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manodeoro

CUSTOM DECAL DIAL TUTORIAL

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50 minutes ago, manodeoro said:

To be 100% honest I confront the limitations of that decal method more and more every day and I'm really thinking about switching to pad-print method in a near future

Pad printing gives very sharp results, and has the advantage of a more dimensional print. Pad printing inks leave a raised print which looks the same as an original dial. Decal printing will tend to look flatter. Industrial pad printing is also a more robust process in the sense that once you have your artwork, you can pad print a very large number of copies very quickly, and other than the inks, there is little else involved. Decal printing is fiddly, requires several stages, accurate cutting, water, alignment, removal of air bubbles and so forth.  Laser toner transfer methods do have slight dimension to them, particularly if used in conjunction with metallic films, but they are still flatter looking than pad printing, and probably as complicated as decal printing, if not more so.

If you look at the majority of modern devices, everything from phones, phone batteries, vehicle instrument clusters.. you name it, if there is text or artwork on it, and it isn't stuck on, there is probably at least one pad printing operation involved. 

 

 

The resolution of the artwork, and the choice of colours and fonts are also very important, whether you are sending it to be professionally etched into metal for pad printing, or working with transfers. Care has to be taken not to end up with obvious digital artifacts, or blurring. That is why working with vector formats (of which .SVG is probably the most common) is such a good habit to get in to.

JPGs are fine for selfies, but no use for detailed artwork.

Pad printing would however struggle to print some of the more colourful designs I've produced above, as you are typically limited to one colour per printing operation, so that "blacklight" design would not be suitable.

If you are looking to reproduce an existing design, then there is a pretty good chance that it was pad printed, and if you can emulate that, then you will be on track to get a similar result.

If you are looking to create your own designs however, then you can combine decals, fluorescent pigments,  pad printing, metallic films, or whatever you can think of.

Edited by AndyHull

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16 minutes ago, AndyHull said:

Pad printing gives very sharp results, and has the advantage of a more dimensional print.

The real work in pad printing is the cliche', we see videos where they go and print, that is "almost" easy but how much work there was to produce the cliche'?
Was it CNC engraved, etched, laser? All these processes requires expensive machining and have a learning curve. I  had posted a video with a scantly dressed lady presenter of a multi-function device..
The alternative is having it made by someone else, of which I suspect there aren't so many, and not very cheap, possibly get it from China could be an option?
And with all the hype for 3D printing, are there real examples of that?

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15 minutes ago, jdm said:

The real work in pad printing is the cliche', we see videos where they go and print, that is "almost" easy but how much work there was to produce the cliche'?

See the video I added to my previous post.

However, having seen the process, I suspect it is actually almost identical to producing PCBs at home using UV film, and for that, you might like to watch one of my favorite youtubers, one of my fellow countrymen bigclive.
 

Ignore the fact that his process is for a PCB, and watch the UV film processing, and compare it to the previous video.

Also bear in mind that standard FR4 pcb material might work since the thickness of the copper is in the same ballpark as the depth of cut shown in the previous video. See here for information about that -> https://pcbprime.com/pcb-tips/copper/

If 1oz copper clad board has copper of 0.0347 mm that compares pretty closely to the 0.018 mm of the previous video, so if you want to experiment with copper clad board, I suspect you would get good results. Also FR4 PCB material is pretty cheap, and the etching process is simple, so it would certainly be worth exploring that. You can also get different grades of PCB material, and you can also stop the etching process before all of the copper is removed, so I think you would be able to find a workable process.

The next problem we need to solve would be the "tampon", so time to crack open a tube of silicone sealant and make a few plaster mounds from boiled eggs and see where that leads you.

 

 

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This must be the immediate question since the invention of press printing, when didn't had Internet and not even books (yet) to look the answer, just like me here;
How do you handle multiple colors? Can you mask the cliche' or need multiple ones?

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2 hours ago, jdm said:

How do you handle multiple colors? Can you mask the cliche' or need multiple ones?

I suspect you need multiple cliche'. 

Since the process of loading the pigment on to the cliche' involves squeegeeing it on, and since you need to let each colour dry before applying the next, I would think the workflow involves careful registration of each cliche' and each blank, in order to allow accurate multiple applications of pigments.

il_fullxfull.1049671172_9muq.jpg&key=a73


For example if you look at this dial, you can see there is a white base coat, presumably spray or powder coated, followed by  the main grey artwork, and if you zoom in and look carefully you can see this is overprinted with the black layer, as the Luch logo is obviously on top of the grey.

