How do you all go on with the outside of the box once your pcb's are ready?
I know there are tons of diffrent ways to execute this and it would be fun to know how and what you're all doing.
I've been planning on doing water slides with inkjet now for a while, can anyone recommend a brand for papers etc or alternatives?
Currently im printing decals at my work as i work with signs and car graphics on a daily basis.
Thing is the machine i got there only prints spot colors and they are beeing printed on vinyl.
Quality is great but they are quite thick and i can't do any detailed graphics really.
I top these off with laser cutted plexiglass that i made a custom order for.
End results usually looks like this:
Awesome! Actually i bought a pack of these like 6 months ago.
When they arrived they were quite "unflat" or how to say it haha.
Haven't had a printer up untill now and they're not going through the printer becuase of that, they get stuck. I did get one through but the print quality was horrible. i tried applying it to a raw alu finished box, let it cure over night and when i woke up it had curled away from the box and had no adhesive at all.
Although i have read through the comments on the seller and it actually has great reviews, might be i got a bad batch so a week ago i reordered the same thing...
But tell me how it goes and what setting you use on the printer etc!
I've never had a 'bad batch' and i've bought from various sellers and often go for the cheapest. The bad quality prints I used to get was from the software so that might be worth checking (I use Magix graphic designer) Also printer settings, make sure it's set to photo and glossy paper.
Make sure you're aware of the two types of waterslide paper too.
Transparent for applying on light coulours
White for applying on darker colours.
Here are three boxes i finished with water slide decals. Had them printed on a very good laser colour printer which I no longer have access to, have since bought a few inkjet paper to try with my home printer but haven't had a go yet, quite skeptical though...
Also had some printed on vinyl but it doesn't achieve the same sharpness the waterslide decals yeld and the image can be slightly pixelated at closer inspection. My SHO was finished with one of those labels, can take a close up photo for comparison if anyone cares.
I've done 7 or 8 pedals with waterslide decals and inkjet printer. I just bought whatever cheap brand they were selling at the bigbox office supply megastore.
I am a total non-craftsy non-artistic idiot and I've never had even the slightest problem with the waterslide process, and that is exactly the kind of thing I should totally mess up. I have zero problems soldering or following layouts or putting in the wrong or reversed components or anything like that because my mind just works good that way.
But when it comes to enclosures I do everything wrong. I drill holes in the wrong places, I mess up spray painting due to lousy technique or being too impatient and spraying too heavy a coat or not waiting long enough to dry, I buy colors I think look cool but later realize they are ugly, I get the wrong enclosure size. I'm just horrible, man. Anything that involves measuring, space/color visualization, or hand coordination in an arty or craftsy or DIY way, I screw up. I built a bookcase once, all the shelves canted to the right although oddly the case itself did not. It fell apart after six months. I'm that bad.
So if I have no problems with waterslide decals at all, I'm sure you can do it easily.
I just have some generic templates for enclosures I got from the web somewhere, and then I use GIMP to do the graphics. I size the decal to cover the entire top (or side). After I print the decal I let it sit for an hour. Then I mist it with a really light layer of clearcoat, I think it's just some generic poly I had lying around. Then I hit it with another light layer. Just enough so it doesn't look pebbled. Then I leave it over night. Next day I cut the decal to the right side, put some water in the bowl, let the decal sit for about two minutes, wet the pedal and apply. You can kind of push on the decal a little to see if it is ready to slide off. I don't use soap or any chemical decal stuff. Just water. It will slide around easily and you plenty of time to place it and get rid of any bubbles. Then just let it sit for 5-6 hours and spray another few layers of clear coat over it for additional protection if desired.
I suspect that if you have a particularly colorful and detailed large design it might not print out so well. But I haven't had a problem with anything I've done and I've used some colorful and somewhat detailed pictures (not photos). It would have to be something where pretty much it would look odd printed instead of painted anyway.
Well after pretty much ruining the first box I tried I've managed to get the second one pretty much as I intended it to be. With the first one I followed the instructions from the pack which included putting the thing in an oven for 10 minutes. Most people would have the common sense to ignore such an instruction, but not me. To cut a long story short the paint melted in the oven and caused the decal to shrink up, luckily I noticed the problem before paint dripped everywhere and ruined the oven. Decals - 1, Rick - 0.
This time I threw the instruction in the bin and just went for it. The decal paper doesn't seem to like being printed on so it works best if you set the printer settings to 'Best photo quality' and paper settings as 'glossy/premium', I found that the ink just didn't dry no matter how long I left it for as it doesn't seem to sink into the paper, so after an hour I misted it with Rustoleum 'Crystal Clear', like dodido said I used just enough to give it a smooth coat. I used a hair dryer to cure the clear paint then left it for 30 mins, after that it was good to use.
