Micro-Sol and Micro-Set with home-printed decals

Discussion in 'Techniques' started by neil_w, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Jul 10, 2018 #1

    neil_w

    neil_w

    neil_w

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    I am full of questions lately. Here's another.

    My home-printed decal adventure is beginning. It's been probably 2 years since I touched a waterslide so I'm trying to get back in the swing, in addition to learning the home-printing game. I'm using Bare Metal Foil clear inkjet paper, and clear-coating with Krylon UV-resistant gloss clear.

    Normally I use Micro-Sol and Micro-Set with decals. I was re-reading the instructions and it says that Micro-Set would not work as a remover if the decals are "overcoated". I would assume that includes my gloss-coated decals, or does it?

    Of course, removing the decals is not yet my concern (and hopefully never will be). Instead, it made me wonder whether my usage needed to change given the use of gloss-coated decals. Micro-Set *under* the decal should be fine, but what about on top, or of using Micro-Sol on top? Will it help? I'm of course hoping to achieve a "painted-on" look to the greatest extent possible.

    For what it's worth, the first test decal I tried worked really well as a normal waterslide, although I didn't try the Micro-Sol or Micro-Set yet. I did a single heavy coat of clear on top, and they handled well and the edges don't seem too thick.
     
  2. Jul 11, 2018 #2

    Brainlord Mesomorph

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  3. Jul 11, 2018 #3

    neil_w

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    Works great with decals supplied in kits, will see how it goes here. I've been reading some more, it could be that the Micro-Sol really isn't needed for straightforward applications like this one. But I always use some Micro-Set when first laying down the decal. That should still work fine here.

    Good to know. I wanted to start with a known quantity, and the Bare Metal Foil paper seemed to have a good reputation. I'll look at that stuff on Ebay in the future, sure would be nice to pay less.
     
  4. Jul 13, 2018 #4

    neil_w

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    Here's one data point. This decal was clear-coated with one heavy coat of clear (as per your recommendation in another thread), applied with Micro-set, and then given two separate applications of Micro-sol afterwards.
    decal-microsol.JPG

    Observations:
    1. Certainly the Micro-sol did no harm.
    2. It also definitely didn't do much; the clear-coat definitely is protecting the decal from the effects of the Micro-sol.
    3. Maybe, just maybe, the edge of the decal is ever so slightly less prominent after the two Micro-sol coats. The decal ended up a little thicker than I would like; I'm going to try a less-heavy coat of clear next time.
    4. This is a clear decal on the Rusto "Ultra-Matte" paint. It seems to have laid down on it smoothly with no silvering, although perhaps hard to tell with a light-colored background. The gloss of the decal is still contrasting with the matte paint; that'll be fixed when flat clear is applied to everything.
    So, the results are really inconclusive. Given the apparent lack of any harm, I'll keep using the Micro-set to apply the decals, and at least one coat of Micro-sol afterwards, in case it helps even a little.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2018 #5

    Brainlord Mesomorph

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    ALERT ALERT:

    I've just noticed some of my clear custom decals are yellowing(!) after a few months.
    Iv'e been using Rusto Clearcoat and it seems the ones with the heavier coats are yellowing more.

    pics later..
     
  6. Jul 14, 2018 #6

    KevinM

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    What kind of "ink" are you using - laser or ink-jet? I wonder if you could skip the top-coat sealer with laser-printed decals.

    I've only ever used Micro-sol before to make decals melt-down onto surface irregularities. Are you hoping it will dissolve the clear carrier somewhat so the only part left is the black text?
     
  7. Jul 14, 2018 #7

    neil_w

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    For what it's worth... Rusto clearcoat is not UV-resistant, but I do not know if UV yellowing is a reasonable explanation after only a few months. I'm using the Krylon UV-resistant clear, and *hoping* there is no yellowing.

    Where are you storing the rockets?

    *Allegedly* you do not need to clear-coat the laser decals. I might buy them next time and just print them at work (only have an inkjet here at home). Of course the finished rocket would be clear-coated, so the decals will not be directly exposed to the elements.

    Something like that. I would like the clear parts of the decal to disappear as close to 100% as possible. GIven that (a) my paint job is not exactly perfectly smooth, and (b) the clear-coated decals are a bit on the thick side, I'd like to give the decals every chance to really conform to the surface.

    The last decals I tried tonight, I put on the Micro-sol while the decals are still wet (the previous test decal was after it had dried). It looks like it may be doing a better job this way; certainly, I'm seeing very good conformance of the decal to the not-quite-smooth paint surface. I'll post some more pictures when I have something.
     
  8. Jul 16, 2018 #8

    Micromeister

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    fear Not! I've been using Krylon UV clears for over a decade without the slightest hint of yellowing. when the products first came out I clear coated a bunch of samples (tubes and fin materials) and hung them outside in direct southern sunlight for over 3 years. they are still out there now almost 11years and still not a bit of yellow:)
    If you are not using Krylon 1305 gloss and 1309 matte UV clears your finishes will show the difference in a short amount of time.
     
  9. Jul 24, 2018 #9

    jeffk813

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    I second Micromeister's 'comments about the Krylon UV clears. I too have used them for clear coating for a LONG time and have seen absolutely zero yellowing effects.

