madbeanpedals::forum

Projects => How Do I? Beginner's Paradise. => Topic started by: Bret608 on August 28, 2012, 07:56:27 AM

Title: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on August 28, 2012, 07:56:27 AM
Hi everyone,

I am going to be attempting a waterslide decal for the first time, and I think I have the gist of it from watching chromesphere's video, reading up a bit at BYOC, etc. There are a couple of things I'd like to confirm with you knowledgable folks before I dive in:

1) I'll be doing this on a PPP enclosure. Theirs seem to come already clearcoated. It's okay to put the decal on top of that and then clearcoat with a rattlecan type, correct? Any tips?

2) This will be an inkjet job--what is the best printer setting? I remember seeing to set it for cardstock, but am not sure.

3) What type of fixer do folks spray on the decal so that the ink doesn't wash off? Something Krylon, perhaps?

4) Lastly, at what point and how do you open up the holes in the decal for your pots and switches? After the decal is dry? Before of after clear coating?

Thanks in advance! I know it's a lot of questions but this should get me squared away.

Cheers,

Bret
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: gtr2 on August 28, 2012, 08:04:19 AM
1) yes
2) I don't use an inkjet.  But you need to clear coat the waterslide before placing in the water when using an inkjet
3)I use minwax polycrylic
4) I do it carefully after the decal dries

Josh
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: jimijam on August 28, 2012, 08:43:37 AM
1) yes
2) I don't use an inkjet.  But you need to clear coat the waterslide before placing in the water when using an inkjet
3)I use minwax polycrylic
4) I do it carefully after the decal dries

Josh
what he said. polycrylic is water based so it wont craze the clear thats on the box. I usually use the settimg for transparencies at the best quality output. make a few extras and wait several hours or over night before handling. sometimes the underside is still soft and wet even when the decal feels set. for uneven surfaces use some testors delal set or other film softener to help avoid wrinkles.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on August 28, 2012, 08:53:53 AM
Thanks to both of you; this is really helpful!

So to make sure I'm understanding, the Minwax Polyclear is a good "fixer" to apply to your decal before soaking it to go on the enclosure? Does it come in a spray can?
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: mgwhit on August 28, 2012, 09:02:16 AM
I've used waterslides on every one of my builds and do not find them terribly difficult to use.  I typically use powder-coated enclosures from PPP (the best) and sometimes Mammoth (getting better).  The other day I even painted an enclosure from scratch -- looks fine now, but we'll see how that turns out in a year or two.  The PPP enclosures do appear to have a layer of clear.

To start, I wipe the enclosure down with naptha to remove any oils or other contaminants and let it dry off for about 15-20 minutes.  Then I apply the decal and gently straighten it and squeegee out bubbles with a new, lightly dampened sponge.  I let the decal dry in place overnight (or at least six hours in a dry environment) and then put on a couple coats of clear the next morning.  I usually give the first couple coats about 30 minutes each at 150-160F in my toaster oven.  Then, after the enclosure has cooled, I cut out the holes with an exacto knife or a razor blade.  Be careful here, because you can lift the decal a bit.  Once that's done, I do a few more coats of clear, each of which gets 45-60 minutes in the oven at around 200F.

I've never used a decal softener, but as long as you make your decals cover the full face of the pedal you shouldn't see any obvious lines.

I prefer using automotive lacquer for my clear.  I'll go figure out the brand in a bit, but it's something you can get at Home Depot or Lowes.  I never get a crystal clear gloss clear-coat like you see in the Envirotex builds, but it gets the job done.

I have never had any success with inkjets, but I know others have.  I never used a true fixative, but did I let them dry overnight (minimum) and always put on a few coats of clear (also dried overnight).  The second they hit the water the ink always ran.  Always.

This is certainly not the one true way to do waterslides, but it works for me.  Good luck!

[Sorry, I wrote this about 45 minutes ago and forgot to submit the post.]
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: gtr2 on August 28, 2012, 10:22:48 AM
Thanks to both of you; this is really helpful!

