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Custom decals?

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Custom decals?
Posted by NSRailFan24 on Friday, March 16, 2018 5:45 PM

I want to make decals for a black undecorated engine for a fictional brand. Anyone know where I can buy one? None of the ones I've seen in other discussions work anymore.

Thanks!

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, March 19, 2018 12:01 PM

Rail Graphics closed.

This one still seems to active:

https://highballgraphics.com/

Seems to me I saw another firm with an ad in the latest MR.

This is a listing of decal sources, since they include Rail Graphics, we know it is not up to date, but it's a place to start:

http://www.greatdecals.com/Decals.html

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, March 19, 2018 12:15 PM

I have only used Rail Graphics since the early 1980s.

.

If anyone knows who can produce similar products, please let us all know.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by j. c. on Monday, March 19, 2018 12:18 PM

i belive tichy is now offering custom decals.

 

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, March 19, 2018 2:53 PM

j. c.

i belive tichy is now offering custom decals.

 

 

 

Tichy has had a problem with the lettering in white being VERY thick.  Until they figure out how to have decals without significant thickness, they're not on my list.

 

Kadee is doing decals:

https://kadee.com/htmbord/custom.htm

 

Microscale does them, also.  They do have a rather huge minimum, though--figure on spending a couple of hundred dollars.  I also think you're going to need your artwork ready to go, as in Adobe Illustrator files.  Don't know that for sure, though.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by Jimmy_Braum on Monday, March 19, 2018 3:22 PM

Circus city decals does work better than microscale. 

 

(My Model Railroad, My Rules) 

These are the opinions of a 26 year old, from the east end of, and modeling, the same section of the Wheeling and Lake Erie railway.  As well as a freelanced road (Austinville and Dynamite City railroad).

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Posted by thomas81z on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 9:46 AM
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 11:05 AM

Precision Design Co. makes custom decals and can provide artwork service:
http://pdc.ca/rr/custom_decals/

I have no personal experience. The owner Bill Brillinger is on another forum were a lot of members are pleased customers.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 2:36 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

Precision Design Co. makes custom decals and can provide artwork service:
http://pdc.ca/rr/custom_decals/

I have no personal experience. The owner Bill Brillinger is on another forum were a lot of members are pleased customers.
Regards, Volker

 

I've used him  He was pretty easy to work with, although I was supplying print ready work that didn't need any revision (I've done professional graphic design work). His decals are a bit thinner and fragile than some commercial products. They are also not like commercial ones were there's only a marginal amount of film around the print  so be prepared to trim close  Also found his whites to be a little thin and not completely opaque 

That said  I was pleased with his work  The clarity and sharpness were good  His turnaround time was great. I'll definitely use him again  

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Posted by hornblower on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 6:31 PM

If you are applying white letter decals to a black loco, it is pretty easy to make your own decals using white background decal paper. Using your favorite computer program, create a black rectangle large enough to fit all of your lettering.  Next, select your desired font and the color white for your lettering.  Type in your lettering over the black background rectangle and your ready to go!  Since your printer doesn't print white, it won't print anything where your lettering is to appear.  This allows the white background of the decal paper to show through your black background rectangle.  Cut out your decals, apply, clear coat and you've got it!

The same can be done for white letter decals over rolling stock/structures of colors other than black.  It just takes a bit more work to get your background rectangle color to match.

Hornblower

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 7:37 PM

Here is my question, I used Rail Graphics for my custom decals, multiple orders over nearly two decades.

He had no problem producing high quality decals in all colors including gold and white. 

The fine print was exceptional, as was other artwork, herolds, etc.

The decal film was thin, never any fading, etc.

So what equipment/printing method was he using that seems to escape even those at Kadee in their ability to offer custom decals?, especially in white? Without all the "limitations" Kadee lists on their web site?

Surely these "alps" printers are not the only way to print a white decal.

And as for cost, I never felt the prices at Rail Graphics were high, given that he would tune up your art work, always kept your artwork on file for future orders, etc. Or, maybe I just don't mind paying for quality.........