Doing the waterslide is actually really easy, leave the decal in warm water for 30 secs and then line it up with the top of the box and pull the paper out from underneath, again like dodido said there's plenty of time to get it into place and I used a piece of card to smooth out any air bubbles. After leaving it to dry out for a few hours I gave it a couple of coats of the Crystal Clear and left it overnight. It's not the most detailed decal but I only wanted something simple for this one:
Looks really good to me, actually i got my new batch of those 20pcs for £10 of ebay in the mail today!
those ones had a glossy finish compared to the old pack from the same store on ebay, those were dull and i never managed to print on them no matter what settings.
this new pack is flat when in the plastic bag they shipped in but just a minute outside of the pack the paper has curled pretty badly. chopped a A4 into 3 pieces and manually set the printer setting for the sizes.
first one got stuck due to the curliness of it and i thought, sigh.. here we go again.
secend went better after i tried to make it more straight by hand before putting it into the printer.
i goes through the printer without any issues. setting where glossy photo paper and color set to best/high.
results is suberb, really sharp edges. haven't had the chance to clearcoat it yet but will do tomorrow as well as apply it to a white box. did you have any issues with the paper twisting and curling like crazy?
The first sheet I took out to look at did curl up after it'd been out for a couple of minutes, after that I only took it out of the pack when I was ready to print. I think you're right about the moisture dodido, when I put mine in the water bath it curled up straight away and I had to smooth it out.
Yep, when you put them in the water they curl up instantly and you have to hold them down to keep the whole thing underwater. If you leave them for a bit though, they straighten back out. That's actually how I time when to take them out. When they flatten out again is when I apply.
Not that the timing really makes much difference. Probably any time between 30 seconds and 3 minutes works fine. Maybe the glue is not at absolute peak strength but then you hit it with clearcoat which will bond it to the pedal anyway.
You know those screen protectors for phones? I cannot apply one of those to save my life, whether the glue and squeegee kind or just the stick on ones. I always get bubbles, it's never straight, and there's always like a cat hair or some dust that gets trapped. Still never had a single problem with the water slide decals. Maybe I should just use a blank water slide decal as a screen protector.
It doesn't sound like the curling is an issue for you guys once it doesn't catch you by surprise. But if it is, the big box office supply stores (Office Max or Staples for me here in the US) have them in 8 x 11. Maybe the bigger paper sizes or that it's possibly not coming from China via post might help.
So tonight i made my first real attempt at these water slides for £10, 20pcs A4.
Clearcoated it this morning before i got of to work, applied it to the pedal after i got home.
Really satisfied with the result! And yeah, i think it has to do with humidity.. lets hope it gets better when its warmer outside!
heres the result anyway, now this only need a few runs of clearcoat!
Question is tho, then to drill the holes? Im guessing after the clearcoat....
I generally drill the holes before applying the decal, I've tried dealing first and clear coating but only succeeded in ripping it back off again when drilling. I've found it best to print a drill template first, then drill then decal, the drill holes make it easier to squeeze out any trapped air or water. Then a few clear coats and cut the holes out with a very sharp craft knife.
If it wasn't for this website I would definitely have a life.
Yeah I drilled the enclosures first too, definitely makes it easier to get rid of any bubbles. I found an easy way to get rid of the decal covering the holes was to cut a cross in the one then use a circular file to gently remove the excess, it gave me a nice clean hole.
I drill the holes first. Then apply decal. Then when decal is dry cut out holes with exacto knife and/or file. Then clear coat. Edges wind up a little ragged but it's either on the underside of the pedal or hidden by the nuts on the pots or switch so no one will ever see.
I think in your situation, I would drill first. Theoretically, I think clearcoating first has a better chance of working as your decal will be protected and the clearcoat will make sure the the decal doesn't get loose from the vibrations and pushing and tearing of the drill and whatnot.
But if it doesn't work, then you are stuck with a bad decal + clearcoat and have to sand it all down. Whereas if you drill first and it messes up the decal, it's not that big a deal to print another.
I usually just hold on to the pedal with one hand and use a hand electric drill for the holes, which I think would almost for sure screw up the decal. But if you have a nice table drill and clamps then I bet you can get away with it and it could be cleaner than trying to cut holes using an exacto knife.
Forgot to add-- I cut out the holes before clearcoating because if the hole I cut ends up on the outside of the pedal a bit, then the clearcoat will cover that edge so it can't peel off from there. Also, I guess I just figured it would be easier to cut just the decal than the decal + a couple layers of clearcoat. Don't know if I said that right, hopefully that makes sense.
But it probably doesn't matter because you can cut the edges pretty clean most of the time and like I said any edge will be covered by the nut/washer and held in place anyway so not really a way for it to peel.
I like to lay the clearcoat on somewhat thick so it has a bit of depth to it. Not guitar finish thick, but enough to get a little of that feel. I suppose it looks kind of odd on a pedal but I like it.