So to make sure I'm understanding, the Minwax Polyclear is a good "fixer" to apply to your decal before soaking it to go on the enclosure? Does it come in a spray can?

I don't use a "fixer".  I spray a couple coats over the decal after it is dried on the enclosure.

You can use it to spray the decal to lock in the ink before you place it in the water.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: mgwhit on August 28, 2012, 12:08:43 PM
You didn't ask, but this just popped into my head as good first-time waterslide use information:

You cannot effectively use light colors on transparent waterslides against anything but the lightest background colors.  Colors printed on waterslide are translucent and only show up correctly against a white background.  My first waterslide was a multi-colored image against a white powdercoat, and that turned out great.  My second was supposed to be gold against purple, and the lettering totally disappeared.  These days I stick to fairly light powdercoat colors and mostly black printing.

I have had a little success with color.  I did purple print on a metallic silver powdercoat that looked awesome.  I'm actually going to try blue print over a yellow paint job next week -- I'm hoping it comes out green.

If you have graphics with complicated colors and you intend to put them on anything other than a white powdercoat, you could use white (i.e. non-transparent) waterslides.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on August 28, 2012, 02:13:43 PM
Thanks Matt--I had heard about this issue, so I'm planning it all around some simple black lettering. The enclosure I ordered is OBD green. I'm not sure how dark that is in person, so I will proceed with caution for sure. I am perfectly willing to abandon this mission if it looks like the lettering won't show up!

Reading about this same topic over at BYOC, I saw someone mentioned Testors Decal Bond to keep the ink from running on inkjet waterslides. Sounds like you just use a couple of coats of that topped off with your clearcoat of choice (Rustoleum, in my case). I may pick some of this up to be on the safe side and not get frustrated with my first attempt! Wish me luck either way.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: jkokura on August 28, 2012, 05:03:31 PM
Here's Black on OBD Green...

(http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/9451/imagevsv.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/17/imagevsv.jpg/)

Jacob
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: pryde on August 28, 2012, 06:40:44 PM
I have used inkjet waterslides on all of my builds and seam to have gotten down a procedure that works well for me. I use waterslide decal sheets from PPP. THey are all I have ever used and work great with my Brother inkjet.

I print using "other photo paper" setting on highest quality.
Let it dry overnight
Spray 2 decent coats of clear on the decal, let dry for a few hours at least
Install decal on to pre-drilled enclosure and align. Gently squeegee out air and wrinkles center outward
Dab-dry around edges as you squeegee
Let dry at least 8 hours, maybe overnight, then cut out all holes with new, sharp X-acto blade
Clear coat to taste.

Note. All of my enclosures are powdercoated white or almond usually, but any light color will work for your background with good results.

Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: mgwhit on August 28, 2012, 06:47:12 PM
I have used inkjet waterslides on all of my builds and seam to have gotten down a procedure that works well for me. I use waterslide decal sheets from PPP. THey are all I have ever used and work great with my Brother inkjet.

I print using "other photo paper" setting on highest quality.

Hmmm.  I used PPP inkjet waterslides, too.  I wonder if the HP printer (or ink) that I used doesn't cut it, or if I used an inappropriate print setting.

Bret, let us know how yours goes!

P.S. Nice pedal, Jacob!
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: pryde on August 28, 2012, 08:17:27 PM
Not sure mgwhit? What was the issue you are having with the PPP decal paper? Ink not drying?

The brother ink goes on rather thick in my high quality setting and dries to the touch within an hour usually.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: mgwhit on August 28, 2012, 08:29:29 PM
Mine was always dry to the touch within an hour.  I may have rushed the first batch, but I did others that I let dry for days.  Then two clear coats that dried for days.  The second it hit the water it bled like crazy.  Turned the water purple. :(
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on August 29, 2012, 08:43:43 AM
Jacob, thanks for the photo example here--looks like I picked a good combination! I just have to sit tight for the enclosure to arrive.

