Author Topic: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions  (Read 4825 times)

irmcdermott

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Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« on: October 28, 2012, 04:03:50 PM »
Couple of questions for you all using this system for your graphics before .

jimmybjj was kind enough to answer my question regarding clear coating over it. But I just wanted to ask what you all do for finishing to protect it, or is it strong enough that it will withstand the standard abuse fairly well?

also, are you all using the recommended GBC laminator, or something else? would rather not have to replace my current laminator if i don't need to.

jimmybjj

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 04:54:01 PM »
here is what fastocker says about clearing http://www.madbeanpedals.com/forum/index.php?topic=6324.msg54236#msg54236

I can't say one way of the other all i have experience with is the gbc, pulsar seems to thing they have an advantage of the others http://www.pulsarprofx.com/decalpro/vertical/1_menu/1d_Components/Info_GBC_Personal.html they also have the advantage in that you can swap gears for a slower transfer. I'm sure this is possible with other laminators but the info for the mod is widely available for the gbc's.
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irmcdermott

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 05:06:45 PM »
Awesome. Thanks, again, Jim. I really love the results you all are doing, and I just had to drop a lot of money replacing my color laserjet because my other one croaked after trying to print some waterslides. Pretty sure it was the decal paper mixed with the cheapish printer. So I'm looking for something new so it doesn't happen again.

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Haberdasher

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 05:17:15 PM »
Yeah, I'm using GBC.  I don't have experience with any other brand so I cannot advise.

It's a cool system because you can do really neat things with the foils and you can put white text on things.  But it really is kind of a PITA to use, so be warned.  If you can't tell, my experience with it has definitely been good mixed with the bad. :D

I'm not sure I'm completely sold on the durability of the lettering long-term.  If I had a way to powdercoat, I would experiment around on scrap metal to find a way to protect it.  I have had mixed results with graphics and text wrinkling when clear coating.  The foils may be more sensitive than the white pigment.

Here's one bit of advice I can give.  It says in the instructions the decal can be wiped with alcohol after it dries for a couple of hours, in order to remove any little imperfections or "artifacts" or whatever.  Please do not do this unless you absolutely have to for some reason.  Little flecks of the stuff you want come off as well and you will want to kick yourself afterwards.  I would say leave it alone for as long as you possibly can before handling it again.

good luck
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Fastocker

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 10:54:42 PM »
Some things I'll add to what others have said regarding the Pulsar stuff:

1.  Do the gear swap if you get the GBC laminator (slower pass-thru, more heat).

2.  Get the laminator fully up to temperature . . . usually takes 15-20 minutes.

3.  I've clear powdercoated over some of the Pulsar decals and it works fine . . . as long as you're not using red powder for your basecoat.  Red seems to want to bleed, other colors seem fine.

4.  I haven't clearcoated over the last three or four boxes I've done with the Pulsar stuff and I haven't gotten a single chip yet -- I've dropped a guitar cord on my red vibe (see the other thread) more than once and no chips or marks yet.  The Pulsar decals seem pretty stout after they dry for a day or two.  Right now I don't have any plans to clear coat over any of the Pulsar stuff in the future.

5.  As Keefe mentioned, don't be in a hurry to remove any residual adhesive with alcohol.  Give the graphic several hours (or a day) to dry then you can gently wipe off any residue with a paper towel wetted with rubbing alcohol.

6.  White is the toughest color for me . . . the other colors are a breeze.  Buy extra white foil when you order.

7.  Satin silver looks almost like white . . . and is much easier to use in my experience.

8.  Once applied, let the decal dry for a day before you assemble the pedal.

9.  I've talked to Frank Miller at Pulsar and he was very helpful in getting my system sorted out.  He even sent me some free foil and paper after I screwed some stuff up in the very beginning.

10.  Be prepared for a little learning curve . . . and there is some technique involved.  Again, Frank Miller helped me with a few minor details that really helped.  It was a bit frustrating for me at first but I got the hang of it soon, especially after Frank told me about the gear swap mod to the laminator.

Wait until you do your first white or silver graphics on a dark color . . . you'll stand back when you're finished and just go "WOW - I DID THAT", lol.

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irmcdermott

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 08:53:19 PM »
Awesome, Thanks for all of that info Fastocker.

When you do clear over it, what temperature do you cure at? Do you lower it at all when working with this stuff?

Fastocker

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 05:58:50 AM »
Awesome, Thanks for all of that info Fastocker.

When you do clear over it, what temperature do you cure at? Do you lower it at all when working with this stuff?

Depends on the clear you're using.  I've been using NIC's Clear Vision (385-400F).  PBTP glass clear cures at 340F and there's also the diamond acrylic clear which cures at 325F.  I normally cure at the recommended temps but I make sure I don't leave them in the oven for too long.

Again, I don't think it's absolutely necessary to clear over the graphics once they're dry unless you're really harsh on pedals.  I've done little test panels with the Pulsar decals and could NOT scrape them off with my fingernails after they had set properly.  But if you really want the durability of a clearcoat, maybe try the glass clear -- the graphics should certainly hold up at 340F.

BTW, I found out you can sand and buff clear powdercoat.  I did a pedal early on with the Pulsar stuff and clearcoated it.  It came out a bit orange peeled in one corner so I shot a second coat of clear . . . and then a third.  I wasn't happy with the results so rather than strip the whole thing, I started block sanding the box with 800 grit paper.  That smoothed everything out nicely, then went to 1200 grit, then 1500 grit and then finished up with 2000 grit.  Hit it with my little orbital buffer and some compound and . . . voila!  It looks like a glass sheet now . . . gorgeous but waaaay too much work to do on a regular basis.
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irmcdermott

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 08:26:57 AM »
Thanks again! I'll probably not clear coat and test the waters there. I use Columbia Coatings powder just because their warehouse is 20 minutes from my house and I can pick up there instead of paying for shipping.

