Decal Printing


Well-Known Member
Dec 24, 2003
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I am going to give decal printing a crack and after visiting Tango Papa am a bit confused. He speaks of using Alps dry ink printers although they are no longer manufactured. I've seen two types of waterslide film InkJet and laser.

Please share your experiences. I'm especially interested in hearing from anyone who has used the laser printer type as I have a Color Laser.

Also, most of the people here vouch for Future floor wax as a sealant. if I use that, do I still need the liquid setting compound?



Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2002
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I use Coreldraw and the ALPS dry ink printer. Coreldraw is awesome, but the ALPS printer is like owning a mid 1960's English sportscar... it is VERY finicky, requires lots of cleaning and TLC, the cartridges are getting harder to find, and it is slow.

HOWEVER: It prints red/blue/yellow/black/WHITE/SILVER/and GOLD.

There is no other way to print white gold and silver, period.

The problem is that the printers are no longer made. If you are really serious about decals, the best bet, is to buy a really cheap MD-1000 on ebay (the used ones all have problems, trust me, I learned the hard way), and trade it in to ALPS for a factory re-built MD-5000. They will sell you one on a trade basis only for $250.00.

Also, join the yahoo ALPS group before buying anything, and the guys there will help you decide if you really want to take the plunge. They are really great!!.

I dove into making decals as I have several other hobbies where I use them: a model train layout, heavily kit bashed model planes, slot cars, and build plank on hull model boats.



Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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I have made my own decals using an injet printer.

I used Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic spray to seal them because that's what the directions that came with the decal paper said to use.

It takes several coats to seal the ink so it doesn't bleed.

I have been told that if you use a color laser printer, the color isn't ink so won't react with the water. I believe that many people use Microsol Liquid Decal Film to seal the laser decals.

You can also print the decal "master" onto photo paper and use a color copier to print the decals (same as a color laser).

The decals on these I made myself.


Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
Jan 18, 2009
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Washington DC
I'm with Astronboy:
I've been making my own decal for almost 10 years, Alps is the best way so far... JI'm hearing talk about a panasonic dry ink transfer printer (same size 1/2" ribbons as the alps) but haven't been able to get any info on projected roll out time:(
I'm also running an MD-1000 alps... finiky, time consuming but as stated the ONLY way to get white, Gold and Silver foil on decals.

I've also found the papers from Micro-Mark are superior to those "cheaper" 8.5" x 11" precut sheets from ALL the other sources on the net. I Think I've thrown away about 500.00 buck worth of damaged, crappy paper's recieved for several of the on-line "waterslide decal paper sources". Be very selective on this part of your investment. Micro-mark is more expensive. but ever single sheet is first rate, great queality and packaged to survive shipping.

Ink jet papers have come a long way in the last year or so but they just do not compare with the alps system. blue for instance come out WAY off the intended color mark alway to the purple side.
PS some colors will not print on any printer. Ture oranges are a major problem. Yea... You can get a redish orange sorta but NO ture orange..its a RGB /CYMK rip problem.
Hope this helps a little


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Feb 22, 2003
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I'm going to be investing in an Alps printer before the year is out, and I would certainly recommend using the Microsol Liquid Decal Film to cover any decal that you create, or purchase online.

When Gordon sent me the extra Little Joe 2 General Dynamics decals, I immediately coated them with Microsol Liquid Decal Film and set them aside for a day.

If for no other reason, it toughens them up and makes sliding and placement that much easier.



Active Member
Mar 10, 2004
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Since i am building clones and a few night flight/sub-mach rockets that may or may not survive for long (between night flights and a 4 year old son) i do a good paint job but for the decals i just use the Testors decal kit.
yeah i know that they do not reproduce all of the colors and details as well as the ALPS and custom ordered ones do.
For my rocket names and to put my name on my rockets it works fine. putting your name on rockets insures that they are returned to you when they are lost during large club launches.