mgwhit, pryde, gtr2, jimijam, thanks for what has turned out to be a great tutorial! I'll post photos of the enclosure here when I get it done.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: TNblueshawk on August 30, 2012, 10:37:08 AM
Great info here. I'll try to add a few more things.
- I use an ink jet. I use mostly white backed decal from Papilio and love that decal paper. I use white as I like dark pedals. About the lightest color you can get away with and use clear backed decals is almond. Any darker and you begin to lose your colors. I print these and let them dry at least 6 hours. I then use Testor decal bonder. I typically use one light coat, 10 minutes, 2nd light coat, 10 minutes and a final medium coat. I let that dry overnight. At this point what's the rush. If you have bleeding issues around the edge the other option is to first cut the decal out and then spray. It seals in the edges. I've also since gotten over the thicker edge of the white backed decals. I try to get them full face where the edge rides the edge of the enclosure.
- When I apply the decal I wet the enclosure first, soak for 45 seconds, work the decal with my fingers first about one inch off the backing and then carefully lay it down walking my fingers along it as I pull the bottom out so as not to stretch the decal holding it in one spot. Now I've used decal adhesive but I have only used that on the clear ones as it helps them slide better for me. The white backed are a piece of cake so I don't need it.
- I then wait about 30 seconds before I begin to work out the bubbles because it is too eay to move the decal if you don't. I then wet my fingers with the hand I'm holding and begin to work out the bubbles little by little. Try to drive them towards the holes or edges. Wipe the water spots off the side or you may get water spots.
- I wait about 4 hours at least and take the exacto knife as mentioned. I then take some microsol and work around those holes with helps melt the frayed edges in on the enclosure. I used to use Microsol on the edges of the decal around the enclosure but I found the Envirotex, I'm a tex'r, didn't like to adhere to those edges.

Just a few more thoughts off the cuff
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on August 31, 2012, 09:23:06 AM
Thanks John! What you've added is also really helpful. PPP let me know my enclosure is about to ship, so I should be able to report on my results within a couple of weeks.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on September 10, 2012, 08:02:23 AM
Hey everybody,

Just wanted to let you know how this went in case it's useful for anyone reading the post later!

First, I followed jimijam's advice and used the photo paper-best quality setting on my printer. It looked fantastic!

Next, I followed the advice of a couple of you and picked up some Testor's Decal Bond spray (last can at the local hobby store!). This stuff works great! I only needed to let it dry about six hours before I could get it into the water with no colors running. I did the three coats as TNblueshawk suggested, and also cut it out before spraying. In the future, I think I would probably affix it to a slightly heavy piece of carboard with a small piece of double-sided Scotch tape before spraying. Since I had cut it out already, the force of the spray almost made the decal get airborne and flip over!

I didn't have any problem soaking it and getting it onto the enclosure, but it was then I realized I cut it a bit smaller than the face of the pedal. Totally my fault--I used the 125b enclosure border from the pedal vector pack to create a nice border for the image. I decided after holding it up to the enclosure that I liked it better without the border, so before I sprayed with the decal bond, I trimmed it off. I probably should have redone the image a bit by scaling the border slightly larger than the enclosure face and then just using it for a cut-out guide.

I think I managed to squeegee the water out pretty well, minus one issue. The drill holes on the enclosure face seem to have very slight lip on their edge, and it was very hard to get the water and bubbles to exit via the hole or to move them out via the enclosure edge. As the decal dried, I could see these slightly cloudy areas around the edges of the holes, and in a couple of other places. Still looked good in the right light, though!

Trimming the holes out went fine. Then I clearcoated with Rustoleum automotive gloss. All was well until a gust of wind came after coat number two and made the newspaper on which I had set the enclosure jump up and slap the clearcoated sides! I quickly pulled it off, smoothed out the goofed-up areas, and re-sprayed. Next time, I will anchor the edges of whatever I am spraying on! All in all, I did quite a bit better than the first time I clearcoated a box. Under light, you can see some slight ripples on the face of the enclosure. Does that mean I should have held the spray can slightly farther away?

