Saturday, March 9, 2019

Doing much better with applying text to panels for DSKY



After a nice break, I went back and reattempted to bond clear mylar over the special paper with black colored mylar fused onto the toner ink in the shape of the text legends for the DSKY EL panel side. This time it was clinging great, detached well in the water bath and became a perfect decal ready for application.
Decal, ready for spray adhesive and application
Since I had put boundary lines for the panel, I could align the decal pretty well with the actual acrylic before the surfaces touched and the text transferred. I put blue painters tape over all the unwanted areas, including the area under which the existing blue line sits on the panel, just to avoid any stress of that feature. The text transferred well. All that I need now is to add the white dots and I will have a realistic "EL" panel.

Looking through the smoked gray acrylic panel with lettering added
Before I can finish this, I have to create decals with white dots and get them applied to the panel. There are three dots on the left side, running vertically from just above the blue line to the bottom, three more on the right side also running vertically, and then three in the midline of the panel from the top down to near the blue line center.

Picture of a real DSKY panel for comparison

I have to get back to print more images for the white dots, which failed when I tried them earlier. This time I will create three different images, for three decals that are applied one by one. Three dots in a row with alignment marks for the left side, another with three dots for the right side and the upper middle set of three dots in a third decal. I will also make multiple copies of each image while at the CHM to avoid having any further delays which would ensue if I have to return to the printer yet again.

I set up to make the indicator panel side text, with a modified image that had a border to align to the acrylic panel. This too is in black, which is the mylar which heats up the most when passed through the laminator. It gets so hot that bits of the dye from the mylar are deposited on the paper. We only want mylar fusing to spots where I have toner (text), not in random area.

Black mylar not just fused on toner but stuck to paper due to heating
 As you can see from the result of fusing the black mylar, the mylar itself gets so hot that it also melts in streaks on the paper even though there is no toner in those spots. I think I will need to try fusing with paper towel over the carrier to see if tht produces less streaking. Meanwhile I continued with this decal just to see how bad the streaking is on the final product.

Toner fused images stuck to clear mylar, ready for adhesive spray
 The clear sheet (the decal) still shows the black streaks, although lighter than the paper. Some of it won't transfer to the target panel, but I don't feel confident that none will be deposited amid the desired text.
Painters tape makes a frame to help align the decal over the target panel

Test application - note black streaks at top. Didn't work hard on transfer so bottom is damaged
The results on the target surface are dramatically better than the original image after black mylar is fused to it, but some surface streaks are visible (to me) and therefore I will work on a less smeared decal. I used a throwaway frosted acrylic panel for the test above.

My task for tomorrow is to print the new decal images for the white dots, then come back and try to work on acceptable decals for the white dots and the indicator panel text. I am feeling cautiously optimistic that I will attain satisfactory (to me) results this week.

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