Friday, June 24, 2016

Alps MD 1000 printer in the year 2016

Alps MD 1000 printer in the year 2016

I got myself an Alps MD 1000 printer for the purpose of printing decals.  So let's get started with what works and what doesn't...

First, my printer came with the OEM disk and drivers.  I also got 2 sets of ink, and ordered 1 white cartridge and 1 finish cartridge from ebay.

The first thing I tried was to get it to work with Windows 7.  NO-GO, doesn't work at all and I'm really good at troubleshooting printer compatibility.  Next was Vista 32.  Again, not happening.

NEXT.....Windows XP Version 2002 Service Pack 3

Yes, read it again.... Windows XP Version 2002 Service Pack 3

This one worked with the drivers provided, no trouble at all and Windows Update found a Microsoft driver for the printer as well, but that one doesn't seem to work.

The Alps OEM driver does work with Windows XP Service Pack 3.

I printed some test pages, but right away I was unable to get it to goto the highest resolution because I didn't have a finish cartridge.  I found one on ebay for $8 and ordered it.

I tried a test print of some small logos, and they were terrible, but to be fair they also sucked on my Epson 2200 which is much higher resolution, so we'll revisit that with some higher quality graphics.

Next I tested some numbers and letters and they printed very nice.  So I put in some clear decal paper that is already coated with acrylic (so I don't waste a fresh sheet working out the bugs) and they printed out pretty decent, but again not on the highest resolution.

As I expected, they are pretty much transparent.  So the next test will involve using the finish cartridge when it gets here and attempting to do a white underlay.

Here's one thing I noticed about the Microsoft driver:  it allows you to change all settings without limit.

This would be perfect and I suspect it's here that the whole Service Pack 3 issue comes into play, so I think I'm going to tear down that machine and rebuild it with the best old parts I can find and install Windows XP again and try it 1 service pack at a time.  I should also mention that my XP install CD is for the Pro version.....

Making Inkjet Decals Part 4

Making Inkjet Decals Part 4

So I got my formula down, turned out some nice decals, applied them and they turned out pretty good.

However, I found out that after about 5 minutes in the water, some of them started to disintegrate.  To fix that problem I applied Microscale Liquid Decal Film.  Problem solved.

The next problem I encountered was that Micro Sol isn't really strong enough to handle the paper, the acrylic and the decal film all together.  I've ordered some Walthers Solvaset to find out if it's as strong as the old Hobsco version.

If it works like I think it will then it will be case closed on inkjet decals.  The method will be complete.

I've also tried using acrylic clear flat sealer and haven't been super impressed with the job that it did.  Some of that is due to the decal film, but like the paints I've been testing on polyurethane, it seems to have a very tough time drying.  Next up is trying Testor's dullcote again over the acrylic paint.

The next batch of cars to be painted will be painted with primer first.  I hate having to go back to using primer because the Tru-Color paint looks so nice without it.  But, it appears it will be necessary.

Now on to the Alps MD 1000....

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Making Inkjet Decals Part 3

Making Inkjet Decals Part 3

The last settings I used have worked out very well, so I went ahead and made some more and tried them without the Acrylic coating.  That didn't work at all.

After printing using the best settings available on high gloss and setting the ink to +%5 I tried using one without the sealer.  It didn't smear to the touch, but once in the water it essentially disintegrated.

I've also now printed a sheet of decals where I applied colored squares with white lettering on white decal paper.  So far so good, we'll see how they turn out after the sealer has cured.

Specifically, I made a bunch of the various stickers found on locomotive access doors.  They are super tiny, but nothing the printer couldn't handle.  With a magnifying glass the letters are totally readable and very crisp.

It will be the trimming that presents the tricky part.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Inkjet waterslide decals and more painting on polyurethane

More DIY Inkjet Decals and Paint Testing

1.  So the decals I made the other day and coated with satin acrylic have been applied, and so far they look pretty good.  The ink didn't run or flake.  I haven't clear coated them yet, but I did use Micro Sol when I applied them and it looks good.  You have to watch them as they dry because they will wrinkle up real bad if you aren't paying attention.  I use a tiny bit of paper towel to soak up the extra Micro Sol every once in a while.  I also make 1 swipe with the Micro Sol before I lay them down.  More on how they turned out later...

2.  Acrylic on Polyurethane.  I airbrushed a 60-40 91% alcohol to acrylic paint without primer on the polyurethane.  It took a while to find a decent setting for the airbrush, but about 60# of pressure and the needle backed off just a hair on the airbrush seemed to do the trick.  It took 2 coats and the paint is just a bit light, but I always like to use paint without primer if at all possible.  The paint did dry in about 30 mins.

Next...Acrylic clear coat...

Friday, June 3, 2016

Inkjet Waterslide Decals DIY

Making waterslide decals with your inkjet printer...

I've made a lot of decals with my 2 printers... Epson Stylus 2200 and Epson Stylus Pro 3800.  What I want to do now is start keeping a chronicle of what works and what doesn't.

This also includes my experimentation with painting polyurethane that has been cast in a silicone mold and then sanded.

First about the paint problem....  I made a bunch of flat car bodies and have had some mysterious results where the paint never dries on the models.  This is true of Testor's Enamels, Tru-Color Lacquers and Testor's Dullcote and Krylon Color Master Clear Acrylics.

As I solve the paint problem, I'll post more.  So far though, several paints haven't fully dried and remain either wet or tacky.  Days next to a fan didn't help, but a warm day and night by the open window did help.  I suspect that direct sunlight and outside exposure is the key to the current problem.  But, the next next batch is going to be acrylic so we'll see what's up.

Now on to the decals.  The best results so far were when I printed on this setting:  enhanced matte, 2880 dpi, +5% ink. Wait 5 days, spray with Dullcote.  Problem, the film doesn't dissolve and is super tough to conceal.

That was then, this is now:  premium gloss, 2880 dpi, -5%, wait an hour, Krylon Clear Acrylic Satin.  We'll see tomorrow how that works.....