Author Topic: Waterslide decal questions  (Read 13374 times)

Bret608

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Waterslide decal questions
« 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

gtr2

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #1 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

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jimijam

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #2 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.
tried lifting weights once....they were too heavy!

Bret608

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #3 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?

mgwhit

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #4 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.]
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 09:08:15 AM by mgwhit »

gtr2

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #5 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.
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mgwhit

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #6 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.

Bret608

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #7 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.

jkokura

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 05:03:31 PM »
Here's Black on OBD Green...



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pryde

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #9 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.


mgwhit

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #10 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!

pryde

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #11 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.

mgwhit

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #12 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. :(

Bret608

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #13 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.

TNblueshawk

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Re: Waterslide decal questions
« Reply #14 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
John