Furthermore I spotted another version in which the stars, and some other details are infilled with red. This red layer would make that particular dial a four stage process. Base coat, grey, black, red. Each of which would require a different cliche'. There would also probably be a top coat of some kind of finishing lacquer, and at each stage, the dial would have to be baked, or allowed to air dry,  or fixed in some way, depending on the process and materials used to avoid pigment bleeding from one stage into the next.

A key point to take away from this is that your cliche' registration or positioning must be very precise, and your dial and cliche' must be re-positioned exactly at every stage otherwise you will get mis-registration faults in your finished piece due to rotational or lateral registration issues. In the case of the above dial, this would probably be less obvious, but in the case of the one where the stars and other details are infilled and finished in red, this would be absolutely critical.

I presume therefore that the cliche' must either be a standard size, or there must be some sort of registration marks on it to ensure it sits precisely in your dial printer. The dials are obviously all the same size, but again there may be features of the printing outside of the visible area (alignment dots or cross hairs) that allow precise alignment of each print layer. Alternatively, the key may be the dial feet, which may be dropped in to a suitably drilled carrier plate to ensure correct registration of each dial in the batch as it is placed on the dial side of the printing machine.

EDIT: Here is an example with the red overprinting. As you can see it is a little scruffy, and some of the stars have become dislodged and misplaced elsewhere on the dial, but it is till pretty obvious the red was originally placed  on top of the other coloured layers. Furthermore, if there was a lacquer layer, it was incompatible with the red paint, since the stars have flaked off individually. More likely, there was no top coat.

Soviet_quartz_watch_Luch_USSR.jpg&f=1&no

This form of dial printing (pad printing) process is therefore a form of "intaglio" printing.

Edited by AndyHull

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16 hours ago, AndyHull said:

Alternatively, the key may be the dial feet, which may be dropped in to a suitably drilled carrier plate to ensure correct registration of each dial in the batch as it is placed on the dial side of the printing machine.

brass-dial-discs-no-holes__43822.1532974

If you look closely at this dial disk blank from Esslinger that I linked to previously, you can see how the registration is performed.

There is a notch on the outer rim of the disk. Presumably when printing, the intention is that there will be a center pin, and a registration pin on the blank holder. The registration pin most likely sits below the 6 o'clock position, and all registration of the printed layers is relative to these references (the center pin and the registration pin).

The center and registration pins must be approximately the same thickness as the dial disk, otherwise if they protruded above the level of the disk, they would mar the tampon from repeated contact. furthermore the registration pin may well be sprung, with a spring force towards the center, in order to grip the disk securely. 

jdm mentioned 3d printing the whole dial, but home workshop 3d printers are probably not able to produce fine enough detail to make a usable dial, without a lot of post processing (though I intend to experiment with this when I return from holiday), but I can see a pad printer blank holder being an ideal candidate for an object to 3d print.

The specifications of the disk are given on the Esslinger page, and it states the dial thickness (0.4mm), outside diameters for the various disks (30, 34 and 38mm and 30mm curved), the spacing and position of the holes for the dial decorations and the center hole diameter (1.8mm).

A 3d printer could easily print a 0.4mm recess/pocket (including any curve profile needed for the non flat dials) on a holder that matches the OD of the dial, and could include the registration pin and even  an eject hole or mechanism for ejecting the printed dials without touching the top surface and ruining the print. 

Edited by AndyHull

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2075683579_PocketWatchSecondsSixDia30.100mmCentre1.79mmRound20BlackGrey_svg.thumb.png.34744461ca81c72fe9cc2dfc7b6aaae4.png

1083625677_PocketWatchRedSecondsSixDia30.100mmCentre1.79mmRound20BlackGrey_svg.jpg.thumb.png.46db778bf6f7659f60ed3fe656b8a484.png

 

 

 

PocketWatchSecondsSixDia30.100mmCentre1.79mmRound20%BlackGrey.svg

 

My take on a pocket watch dial. The technique is pretty much the same as before. I've added some registration marks, and a center dot to make fixing the center of rotation when placing objects in the .SVG easier.

PocketWatchRedSecondsSixDia30.100mmCentre1.79mmRound20%BlackGrey.svg

Edited by AndyHull

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1520612680_PocketWatchSecondsSixDia30.100mmCentre1.79mmRound20BlackGrey_svg.thumb.png.d16190f0fbdffcf7a8f0ee43f8f396e5.png

The finished dial. I've grouped certain objects to make editing easier. It should for example be possible to edit the ticks round the small seconds dial, or the rosette or position that dial without disturbing the rest, with a few clicks.

