR guys (since they haven't had a new base model outside the AMT CoTs since 1998) are going to be willing to spend more in the first place considering the amount of resin/photoetch, etc they invest in their kits to make something passable for a current race replica.

Edited by niteowl7710

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Noone's asking for charity James. Casey is the one who hung out a ten dollar a piece price tag and I don't get where you see that I am asking for charity. Thanks to the more HELPFULL folks here I now have some good leads on where to get my decals made. Since you obviously didn't read all of what you quoted, I already layed out the balance of price per piece vs. the cost of setup. Is it a conservative estimate? You betcha! Does it deserve the rambling and belittling rant you just layed out? NO!

Edited by MAGNUM4342

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