Transfer printing a new dial

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Britannicus, Jun 16, 2017.

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  1. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    I have several (sentimental value only) pocket watches which have had a tough life and I've managed to coax into ticking after a lot of trial and error.

    The Dials of some of these are quite faded and in some cases the numbers missing all together - I was contemplating printing an Iron on transfer from my inkjet printer. I've seen this done for coffee cups and though that this might be helpful in restoring a semblance of originality to my dials.

    Has anyone tried this ? - any better suggestions ??

    Regards Andrew
     
  2. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    I've now had it suggested that I use a water slide transfer process
     
  3. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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  4. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    I have wondered about this for a long time. I would like to have a couple of choices of generic dial transfers. Numbers or Roman numerals. And some generic chapter ring.

    Something I could feed the diameter into and crank out a transfer (whatever works -waterslide ...) print the decal and transfer it.

    That way I could restore by painting over the dial with typically white enamel (or appropriate color), sand it smooth till it's like glass and then do the transfer.

    I think the key is setting up a printer with specialized transfer paper and transfer ink. I have seen the expensive watch dial printers that use paint and some kind of rubber ball/balloon thing. Way out of my $ league. Besides I'm not mass manufacturing...

    RJ
     
  5. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    I'm afraid an inkjet or laser print will never look as crisp as rubber bulb printing. No matter what the printer is it will have a maximum DPI that will be visible under a loupe. A rubber bulb will give you a continuous paint edge and not an array of dots.
     
  6. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I had thought about this, I did an early sketch on Visio to see what I could produce - I think you're right about magnification around +40 in the case of using an inkjet, laser will give better resolution, but it's going to be the best I think I can generate in the household environment. I'm designing in X10 and then shrinking the JPG so that the digital image is really crisp, but it won't get round the issue of the DPI from the printer.

    The attached JPEGS are low res but it's my intention to try to produce a range of different dials that can be scaled using any graphic tool for Roman, Arabic and Ottoman characters in a variety of styles - using art deco fonts etc. I will keep you all posted.
     
  7. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Just a small thought: The position of the seconds arbor varies between movements. Could it be an idea to make it movable or even separate in order to fit various movements?
     
  8. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #8 RJSoftware, Jun 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Excellent work Brittanicus. I like your pic of Doby..? I call him Toby for some reason. I use to tease my kids and called the show "Hairy Pooper" and they would yell back in disgust "It's Harry Potter -Dad..!!!" Then that turned into a bunch of jokes about different toilet adventures to match with the various titles. Their reaction was the most fun.

    Yes, I was thinking same as Skutt, the seconds dial probably would be better as separate entity. Not only are some in different locations but also different diameters. But as separate entity the diameters of each can be adjusted in the print.

    So that would mean also including back the 6/VI and then when all things determined the print can overlay with transparent background options of whom ever is using the files. One can then work with photoshop or other to the details of the overlay. Probably have to work over corners as to the rectangle/copy process. The corners might white-out sections in overlay. Been a while and I might be reflecting on older software glitches.

    The bulb print would be better but you gotta work with what you got.

    Any way it's put, your efforts are very much appreciated.

    RJ


     
  9. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Making two layers in either Photoshop or Illustrator would take care of the distancing issue, so long as you can measure the distances correctly in the image program. For a free version I think Gimp is decent.
     
  10. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Thanks Karl, I'll check it out. Free is in my price range :)
     
  11. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    No problem! Be sure to use vector Graphics though, to minimize blurriness and pixelation.
     
  12. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Yep I'd thought about that one, so I have it as a separate scalable one - I've also created the large dial with a 6 in case it's not subsidiary seconds :)
     
  13. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Cheers I now have several versions - as I think each will be varied - I plan on creating a bit of a library -

    I hate to say, but my Icon is supposed to be Gollum - but I like the Idea of Dobby -I get treated as the "house elf"
     
  14. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Hey Britannicus.

    I am hoping you'll post updated version of the two you displayed above. I plan to use them. Maybe 3 this time, the 2 with 6/VI included and the separate sub seconds one.

    On the "house elf", yep. I'm the servant of the house as well.

     
  15. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Absolutely - I'm still working on formats - here is a PDF of the latest efforts - What Format would be best for People ?

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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  17. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Been working on the first dial seems to print OK - but as suspected a little blurry on magnification



    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  18. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    First effort at my transfer process - not perfect for a first effort, but I'm pleased with the result.

    Left - what I started with
    1 from left - after cleaning, most of the numbers just wiped off, so removed all numbering
    2 from left - with new transfer on - My print wasn't perfect so numbers slightly misaligned - easily put right on next
    right - close up on fine detail

    I have to say I'm very pleased with it :coolsign:


    [​IMG]
     
  19. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    This seems to be an acceptable way forward... Good job

    Do you intend to separate the numbers some more? They seem a bit too close to the edge of the inner ring comparied with the original.
     
  20. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    I agree with Skutt. Increase the diameter of the large ring and maybe less emphasis on the register? I think a different font would make life easier for you. Something with higher numbers and less space between them. You want "12" to be as close in size to "3" as possible. Sort of square if you catch my drift.

    Nicely done though! The technique seems to be working. I've use hair spray as a fixative or laquer for dials I've retouched in the past. So far so good, no discolouration. Do you plan to apply laquer to yours?
     
  21. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Totally agree, this was really just a first demo of the technique. - I need to adjust the numbering on the dial to fit the available space, but the transfer is relatively easily removed using a solvent and I can go again. I used an Acetone based varnish and decal paper, I used Mr Decal Paper from eBay (but there are others), I cut the A4 into 4 sheets of A6 so I can just print a few faces at a time. - the process takes under 30 minutes and costs under £10 for enough to do hundreds of dials. When I've re-done this I will post again, and share the art work.

