Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rebuilding old Bachmann U36B Part 4 Decals

Rebuilding old Bachmann U36B Part 4 Decals

Modern Decals for the Vision Impaired Modeler

Each month I participate in an operating group that really gets quite sophisticated.  Not having the best vision is a problem.  So you wear glasses on your nose or bifocals.  Comparing your switch list to cars on the track at around 3 feet away gets to be a problem.  Better yet is when you think your car is in the middle of a train that's in the middle of a yard and you want to look between cars to spot a number.

Years ago I decided I wanted to do the opposite of what most railroads do.  I'd have a big number and a small logo.  The problem was making decals for big numbers.  And the most pressing problem, making them white.

I used to do a lot of commercial photo printing and have 2 large format high resolution photo printers.  I was convinced that I could learn to print the best decals that could be made.  You can go back to June 2016 to read my series on making decals.  Since then, I've gotten my ALPS MD-1000 working great for white decals.

No printed decals can match the strength of white decal paper.  They just can't, so when it comes to large white decals the best way to go is the Cricut.  My Cricut Explore is what I use to make exactly the numbers that I want when I want them.  I don't need to assemble my numbers from a sheet of general numbers.  I just cut them.

Once they're cut I can apply them.  What I use is 1 drop ammonia and then a jar cap about 2 inches across and half inch deep.

Large decals can be hard to work with.  A Cricut spatula works for the big decals and I use an xacto 17 flat blade for small decals.  Use quite a bit of water and place the decals.

Position them all...plenty of water, if you screw up, put it back in the water...

Now let them dry out pretty good BEFORE you use Solvaset.

Now a little solvaset at a time, big decals tend to wrinkle up, so little by little...

While we're waiting, let's do some number boards in Freehand....

30 years ago, I painted the number board position white, cut individual numbers, 4 sets of them, and placed them on the white and then put a clear decal with black border over the top.  Yes, they looked good and still do, but that's too much work considering I can do this:
 I used my machinist's ruler to measure the number boards then typed the data into Freehand.  A sheet of Epson Premium Glossy photo paper and I get this:
These numbers will look awesome for something like 300 years according to Epson...

White glue is the appropriate glue to attach photo paper to plastic.  It will dry clear which renders mistakes invisible.

Now that looks pretty good if you ask me.

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