Sorry to see him go. I placed a big order right before he closed up.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:01 PM

I wonder about the business itself.  He probably isn't going to hop on his Gulfstream jet and shuttle between his home West Palm and Aspen, but surely it was more than a hobby that barely paid for itself. 

My order back in the 80's was quite reasonable.  I looked at his prices last year and did not order, but I think the minimum order was well under $100. 

How many people are freelancers?  How many send in second and third orders?  A lot of customers were probably like me, good for a single order.

I would think it would bring in some extra money for someone who wanted to work from home or was retired.  Seems like it would be a viable business for someone who needed supplemental income.

Having no idea what the equipment costs or his book of business, it is just speculation on my part.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:13 PM

BigDaddy

I wonder about the business itself.  He probably isn't going to hop on his Gulfstream jet and shuttle between his home West Palm and Aspen, but surely it was more than a hobby that barely paid for itself. 

My order back in the 80's was quite reasonable.  I looked at his prices last year and did not order, but I think the minimum order was well under $100. 

How many people are freelancers?  How many send in second and third orders?  A lot of customers were probably like me, good for a single order.

I would think it would bring in some extra money for someone who wanted to work from home or was retired.  Seems like it would be a viable business for someone who needed supplemental income.

Having no idea what the equipment costs or his book of business, it is just speculation on my part.

 
 

Agreed, all good questions.

I spent about $750 total over the years, had him do my sets in black, white, red and gold, as well as three different size heralds, and some custom stripes, also in multiple colors.

But obviously if I was "big" customer, it would take a lot of guys like me for it be any real money.

I'm stocked up now, plent of lettering for the ATLANTIC CENTRAL, but I'm half temped to see if the business is for sale.......

And yes, freelancing is not what it once was, heck, building and painting anything is not what it once was.........

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:26 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
And yes, freelancing is not what it once was, heck, building and painting anything is not what it once was.........

It was easier to paint and freelance in the old days, when there weren't a lot of delicate bits glued on that needed to be painted a different color, I'm thinking window frames, windshield wipers.

I bought a Bowser VO-1000 thinking I would strip it and repaint for the Northern and Potomac.  Cody did a GP-9 for the Winston and Salem? and all his parts fell off in the alcohol bath.  Somehow I don't think I'm that lucky and I would be left with delicate masking.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:41 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 And yes, freelancing is not what it once was, heck, building and painting anything is not what it once was.........

Even past freelancers, a modern prototype modeler has specific wants and needs, really, that no one is making or are tricky to find.  For instance, there's a lot of interesting data and instructions stenciled on these days.  I'd rather not have to get an entire set of decals for, say, a BNSF covered hopper just so I can get a pair of white "this car lined with xxxx do not steam clean" decals.  I had a order printed that was just alphabets and numbers in fonts no one sells, "patch plates" of reporting marks and numbers already in a colored rectangle, and various things like the "no hammer" logo and "DO NOT TAMP" stickers.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 10:27 PM

BigDaddy
...How many people are freelancers? How many send in second and third orders? A lot of customers were probably like me, good for a single order....

I got two orders from Rail Graphics, the second being the most detailed, and supplied the artwork, done by my brother to my specs, for both runs.  Had he stayed in business longer, I might have made further orders, but I had already gone through three 50 sheet sets of custom dry transfer lettering from C-D-S.

The quality of the Rail Graphics stuff was excellent, and all of it was for freelanced roadnames.

Wayne

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 6:19 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
The decal film was thin, never any fading, etc. So what equipment/printing method was he using that seems to escape even those at Kadee in their ability to offer custom decals?, especially in white? Without all the "limitations" Kadee lists on their web site?

.

I had a breif discussion with Ron about Rail Graphics when I placed my last order for STRATTON & GILLETTE decals.

.

He screen printed decals using old technology and equipment. The machines were harder to keep working, and printing dyes were not available in the quality that he liked. Decal paper had improved through the years, but it was becoming expensive.

