Decals; was [RE: Re: ADMIN: Spam and Manufacturer's Business Practices]

John Hagen <sprinthag@...>

Andy, the last Alps printers were sold in May of 2000. Not quite fifteen
years ago. And supplies will be produced through May of 2015.

There are printers capable of printing white available as inkjets, lasers
and thermo transfer but, as stated, too much money for anyone not in the
printing business full time. And the thermo transfer units don't generally
have the capability of printing anything but tractor drive paper.

The idea of charging $10.00 for a decal set (much more than I generally see
them BTW) isn't all that much if you knew the cost of white inks/toners. For
an Alps it's close to double (maybe more nowadays) than your other colors
and you gets maybe a third as much! The other thing is there is no reduction
in price for volume printing using an Alps. One sheet or two hundred, the
cost per sheet is the same. The only item that can be spread over several
sets is the artwork, something most Alps decal printers seldom charge for
anyway, at least for rr decals. Believe me at $10.00 for 5.5 X 8.5 or 6 X 9,
these guys are getting very little in the way of profit. I've been doing
this on a small scale since around 1999 and my newest printer coast me
$1100.00 + including shipping in February 2000.

For the immediate future there will be decals printed in small quantity but
high quality (controlled more by artwork than printer) from Alps guys, But
the end is approaching.

John Hagen

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Andy
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 11:38 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: ADMIN: Spam and Manufacturer's Business Practices

At 04:20 PM 5/2/2012 +0000, you wrote:


Really though the topic this always leads to is how to make our own
decals. I have made a few myself on my old HP laser printer when I could
use black printing on a clear background, but most often freight car
lettering - especially steam era - is white. How long has it been since
you could buy a new ALPS printer, 15 years? There is no viable replacement
that is affordable for the average consumer. And apparently there is no
demand for a printer that will shoot white ink on the average market, since
it's not necessary for photo printing.

That's why guys like Mark Vaughn and Dan Kohlberg can ask and get 10 bucks
for a decal sheet... it's worth it due to the time and effort to do the art
work as well as either maintain an obsolete piece of hardware or jobbing
out to a commercial printer. And how many commercial printers are there
making model RR decals right now, under their own name or for third
parties? Microscale, Rail Graphics... besides those two, most other decal
brands are either using those two as suppliers or home printing on an aging

I really hoped that by now there would be another option. If I could
invest a few hundred bucks in a white-capable printer, I'd probably be
laying out the fine print stuff for all my freight cars every time, down to
the individual car numbers. I could precisely match a prototype photo, or
in the case of chalk marks or hastily applied patch jobs, even use the
prototype photo as the art base. The modern guys do this with graffiti,
thankfully something I have no need for - but if I could take a scanned
photo and normalize reporting marks and cap data, and then print a decal,
I'd do that in a heartbeat over snipping and clipping from 5 different
decal sheets from 3 different manufacturers to get only an approximation.


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