Anyway, this was a fun and educational first attempt with the decals. I don't think it will look too bad once I dress the box up with the knobs, switches and LED. We'll see anyway! Unfortunately it will be getting cold here soon so I might be done until next spring. Luckily most PPP enclosures look good without decals.

Thanks again everyone!
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: TNblueshawk on September 10, 2012, 08:27:42 AM
Bret, ripples in the clear coat or the decal?
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on September 10, 2012, 08:32:50 AM
Hey John,

More so in the clear coat, minus the slightly goofy edges on the decal around the drill holes.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: TNblueshawk on September 10, 2012, 09:14:06 AM
Man, that lacquer can be a bitch to be honest. It is hard to say about the can distance. I would do the same thing on one enclosure as I did on another and might get different results. My opinion on it, and I don't use lacquer any more so it's been awhile, is that many light coats is best no matter what you do. I know some guys that do 10 light coats kind of thing just trying to get it right.

If by ripples you mean "orange peel" that is very common. It means that it was not thick enough typically but then if you go too thick you get runs. There is some mythical middle ground there. All I can offer is to keep doing it and you will develop your technique of what you like to do. I also think the can of lacquer has something to do with the results meaning some cans come out faster than others, or spit more, or whatever. What I do know is if you go more than an hour between coats do NOT spray again until 24 hours has passed or you will be stripping it off decal and all.

Maybe some lacquer experts here will chime in.

Oh yeah, for water spots if for some reason you don't get them all out you can always take a safety pin and poke a hole in it and push it out. That tiny pin hole will get covered up by the clear coat and you won't see it.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on September 10, 2012, 09:55:07 AM
Thanks John! So those random cloudy spots underneath the waterslide are water spots then? And I thought I had squeegied really well--I used on of those soft cloths for cleaning eyeglasses to do it.

I did try poking a hole in a couple of spots to get a bubble or two out, and in one instance the decal stuck to the pin and tried to pull up a little, leaving a another cloudy spot!  :P  Luckily, that will be covered by a knob mostly. Do folks normally do this step before or after the decal dries?
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: gtr2 on September 10, 2012, 10:36:56 AM
I take a round file and gently file the holes to knock off the burrs, this stops the "gathering that can occur at holes.

Just an FYI.  The polycrylic can be sprayed indoors if you're desperate.  It just smells like roach spray.  It's way better than a rustolium type product fume wise.

Josh
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on September 10, 2012, 10:46:07 AM
Good to know, Josh...that Rustoleum smells awful! We went out for a bit and when we came home and opened the garage (where the pedal box is curing), the smell just about hit us over the head!
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: TNblueshawk on September 10, 2012, 11:58:33 AM
Thanks John! So those random cloudy spots underneath the waterslide are water spots then? And I thought I had squeegied really well--I used on of those soft cloths for cleaning eyeglasses to do it.

I did try poking a hole in a couple of spots to get a bubble or two out, and in one instance the decal stuck to the pin and tried to pull up a little, leaving a another cloudy spot!  :P  Luckily, that will be covered by a knob mostly. Do folks normally do this step before or after the decal dries?

Well, I don't know for sure if the cloudy spot is something under the decal or if it is in the lacquer. Got a pic? Don't know if that will help me tell or not but what the heck.

What I do is right after I put the decal on, I would poke the hole if needed right then. But I'll wait for it to dry several hours before I spray or do what I do which is use an epoxy like Envirotex. I figure even though I got the water bubbles out it is still damp in there and I would just assume let all the water evaporate. I usually wait overnight but then I'm a patient dude on this stuff and I mostly build just for myself so I can wait.
Title: Re: Waterslide decal questions
Post by: Bret608 on September 10, 2012, 12:26:34 PM
Oh, it's in the decal alright! The little cloudy spot was there before I clear coated. That makes sense about poking the holes earlier. Basically I put on the waterslide Sat. afternoon, cut out the holes carefully with an exacto on Sun. morning, and clearcoated on Sun. afternoon--about 24 hours start to finish. I may take a pic tonight, but I'm not too worried over it since the damage is done so to speak!  :D