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Re: Z Scale Decals

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  • jim_manley_alpha_six
    Hi Paula, One of our very own co-moderators, Michael Hilliard, produceZ Zecals on an ALPS printer, which is one of the few printer models that is capable of
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 30, 2004
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      Hi Paula,

      One of our very own co-moderators, Michael Hilliard, produceZ "Zecals"
      on an ALPS printer, which is one of the few printer models that is
      capable of printing white lettering on clear decal materials (these
      printers are no longer manufactured, but reconditioned models are
      available via ePray and other on-line and phone/mail-order sourceZ
      starting around $500 ~ $600). OtherZ use the smaller of the N scale
      decals produced by commmercial model railroad decal suppliers.

      The techniques for producing your own decalZ include digitizing photos
      of examples (prototypes, i.e., actual locos, rolling stock,
      structures, etc.) of what you're interested in (via a scanner or
      digital camera, or downloading from railroad WWW sites like
      http://www.railpictures.net or http://www.railimages.com ), or drawing
      what you'd like from scratch, or combining these by tracing over photo
      examples in a "vector graphics" program (e.g., Corel Draw, Adobe
      Illustrator, etc.). Once you have what you want isolated (e.g.,
      copied from source photos and pasted into a separate file in another
      window) or drawn/traced, if it's in a vector graphics program, you can
      then scale it to any size you want (almost always smaller for Z). If
      you only work with a raster or bit-mapped graphics program (e.g.,
      Microsloth Paint, that comes with Windoze in the Accessories submenu
      under the Programs menu), then if you try to resize a selected area,
      it will become distorted as the "dots" that make up a bit map wind up
      getting scrunched together, or stretched apart.

      Once you have selected and scaled what you want to appear as decals,
      then it's just a matter of sending the file to the printer (don't
      forget to save it, first!), which must have either a clear or white
      decal sheet loaded (available in small quantities for a couple of
      dollars per sheet, or in quantities of about 10 - 50 sheets for less
      than a dollar a sheet - more than you will likely ever use, though)
      from many hobby shops, on-line, or phone/mail-order suppliers (note
      that there are different decal sheets for laser vs. ink-jet printers).

      Finally, you cut out and trim the decals down to just a bit larger
      than the printed areas, soak them in water, and slide the backing off,
      very carefully positioning the decal with flat tweezers, a toothpick,
      small paintbrush, etc. There are special brush-on solutions (e.g.,
      Microscale Sol) which will dissolve the clear material on which decals
      are printed after they have dried, thereby leaving behind only the
      printed portions, as if printed directly on the surface of the item
      being decaled. Some people coat the entire object being decaled with
      a very thin layer of clear dull-coat (satin) paint (or even
      Future/Klear floor wax!) before and after decaling, so that the edges
      of the decals won't be visible.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to ask - that's what we're
      here for (well, most of the time, for some of uZ! :)

      All Z BeZt,

      Jim


      --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "pbartonluttenton"
      <pbartonluttenton@y...> wrote:
      > Anyone know of a source for Z scale decals or a technique for making
      > one's own? My word processor balks at making a size small enough
      > for z scale.
      >
      > Paula
    • Michael Hilliard
      Hi Paula, Jim, and all, The following is a summary of how I make Zecals, It s part of a e-mail I sent a customer. I edited out the customers name for their
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 30, 2004
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        Hi Paula, Jim, and all,

        The following is a summary of how I make Zecals, It's part of a e-mail I sent a customer. I edited out the customers name for their privacy. The following process applies to bit maps, .bmp, Photos, Jpegs, Tiffs, etc. or scannned artwork. As Jim stated, the end result must be a vector drawing that can be manipulated scaled and and printed in multiple parts/colors.

        Here is what I have to do to create sharp defined printed decals with fine detail in 1-220 scale with what I have to work with so far (a picture in this case): I have to scan the logo "So and So" sent, send it to a photo program to convert it to a bitmap, then import this .bmp to my drawing program. The drawing program can not convert it to a vector drawing by itself, auto draw draws the jagged edges of the bit map, or fuzzy lines of a photo, instead I have to first scale it down to a workable size, then magnify it by 1600X and trace the logo dot by dot to get the nice clean lines instead of the jagged bitmap lines. I have to draw several different layers by hand, dot by dot, to get the colors to fill correctly into the "paths". I will have to do this for the border and the hawk head. The head is actually 3 layers & 8 different tracings/"paths. This is much like how clip art is made. For the lettering, it looks like a common font, I need to find the correct font (I have thousands)
        and scale the lettering to the bitmap size to fit the logo. For the "So and So" lettering with the black borders, I'll have to convert the font to "paths". These "paths" are the outlines of the font as originally drew by the font's maker. Paths have a line and a fill and can be different colors and the line can be as thin as a hairline or as thick as... This said, this is how I get the black border, by making the fill color one color and the lines black. I'm aware some fonts come this way, but I can make "any" font have a different color outline and fill. After all this is done and finnal, I delete the bitmap image (or photo), then I can scale it to 1-220 add the appropriate reporting marks in a yet to be said color, or white. Next it goes to microsoft publisher (that's a .pub file type) where I seperate the different layers (which I can't do with a photo file) of the logo drawings onto perfectly lined up separate pages and do lots of copy and pasting to layout the pages and put as
        many decals on a page as I can fit. Now it's ready to print. Everything first gets a white background so they will show up on any background color well, then the colors and black are printed, and finnally in this case a second layer of white is printed where the hawk head is white.