701062153_PocketWatchSecondsSixDia30.100mmCentre1.79mmRound20BlackGrey_svg.thumb.png.34813cd8142ea9759bd29df57fec7f7a.png

This is a slightly "softened" version, to more realistically emulate enamel work.

The design as is would fit a 30mm blank, with 1.8mm center hole,  but should be easily re-scalable to whatever size you want.

PocketWatchSecondsSixDia30.100mmCentre1.79mmRound20%BlackGrey.svg

Edited by AndyHull

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I had a little fun with the theme of the Lutch dial design above, and some open source SVG images from Wikipedia. 869614117_USSR30.100Centre1.79Round20Grey_svg.thumb.png.42502ead523f5cb99e79715a532c5219.png

88x31.png

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USSR30.100Centre1.79Round20%Grey.svg

 

I omitted the "Quartz" ( кварц ) and CCCP text, but they would be easy enough to add if you want them.
Just pick a suitably 1970s chunky soviet vibe font, fill colour and stroke, and place them wherever you feel appropriate.

This would almost certainly be a decal design, as there are way too many colours to realistically pad print it.
As with the others, it should be around 30mm, and be the .SVG is easily scalable.

1302058420_USSR-RedStars30.100Centre1.79Round20Grey_svg.thumb.png.5d9b62d7742b9a83ae93c17f781dbd7b.png

No doubt this Red/Grey version would also be decal only, as pad printing is not great for shading, but it does look pretty authentic. 

78835826_USSR-RedStarsPadPrint30.100Centre1.79Round20Grey_svg.thumb.jpg.46c817a99e41203f176ff56beaa3e512.jpg

A pad printable version might have to look more like this.

Edited by AndyHull

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1274195346_USSR30.100Centre1.79Round20Cream_svg.thumb.png.698f49e4bee80eac1b5187c913d5f936.png

The finished version. I rounded the corners on the major indices and added sub-second marks.

Grab yourselves an old Russian 1800 bph movement or one of those old beat up Chinese standard scrap watches in your junk box fire up the inkjet printer pop in some ebay special Chinese decal paper and have some fun with it.

You could also grab a Quartz clock mechanism and make your own erzatz USSR ships clock.

88x31.png

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USSR30.100Centre1.79RoundCream.svg

 

Edited by AndyHull

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I was sitting here in the sunshine watching a small lizard basking, while playing with Inkscape's ability to repeat an object round a shape, and thought...

Why numbers?

They are a little obvious, why not something else?

Why not lizards... so... with full apologies to MC Escher for stealing his lizard, here is the result.

I may develop this idea a little further, since these lizards can be coloured, filled, tessellated, stretched and so forth, but this first attempt has a nice pen and ink vibe to it. Yes, there are exactly 12 lizards, so you can tell the time with them. I wonder what kind of hands would be appropriate for a lizard clock. Ones with flies on their tips perhaps. :D

EscherLizards_30.100Centre1.79RoundBluePurple_svg.thumb.png.37d8f941a3d827839277fca8119601f7.png

 

EscherLizards.30.100Centre1.79RoundBluePurple.svg

If you want to play with this idea, check this video first. Its really simple.

 

Edited by AndyHull

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EscherLizardsMany_30.100Centre1.79RoundBluePurple_svg.thumb.png.2cab9e0ebff1f0c44ca3c589bd9e3514.png

You can never have too many lizards. Essentially this is just the same lizard, at two different scales, and in the case of the center collection, three different angles, each separated by 120 degrees. The use of a gradient fill on the smaller lizard group gives is a slight dimensional feel.

You could of course continue the pattern to infinity  by wrapping it round a sphere or better still a hyperbolic plane or some other curved solid surface (very appropriate, arguably for a time piece dial). Something akin to this perhaps.

Rhombitriheptagonal_tiling_svg.png.3c7963b86313c18fb37fe14c76741544.png

The obvious issue with using the above heptagonal timing is that you day would need to be divided into seven, or perhaps fourteen "hours", but the lizard tiling essentially divides by three (and six, twelve etc), so it would be possible to use that.

I feel myself teetering on the edge of a very deep rabbit hole here. 

Down_the_Rabbit_Hole.png

 

Edited by AndyHull

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A couple of designs rattled up in Inkscape while I was lazing around in the back garden.