    As for the font - I've now done numerous - including Roman. This is the closest I can get to the original though. I think I need to expand the chapter ring a millimetre or two to go right to the edge, shrink the number size a bit and pay more attention to the spacing. I'm particularly pleased with the close up detail - next effort I will try to replace the "fiskerton" signature.

    I haven't used a separate lacquer coat, as the method uses an acetate lacquer anyway, but the instructions say that you can, and as this will sit behind a crystal, I'm not sure of the benefit.

    The recommendation for applying to a ceramic surface, is to place in the oven for 10-15 mins at 110-130 degrees C.

    After my second effort on this face, I think I will try more decorative effects using photographs in colour, and I have a full clock face to fix up.
     
  22. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    This sounds very interesting to me! Vill you try this as well?
    I often repair white enamel dials and have tried to fill in numbers with a narrow paint brush. The result has been so so.....
    If it will work with decals in general and in particular with some oven baking (is it to make the numbers more durable?), I think this might be the way forward to make a nice restoration of some very worn (cracked) old dials I have laying around .........
     
  23. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Hi Scutt, this is my hope too - I've used Milliput porcelain repair to fill in missing enamel on dials, I'm hoping to use this approach to fix them. The recommendation of heating in oven is specifically to harden the image.

    I've now removed the original transfer so I can try again with a better image. I was quite impressed that it is quite resistant to abrasion and took a bit of effort to remove, so it should last well behind glass especially. According to the information the image is stable in daylight etc and won't yellow over time.

    there's plenty of Youtube videos on the technique, there seem to be multiple vendors of the same thing. I used Mr Decal Paper which seems fine and just the cheapest spray acrylic varnish I could find (£5.99 on ebay - Paper was about £4 for 5 sheets A4 size) I find I can get 5 size 16 dials on a 1/4 of a sheet, so I cut mine into A6 size so I didn't waste Paper.

    I might have a go at Enameling and making a dial from scratch :)
     
  24. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    I have been using Efcolor enamel powder for repair.

    I was now thinking of cleaning enamel off a cracked cupper based dial, coat it with Efcolor enamel powder and then do a decal transfer! It should look like fresh from the factory...LOL

    Another way could be to use spray paint. Some types used for car rims can be rather thick and gives a nice shine......
     
  25. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Cool - there is a variety of decal paper which has a white rather than a transparent background - I will check out how Efcolour works :)
     
  26. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    I re-worked the image and this is the final result

    [​IMG]
     
  27. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    I definately like this solution. You have done a great job!

    (I hate being pickey but the seconds dial seems a tiny bit off center.....)
     
  28. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    yeah I think you're right - I did both dials as one transfer - on reflection I think 2 would have been easier - will do the next one that way I think
     
  29. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Awesome work Britannicus...!

    Over here in the states (not sure we have same stuff) we have a 2 part epoxy mix for fixing chips on wash tubs/toilets. I have used it to fill in porcelain dial chips and it can be sanded smooth. Didn't quite match color of a Swiss key wind I have (more whiter) but I imagine that the dial decal can be made opaque/white where needed. Just a little color tweaking of your images.

    Thanks for giving us the info on where to get the decal paper. I have an older ink jet printer and wondering if I have to order some special ink (reference to oven heating above) or is this all handled by the decal paper?

    I still have yet to dig into figuring the scaling. I know there are printing options but I must admit I haven't printed much in years now. Seems everything is going paperless.

    RJ

     
  30. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Re: Transfer prining a new dial

    Hi RJ,

    No you don't need any special ink - the way it seems to work is that you print your ink onto a shiny varnished paper, you then seal it in with the acrylic varnish, so your ink is sandwiched between 2 layers of varnish. When you soak the paper for about 20 seconds the varnish detaches from the paper and you can slide off the "sandwich" which will then stick to any non-porous surface.

    As for scaling I found this a bit of an issue, as most windows applications tend to mess around with the size of your print. I did 2 things - first I used Visio (but any photoshop tools should be OK as well ) - these print off true to scale, so you can measure the print against a scale, and it should come out that way. Just to be sure, I trial printed on ordinary paper to see how it would come out, adjusted the image and re-printed.

    I've tried the 2 part epoxy approach (Retails as Milliput over here) and it's worked reasonably well, but experimenting with the Efcolor to see if I can do better. I had some colour paste I'd used for resin casting years back and found that with a bit of careful blending with tiny amounts of yellow and brown, I could get a better colour match on an ivory coloured dial with milliput.

    the transfers come on either a see-through or a white background so this might be a help .
     
  31. sharukh

    sharukh Registered User

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    #31 sharukh, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2017
    A request. Could the moderator please correct the spelling error in the thread title. Would probably help in searches at a later date.

    Sharukh.
     
  32. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    #32 Britannicus, Jul 14, 2017
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    That would be very helpful :)
     
  33. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    #33 Jim Haney, Jul 14, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2017
    Moderators sometimes can't read every post.

    The small triangle icon on bottom right gray bar is used to request or report things to the Moderators.
     
  34. RL

    RL Registered User
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    Jim--that triangle appears to be on the left on my screen.
     
    PWfanatik likes this.
  35. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    It is on the left:cuckoo:Nutjob:clap:
     
  36. PWfanatik

    PWfanatik Registered User
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    I quickly went to add to RL's reputation for finding the Triangle! Nutjob
     
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