        This is how most custom and small run decal makers produce their artwork for printing. I can print "print ready" artwork (if it's in a format I can open) starting at $20. and it goes up from there for custom work. I have several different stock sets available with more to come. If you let me know what you are looking for, I may have it already or have the logo artwork and reporting marks already. Let me know if I can be of service.

        By the way everyone, my hand has healed well, and I think I solved my "spooffing" problem, I installed a new program called Spy Sweeper, It found 107 possible hacks!!! All gone now <smile>


        Michael Hilliard
        P.O. Box 273
        Wilton, CT 06897
        choochooterrain@...


        jim_manley_alpha_six <jim_manley@...> wrote:Hi Paula,

        One of our very own co-moderators, Michael Hilliard, produceZ "Zecals"
        on an ALPS printer, which is one of the few printer models that is
        capable of printing white lettering on clear decal materials (these
        printers are no longer manufactured, but reconditioned models are
        available via ePray and other on-line and phone/mail-order sourceZ
        starting around $500 ~ $600). OtherZ use the smaller of the N scale
        decals produced by commmercial model railroad decal suppliers.

        The techniques for producing your own decalZ include digitizing photos
        of examples (prototypes, i.e., actual locos, rolling stock,
        structures, etc.) of what you're interested in (via a scanner or
        digital camera, or downloading from railroad WWW sites like
        http://www.railpictures.net or http://www.railimages.com ), or drawing
        what you'd like from scratch, or combining these by tracing over photo
        examples in a "vector graphics" program (e.g., Corel Draw, Adobe
        Illustrator, etc.). Once you have what you want isolated (e.g.,
        copied from source photos and pasted into a separate file in another
        window) or drawn/traced, if it's in a vector graphics program, you can
        then scale it to any size you want (almost always smaller for Z). If
        you only work with a raster or bit-mapped graphics program (e.g.,
        Microsloth Paint, that comes with Windoze in the Accessories submenu
        under the Programs menu), then if you try to resize a selected area,
        it will become distorted as the "dots" that make up a bit map wind up
        getting scrunched together, or stretched apart.

        Once you have selected and scaled what you want to appear as decals,
        then it's just a matter of sending the file to the printer (don't
        forget to save it, first!), which must have either a clear or white
        decal sheet loaded (available in small quantities for a couple of
        dollars per sheet, or in quantities of about 10 - 50 sheets for less
        than a dollar a sheet - more than you will likely ever use, though)
        from many hobby shops, on-line, or phone/mail-order suppliers (note
        that there are different decal sheets for laser vs. ink-jet printers).

        Finally, you cut out and trim the decals down to just a bit larger
        than the printed areas, soak them in water, and slide the backing off,
        very carefully positioning the decal with flat tweezers, a toothpick,
        small paintbrush, etc. There are special brush-on solutions (e.g.,
        Microscale Sol) which will dissolve the clear material on which decals
        are printed after they have dried, thereby leaving behind only the
        printed portions, as if printed directly on the surface of the item
        being decaled. Some people coat the entire object being decaled with
        a very thin layer of clear dull-coat (satin) paint (or even
        Future/Klear floor wax!) before and after decaling, so that the edges
        of the decals won't be visible.

        If you have any other questions, feel free to ask - that's what we're
        here for (well, most of the time, for some of uZ! :)

        All Z BeZt,

        Jim


        --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "pbartonluttenton"
        <pbartonluttenton@y...> wrote:
        > Anyone know of a source for Z scale decals or a technique for making
        > one's own? My word processor balks at making a size small enough
        > for z scale.
        >
        > Paula



        "Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in Small DoseZ!



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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • tjamesd
        Where would a person find z scale size decals. I have the MakeMyModel small oil tank truck in mind. I don t know where to start looking. Any suggestions will
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 5, 2006
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          Where would a person find z scale size decals. I have the MakeMyModel
          small oil tank truck in mind. I don't know where to start looking.
          Any suggestions will be appreciated.
        • Loren Snyder
          Contact Robert Ray or Michael Hilliard on the forum. They both do decals. Loren [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 5, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Contact Robert Ray or Michael Hilliard on the forum. They both do decals.
            Loren

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • sgt_tim7
            I make custom Decals! But sounds like what you need is Testors Decal Kit from your local Hobby Store. This kit requires the use of an ordinary Inkjet printer
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 5, 2006
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              I make custom Decals!

              But sounds like what you need is Testors Decal Kit from your local
              Hobby Store. This kit requires the use of an ordinary Inkjet printer
              to print the decals on clear or white decal paper. The kit contains a
              few sheets of clear and white decal paper, instructions, and a can of
              decal set spray.

              The reason I suggest the Testors Decal Kit is due to the small amount
              of decals you need.

              I do make custom decals but in larger quantities.

              Try the Testors Decal Kit!

              Tim


              --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "tjamesd" <terandcar@...> wrote:
              >
              > Where would a person find z scale size decals. I have the
              MakeMyModel
              > small oil tank truck in mind. I don't know where to start looking.
              > Any suggestions will be appreciated.
              >
            • tjamesd
              Tim, Thank you. This is the type of information that I was seeking. I m dealing with very small items, in very small quantities and your suggestion sounds
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 5, 2006
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                Tim,

                Thank you. This is the type of information that I was seeking.

                I'm dealing with very small items, in very small quantities and your
                suggestion sounds reasonable.

                Terry



                --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "sgt_tim7" <sgt_tim1@...> wrote:

                > But sounds like what you need is Testors Decal Kit from your local
                > Hobby Store.

                > The reason I suggest the Testors Decal Kit is due to the small amount
                > of decals you need.

                > Tim
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