DecalPRO is an extension to PCB Fab-In-A-Box to enable you to be able to make incredible graphics from your computer and laser printer for the enclosure of your project, prototype or limited in-house mini-mass production product.
We developed DecalPRO after years of working with toner and laser printers. It took us years to figure out how to create colorization effects and adhesives so the user can make real pressure sensitive, dry-transfer (eg. rub-down) graphics and text "on demand". One of the most interesting things about DecalPRO is that it uses the same transfer paper and laminating device to create stunning images for your enclosure, panel, faceplate... whatever.
Our objectives were simple; to have a system that didn't require any photographic support, negatives creation or exposures of any kind... effectively a "daylight" system. After years of playing with the idea, it slowly started gelling into a series of steps, some borrowed from the proven techniques already in use by this product for making PCB in just minutes.
In 2003 we finally perfected the simple 8-minute, process. It has been gaining acceptance more and more every year as it touches so many different types of users out there but most especially, the electronics users. Here, you can not only knock out your PCB but continue on and fabricate fantastic graphics (even in white!) like this image show below. Our user base for DecalPRO has branced into area like Graphic Artists, Industrial Designers, R/C, Professional Model Makers, Train hobbyists, Homebuilt Aircraft (front control panels), Equipment Restoration (antiques, muscle car dashboard dials, and on and on).
Of particular interest to the circuit board fabricating community (albeit Hobbyist, Midnight Engineer, R&D Labs and "EE" Educators) is the need for a way to make faceplates, windows and enclosures to look professionally made, both for 1up, class projects and even pre-production presentation prototypes.
The only way to do this prior to DecalPRO was to spend a lot of money to have a custom set of transfers made, but that meant waiting many days to several weeks and an outlay of a lot of cash! Only high-end shops could justify this expense - the rest of us just used Dymo label tapes, marker pens or glued down images on paper. There has never been the ability to make real, dry-transfer graphics on demand... until now!
As mentioned above, the DecalPRO technique just happens to dove-tail perfectly with our "PCB Fab-In-A-Box" system because both processes use the same applicator and the same transfer paper... that's good commonality! Along with these two basic items, you only need 5 inexpensive additional items to give you total control from project start to presentation finish, completely "in-house", on demand and on a shoe-string budget and in just a few minutes.
Here are the 5 items you'll need to be able to make your own real dry-transfers on-demand using your existing Toner Transfer Paper and TIA Applicator. As shown below, pick any color(s) from our list of 19 flavors: 12 metallics, 3 pigment and 3 Special Effects. (If you want to make white, you already have it! The same white that is used to lay down a silkscreen layer is used to put on top of black toner to make white graphics and text.) All foils come wrapped on a 6"x9", 8" wide x 15' long. Next you'll need a "Carrier Foil" and a "Carrier Board" both of which are used in the preparation of the image going through the TIA. A roll of special 3M "2080" very low-tack tape is used to remove excess residue during the process steps. (No other "20xx" series of tape will work), and last but not least, the unique spray adhesive. This is not your ordinary type of 3M adhesive, rather, it's an "alcohol-based" formulation used exclusively in the fabric/textile industry. All other adhesives on the market are "solvent-based". Each item here has a specific part to play to be able to create a real, rub-down, dry-transfers in about 8 minutes giving you capability that has never existed before!
|19 Foil Colors
|3M "2080" Tape
Here's a typical RESTORATION Project Using DecalPRO...
Pictured on the left is the original an "E. F. Johnson Viking Valiant II" Ham Radio transmitter, circa 1962. The radio is being meticulously restored to working order.
"I scanned the panel into Adobe PS, cleaned up the image then printed the decal transfers using a Samsung CL-510 color laser printer. Next, both the faceplate and the cabinet were sandblasted. It was repainted with metallic paints and flat clear coat. I used a water base thin tip marking pen to make visual alignment points onto the panel. The decals were then created and applied. When completed, the alignment lines previously applied were removed by a wet soft tissue.I sand blasted Photos were submitted by Tom Scally, NJ
The larger one on the left was created by printing nomenclature in groups to be able to cover the large distances on this panel. The panel below is much smaller and done with a 1-piece artwork.
You don't get more professional looking than these! Photos submitted by Tom Shideler (left) and Terry Hackworth (below)
<- Click on this image for a VERY large blowup
To get more info on DecalPRO, jump to our main "Pulsar" index page to bookmark for later!