.

I expressed interest in purchasing Rail Graphics, but he was frank about the business not being viable any longer due to various concerns and a shrinking customer base for the product.

.

One of my daughters has an online business where she makes custom stickers for people, and I thought this would be a good compliment to that business for her. She is quite the artist and designer.

.

In the end I decided to spend the money on the house remodel, and the conversation was dropped.

.

It does not look like anyone has picked it up.

.

Cartograph in Italy does the best custom decal work out there, but bring the $$$ because their minimum order size is shocking. I will use them for my next decal order if I need one.

.

Like Sheldon, I placed a big order with Rail Graphics ahead of Ron's retirement.

.

Rail Graphics did most of their business towards the end custom printing for Westerfield and Funaro & Camerlengo. Does anyone know who has picked up this work now?

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 6:30 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
The decal film was thin, never any fading, etc. So what equipment/printing method was he using that seems to escape even those at Kadee in their ability to offer custom decals?, especially in white? Without all the "limitations" Kadee lists on their web site?

 

.

I had a breif discussion with Ron about Rail Graphics when I placed my last order for STRATTON & GILLETTE decals.

.

He screen printed decals using old technology and equipment. The machines were harder to keep working, and printing dyes were not available in the quality that he liked. Decal paper had improved through the years, but it was becoming expensive.

.

I expressed interest in purchasing Rail Graphics, but he was frank about the business not being viable any longer due to various concerns and a shrinking customer base for the product.

.

One of my daughters has an online business where she makes custom stickers for people, and I thought this would be a good compliment to that business for her. She is quite the artist and designer.

.

In the end I decided to spend the money on the house remodel, and the conversation was dropped.

.

It does not look like anyone has picked it up.

.

Cartograph in Italy does the best custom decal work out there, but bring the $$$ because their minimum order size is shocking. I will use them for my next decal order if I need one.

.

Like Sheldon, I placed a big order with Rail Graphics ahead of Ron's retirement.

.

Rail Graphics did most of their business towards the end custom printing for Westerfield and Funaro & Camerlengo. Does anyone know who has picked up this work now?

.

-Kevin

.

 

Kevin,

Thanks for sharing that info. 

I suspected he was doing it the "old fashioned" way. 

New "technology" is not always "better".............

I still do architectural drawings by hand, not with CADD or similar computer drafting. Fact is I can do most custom projects faster than the best CAD operators. CADD is great for complex/"multi layer" drafting projects, but for a simple addition or remodel, I will be done before a good CADD operator gets his major walls/points plotted.

So much for newer being better..........

Sorry to see Ron gone from this business, he had a superior product and was great to work with.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by azrail on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 2:47 PM

There is a new source for decals (and paint)...

https://www.modelersdp.com/pages/print-my-file

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Posted by NSRailFan24 on Monday, April 02, 2018 7:23 AM

Thanks to everyone who worked, I think that Highball doesn't do small enough for HO scale. I will check out the others and let you know. Thanks Alot!

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Posted by irishRR on Sunday, August 18, 2019 11:38 PM

I know this is an older thread but I want to throw my hat in the ring. I have to give props to Circus City decals. 

I had a project where I needed some custom decals for a small fleet of locomotives for my n scale layout. The professionalism was amazing. 

I originally reached out to him with the idea for my decals. I recieved a response within a couple of hours. The initial setup and design was $40, then another $40 for the printing. (If you already have a rendering, then the setup cost is less expensive). A proof was developed and sent to me for approval. I wanted a few adjustments made and they were sent to me in a new proof within the hour. There is a one sheet minimum order, but the sheet is the size of a piece of notebook paper. I was able to get enough decals to do approximately 12 to 15 N scale locomotives! And this included all the large heralds, small heralds, numbers, lightboards, data sets, flags and everything else I could think of. The quality is second to none. Crisp lines, great colors and they are all printed on the white under layer so application to dark colors is not an issue.