    For those who may not be aware: Decals printed on a laser printer do NOT need to be clear coated to seal them. InkJet printed decals generally do. This is because MOST InkJet inks are water-soluble and if you do not seal them after printing, the second you drop them into water to apply them, the ink will begin to dissolve. Laser "ink" is actually a micro-polymer toner powder that gets melted and fused onto the surface of the paper, and is not water soluble, hence does not have this problem. You can clear coat a laser printed decal if you like to provide a bit more resistance to scratching and flaking that sometimes happens if the decals are not stored properly. My method is if I'm printing a black-only decal, I will do it on my laser printer and will not clear coat the decal itself to save a little thickness and help the decal blend better with the surface. Whether I clear coat the decals themselves, I always clear coat the model after application for durability.
     
  10. Jul 24, 2018 #10

    neil_w

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    On my second round of decals, I applied a slightly less heavy coat of Krylon. I found some good evidence that the Micro-Sol was having an effect on these. So that's good. I think the Krylon is still dulling the effects somewhat. Non-clearcoated laser decals should experience the dissolving effect of the Micro-Sol somewhat more thoroughly.

    I'm still debating whether I should try out some laser decal paper, but I'd need to print it at work, which doesn't thrill me. In the meantime I seem to be getting in a reasonable groove with my inkjet decals.
     
  11. Jul 30, 2018 #11

    John Brohm

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    Hi Neil;

    I use Bare Metal Foil's Expert's Choice decal film for my homemade decals, and for the most part I've had pretty good luck. I like this film because it's very thin (which helps with that "painted on" look), yet fairly durable. It can handle some robust handling without tearing or falling apart while placing a decal. Good stuff, at least for me.

    I always use Micro-Set for setting my decals, but rarely do I use Micro-Sol. So long as the model's surface is reasonably "glossy", Micro-set is usually sufficient. Micro-Sol comes in handy when one has to nestle the decal down on a rough or matte surface. But as you seem to be finding, Micro-Sol needs access to the native surface to dissolve through and settle the decal. If the decal is over-coated, especially if the overcoat is thick, then Micro-Sol's ability to work is somewhat neutered.

    I print my decals on an HP Laser Jet Pro M277, a desktop laser printer. In conjunction with Expert's Choice laser decal film the results have been fairly consistent and good. I find that the laser toner binds to the film surface reasonably well, although with too much handling the toner can flake or scratch. That would encourage the use of an overcoat, so depending on the final finish I'm looking for, I'll either overcoat with a gloss or a matte. But the starting point should be a glossy surface to set the decals, and that usually obviates the need for Micro-Sol.

    In the Space Transporter America example, below, all of the markings were laser-printed except for the blue windshield (that was painted on), and the panel lines - those were taken from a sheet of MicroScale stripes. The sheen of the printed decals and the surrounding paint was about the same, so I decided not to overcoat the decals and applied them directly. Once placed and dried, the model was over-coated with a lusterless flat spray.


    Forward End.jpg

    In the case of the OTL 7-a, below, the model was finished a little differently. The model was painted with a slightly glossy white lacquer, and the sheen of the paint and the sheen of the decals was different. Laser printed decals usually are matte in finish, so I first over-coated the printed sheet with a gloss coat to try and balance the sheen. These were then placed on the model, and once dried the model was then over-coated with a lusterless flat. All the markings on the OTL were laser printed with the exception of the red squares and stripes - these were painted.

    OTL 7A.jpg

    Anyway, this has been fairly typical of my laser printing experience. I realize you've been using inkjet prints, so not over-coating isn't an option in that case. If you have the opportunity to have your decals laser printed, I would encourage it, as I find the results to be very sharp.

    Best of luck with your decals, and great job on your complicated IRIS-T build!

    John
    NAR #78048
     
  12. Jul 30, 2018 #12

    neil_w

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    Thanks for the thoughts. Those models look fantastic.

    Although I feel like I've done OK so far, I definitely have a lot to learn as far as my home-printed decals go.

    I think it's likely that I made a mistake on the IRIS-T by not gloss-coating before applying the decals. Although *many* of them seem to have laid down really nicely, some are maybe not so perfect in that regard. Still won't know for sure until completely finished and the whole model is flat-coated.

    And speaking of which, I confess it never occurred to me to try to match the sheen of the decals to the paint. I have assumed the final clear coat will even that all up. We shall see. In any case I'll keep that in mind for the future.

    At some point I may try the laser-printed decals, but at this point I figure I ought to use up the inkjet stuff I've already bought, given how expensive it is.
     
  13. Jul 31, 2018 #13

    KevinM

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    Ok, I'll bite! I've never tried to even out the sheen on my decals either. I'm not suggesting that there's something wrong with doing it, but what's the reason?
     
  14. Jul 31, 2018 #14

    neil_w

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    I was thinking it would just maximize the chances of having matched sheen at the end... but maybe I misunderstood what John was saying.

    John, did I have that right?
     
  15. Jul 31, 2018 #15

    John Brohm

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    HI Neil;

    That's correct; just trying to make the decal film disappear in the final result. It's best to experiment a bit; sometimes it matters, sometimes not, depending on the film one is using.

    John
    NAR #78048
     
  16. Aug 3, 2018 #16

    Brainlord Mesomorph

    Brainlord Mesomorph

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    It never occurred to me to not match the sheen of the decals to the paint. ;)

    Different finishes of clearcoat don't totally cover each other.

    On the Cydonia, I was doing a flat paint job and flat clearcoat on the decals. At the very end, I want to put high gloss just over the windshield. I've never tried to mask clearcoat before. It ran terribly! All over the front of the ship. I had to sand it off, mask the other way and put more flat on top of that. The final result was sort of satin.

    (and yes, I left that off the build thread)

    BTW: I've started a serious scientific experiment into decal yellowing. (with controls and everything) it'll be a few weeks before I have results.
     

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