Just ordered the laminator from amazon, and the Pulsar starter kit from Mouser (because the Pulsar folks are out until 11/7).

Another question, attached is a graphic I would like to attempt eventually for when I finish my Doppelganger. In your experience, for something this large, would it be beneficial to break up the graphic, or just try and do one full faced decal? This probably won't be the first one I attempt :)

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 08:41:10 AM »
I'll be interested in see what the others say. In my experience once it's down it down, there isn't any play room like with waterside decals. The bigger the decal the harder it would seem (I haven't done a large one yet) if it were me I would do it in sections, upper, lower and center logo. Please keep us updated on your experience and growing pains :)
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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2012, 08:49:18 AM »
i would definitely break it up into sections.  the larger the decal the more likely part of it will float away in the water bath, especially when there is no contiguous decal piece connecting everything.  but then again, i've never replaced any gears in my machine so ymmv.

and i agree with jim: once it's down, you ain't moving it.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 08:51:57 AM by Haberdasher »
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Fastocker

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 09:00:01 AM »
I didn't realize Mouser carried the Pulsar stuff . . . . good to know.

That graphic may be a bit challenging for your first attempt -- you may want to break that one up.  Is that a 1590-DD sized box?  If so, that's a fairly large area.  With the Pulsar system, you'll have to create a 1/2-inch thick border around the entire graphic . . . so you'll barely fit one graphic onto a sheet of transfer paper.  Also remember, you need a B/W laser printer to use the system.

Are you planning on white graphics for that one?  Again, I've found white to be a bit tougher to work with . . . it seems to want to break up a bit easier when dipped in the water.  Satin silver looks 'almost' like white and seems to hold together much better when you're separating the graphic from the transfer paper (in the water).

Jimmybjj (and Keefe) posted good points as I was typing this -- there's no sliding the graphic around to position it like with waterslide decals . . . once it's down, it's down.  I usually put markers in pot holes or switch holes or create some other visual reference to help align the graphic on larger pedals.  The red vibe I did in the other post was one transfer and it was challenging to get right.  Smaller boxes (125B or whatever) are much easier.

So . . . for a first attempt, I'd probably break that one up into sections as the others have said.
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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 09:12:57 AM »
Here's another trick that helps with larger graphics -- I'll try to explain this as best I can . . .

Get some clear acetate paper . . . some decently thick stuff like people use to make clear report covers or overheads or whatever.  Something that is thicker or sturdier than normal paper but you can still see through.  Then cut out a square hole in the clear sheet that's a little larger than the graphic -- use this as a frame.

Then, once the graphic is out of the water and dry, carefully tape the graphic over the frame (color side up, black side down) so that anything that gets transferred is in the opening of the frame.  This makes the transfer nice and sturdy and it gives you something to grab as you're lowering the graphic onto the box.  Then just spray the adhesive from underneath and apply it to the box.

I messed a few things up when I first started using the Pulsar system -- there's definitely a learning curve.  But it's not super difficult and you'll really be impressed by the results when you get the technique down.
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Haberdasher

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 09:27:04 AM »
I agree the results are impressive.  my echo base has text on it that looks so cool with the silver holo foil on it.  there's no way to photograph how awesome it is, you just have to see it.

fwiw, i use a color laser printer.  it works.  i have gotten good results multiple times.  but maybe that's why i seem to have a harder time with it than some....I don't know.
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Fastocker

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 10:59:42 AM »
Yep, a color laser printer does work . . . I should have stated that more clearly.  I actually use a color laser myself (Samsung) -- I set the print quality to high and there are also some settings in the print settings pop-up window that prompt me to make all text black, enhance black print, etc. (I can't remember the exact settings). I check all of those print enhancements to do the darkest, most vivid black printing.

You can also do full multi-color graphics with Pulsar -- my Samsung laser doesn't exactly print bright, vivid colors so the results are OK but not outstanding.  There are a few extra steps with multi-color graphics but I've done a few.  Inkjet printers do nicer colors on decal paper but, of course, you can't apply those to dark colors.

I'm trying to develop a technique for doing two (or even three) different color foils on one box.  Would be cool to do white letters with a black shadow . . . or gold letters with a white outline or something.  If you guys have any tricks please post them.  Also -- if you come up with a new and helpful technique, email your find to Frank at Pulsar and he'll give you some free supplies.
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irmcdermott

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Re: Pulsar Decal Pro Questions
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2012, 11:02:20 AM »
Thanks for all of the info guys. I checked Mouser when I was looking for the laminator because Pulsar was sold out and listed Mouser and Digikey as their two dealers. Well they sell that laminator for $130, amazon had it for $70. When I saw their store was closed until next week I just thought I'd check Mouser. I think all Mouser sells of theirs is the starter kit. Haven't checked to see if they sell the individual things.

Again, I'm excited to test these waters, I'll try the silver satin first since I think that might look cool against black. And I'm definitely going to break it up into sections and take my time. I'm not even sure if the Doppelganger will fit in the 1590DD, that's on its way too so I can test it (free gift for helping out a friend, so if it doesn't work there is no money loss on my end).

You guys are great. Thanks again.