But here is where the best part is...

I approved the proof and the decals were recieved within 2 business days. When I opened them up, I realized that one of the colors was not exactly the shade I thought it would be. Digital images can vary slightly from the real thing. I reached out to Circus city and explained my concern. Without question, he suggested I spray a sample piece of plastic in the color I wanted and send it to him, he would attempt to color match. A few days later, I recievd a new full set of revised decals, with the new color... no questions asked. I reached out and asked if I could pay him, but he simply said that this was how he runs his business and that was part of his service. No reimbursements neccessary. 

Now, I am a customer for life. All my projects will go to him. The cost is less than any other custom decal designer I looked into, the quality is great, and most importantly, this was very personal service from a small business owner who takes pride in his work. To me this is more important than anything, especially these days when it seems like we get put on hold, transferred to multiple people, and rarely get the intimate business relation I remember from when I was younger. Also, he is one of few who does decals in every scale, Z to G.

Kudos. Well done sir.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, August 19, 2019 4:41 PM

Thank you for the positive report on Circus City decals. I guess I know who I will be going to for my next custom decal order.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, August 19, 2019 4:58 PM

A friend had some custom decals made by Circus City, and he sent me several sets.  They were intended for a 50' outside post boxcar, but I managed to re-shuffle the dimensional data to better-suit a couple of 40' Tichy reefers, making them more suitable for my late-'30s era layout...

...and after a little weathering...

Next time I need more custom lettering, I'll definitely contact them.

Wayne

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:45 AM

Wayne, I love the red reefers. Those are custom roadname cars that really appeal to me.

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Nice.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:55 PM

Circus City, and CMR Products both have some very hard to find decals. (And can do custom.)

Note: Not affiliated with, just a satisfied customer.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by azrail on Friday, August 23, 2019 2:48 PM

MicroMark is now selling the Ghost white toner system, either as a package deal with an HP color laser printer for under $800, or the white cartridges for around $350. Does any one know how many decals can be made with one Ghost cartridge?

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Friday, August 23, 2019 10:40 PM

If the white cartridge is the same size capacity as the standard color ones, ~1900~ pages. (Give or take a few hundred.... Greatly depends on the amount of toner used on each page. If it’s laying down almost solid white toner, considerably less page count.)

I knew working in that print center/supply store would come in handy!

DISCLAIMER: This information depends on many factors, including but not limited to, if the white toner is the same capacity as the standard cyan/yellow/magenta cartridges, the amount of white toner used on each decal, and the size/complexity of said decal.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by mrrdad on Saturday, August 24, 2019 10:05 PM

azrail

MicroMark is now selling the Ghost white toner system, either as a package deal with an HP color laser printer for under $800, or the white cartridges for around $350. Does any one know how many decals can be made with one Ghost cartridge?

 

 

You can get it much cheaper if you just get the printer from Best Buy and order the toner direct. You save close to $300.

 

Ed

Modeling the B&O Chicago Terminal Railroad in the 1950's

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 5:46 AM

mrrdad
You can get it much cheaper if you just get the printer from Best Buy and order the toner direct.

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That $450.00 markup for the printer does seem very high.

.

Is the printer modified in any way for the white toner?

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 1:44 PM

SeeYou190

mrrdad

You can get it much cheaper if you just get the printer from Best Buy and order the toner direct.

That $450.00 markup for the printer does seem very high.

Is the printer modified in any way for the white toner?

-Kevin

Depending on the scale in which you're working, and the size of the lettering you need, you can get quite a bit on Circus City's 8.5"x11" sheet, for $40.00.  That's for pretty-well any colour, including white.

There's some info HERE

Over the last couple of days, I've been communicating with them regarding the Kiski Jct. lettering, shown earlier, and some lettering that another friend is considering, and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

They do quality work and stand behind their product, too.  I hadn't previously noticed, but I see that they also offer custom painting, a topic which comes up regularly on this forum, too.

Wayne

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