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Rub-on or water-transfer decals?


Guest bofusmosby

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Guest bofusmosby

I have a question I'd like to throw at you. On my car (1937 Pontiac) the instrument cluster (speedometer, fuel guage, oil pressure etc) is actually on a metal surface, like most others. There is a film of rust that has formed on the"face" of the cluster, giving a brownish look to it. I would like to restore this face plate, but by doing so, this will remove the speedometer numbers, and other graphics that were originally applied. Because of this, I have been doing some research, and I am wondering if anyone has used either custom made rub-on decals, or water-transfer decals for this purpose.

I have been reading where a digital photo can be made of the original (or a good copy) of say the complete instrument panel, showing all the lines, numbers, words etc (graphics). This image can then be sized (with the computer software) to the exact original size, and then print a positive or "mirror" image (depending which method is used) on special decal paper, allowing all the numbers, graphics, etc. to be transfered back to the instrument panel when the surface has been cleaned, restored, and then painted. Afterwards, a clear coat of enamel or acrylic can be applied to the entire surface, blending everything in. This would work for all colors (except white).

Has anyone done this before, or for that matter, has anyone ever tried this themselves? I would be interested in getting some feed-back on this. What do you all think? Do you think it will work?

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We have done just that several times. Photo or even photocopy the original, enlarge it, touch up the bad spots, reduce it back to original size and have it printed as a decal. Most larger commercial print/copy shops can do decals. We recently did a rare clock face for a '27 Kissel using this techinque. After the art work was completed it cost $13 for a sheet of 16 or so decals.

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I didn't know you could get decals printed at copy centers. That is helpful.

A friend of mine has also done decals. He uses a "die sublimation" printer, which is a type of inkjet printer. I think he got a used one on eBay. Anyway, this process is used by model makers for their decals. Here's some information on various decal-making processes from another group I follow: Mechanical Music Digest - Archives

Phil

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Guest bofusmosby

Thank you for the info and the link. It looks like I will be some more reading on this subject. If I attempt this process, I'll be sure and document the process from start to finish, so if I make some mistakes, then others can learn from them. If it turns out good, then maybe it will give someone else the confidence to try it themselves.

Jim

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Or you can scan the original and create a silk screen. We just recently had this artwork done for a speedometer cluster on our 36 Divco. It was a Stewart Warner cluster and they did not use decals in that era at least.

The graphic shop had been doing this procedure for years. They were recommended to me by my sign painter, you know the guys that do the lettering in paint. Sorry guys but we are not willing to make these "modern" changes as long as the real deal is still out there.

If you would like their information just PM me.

Good luck.

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Guest bofusmosby

If the decals are done correctly, could a person really tell the difference without taking everything apart? Since I have never done this before, I can't answer that. Also, I know that there are better ways of doing things, but one of my considerations would have to be cost. What did the company charge you for this work? I would gues it would have been in the hundreds, but because of my own ignorance, I am clue-less.

To answer your question, YES, I would like to get the company info from you. I would like to explore all of my options on this. I'll PM you. However, you might want to post it here, because others might be interested in this info as well.

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Last year I had hubcap, fuse box, dash switch and front & rear vehicle identification decals made from faded torn originals and they turned out perfect. This vehicle used decals from the factory for these particular items. I would bet this would work for your speed odometer and you would not be able to tell it was a decal.

A decent sign guy can take a picture of an old original whatever and recreate it including any color. They can tweak the graphic until it is crystal clear. The artwork is the expensive part (depends on amount of tweaking time required), and the actual decal is fairly cheap to produce.

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Interesting that this technology is so easily available, yet do many "decals" being sold today are simply "stickers" instead.

Take air cleaner decals for '50s and '60s buicks for instance.

I haven't seen a silk screen or actual decal yet...only stickers that look like SH*T installed.

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