161520346_DiveWatch30.100Centre1.79Round20TangerineLizards_svg.thumb.png.27029655766f540069758e5342a829c3.png

The first is simply a variation on the orange "Dive" watch, but using the Escher lizards to give a little texture

241996124_DirtyDozen30.100Centre1.79Round80Grey_svg.thumb.png.99321e54c951ebc8a10e21d0c1fb43a1.png

The second is a quick and dirty "Dirty Dozen", based on a couple of after market dials from Google image search.

Note: The main dial and sub dial are separate objects, so you should be able to print them as separate decals at whatever scale is appropriate to your

DirtyDozen30.100Centre1.79Round20%Grey.svg

Edited by AndyHull

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I love these dials, I make paper/card dials and laminate them. At present I am working on Mark's version with the decal water slide transfer paper, I have some old scrap watch dials to practice on, I have made my dials and printed them on the decal paper (reversed) forgot about having to lacquer them before soaking them in water, I also have some cut polished brass to try, ready to slide onto it....Here is an old dial that I made in Coral draw from scratch..

 

Len

RAF.jpg

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On 1/30/2020 at 12:21 PM, AndyHull said:

If nothing else, at least this might encourage the "Vintage Fortis" creators of Mumbia to up their game a bit. :lol:

They are welcome to use this 1979 period correct HMT Avinash, which I have just updated to an SVG.

HMT-Avinash-1979BlueCream.thumb.png.3b879d22a1323b50df599fead8fb627d.png


I'm not saying it is the most exciting HMT dial ever produced, but at least it is about 99% authentic, doesn't indulge in the technicolor yawn of colours favored by the boys from the backstreets of Mumbai, (and doesn't claim to be a Fortis :P).

1510170039_HMTAvinash1979-30.100Centre1.79Round20_svg.thumb.png.694aa5a944513644a0f64f93e8a1bbcd.png

The original copyright holder HMT Watch company,  is (sadly) defunct, and since this is a derivative work, I think I can risk licensing it with a CC license.

88x31.png

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On the plus side, the original design is almost certainly out of copyright anyway and fair use would permit the use of derivative works.

HMTAvinash1979-30.100Centre1.79Round20%.svg

Edited by AndyHull

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One other option is to take an existing dial and convert that to an SVG.

 

CortebertSpecialeV1.0-30.100Centre1.79Round.thumb.png.d35c68d82078c81b69057a696ba6fac4.png

 

There are a couple of tricks to this, but the basic idea is to get as clean an original image as possible, then clean it up further before importing it as a bitmap to Inkscape, then use the Trace Batmap feature to convert to vectors.

Try to minimize the loss of detail, and preserve the sharpness and resolution of the original image as much as possible.

A single colour image like this would probably lend itself very well to pad printing.

CortebertSpecialeV1.0-30.100Centre1.79Round.svg

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You could of course create a hybrid of the two methods, with some objects created from scratch and some created from an image of the original dial.

From this....

37879914004_9113b0e080_k_d.jpg&f=1&nofb=

We get this.

 

Skyliner30.100Centre1.79Round_svg.thumb.png.9515f2adc9adfb4d869cf33d4baec408.png

Not perfect, but with a little more work, I think it could be reasonably presentable.

xruc69oSyT0kz33tA4Lgg0b70LIj11sS3u5kVQ4z


You then run into the question, at what point do you replace?
Is the second watch above still better in original condition?... Maybe, but what if it had lost all of the lettering?

Does it matter that the two dials and my version are all very slightly different?

In the top version for example, and my version,  the text stretches from the six O'clock to the four O'clock, but in the second watch, the text spans two of the radials, so presumably these are pad printed from different cliches, and therefore probably manufactured in different years, and/or are different models.

Skyliner30.100Centre1.79Round.svg

Edited by AndyHull

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Engine turning, or guilloché engraving in Inkscape.

1044085766_Spiral30.100Centre1.79Round20Grey_svg.thumb.png.ea75f834dcb6b8b412061919c2fdf3f9.png

This is a single 72 pointed object, created using the "Create stars and polygons" tool.
ToolSettings.png.bb7504a1eda1f4f242892b2d6d1844ee.png

Playing with the corners, spoke ratio and roundness allows you to produce some spectacular patterns (and some pretty terrible ones too). Play with the fill and stroke settings too. A fine line and little or no fill gives you better results, but experiment till you like what you see. Dotted and chain lines are also interesting.

Once you have an object that looks right, you can scale it to fit the dial blank.

You could use this to create a mask to etch brass or copper. You might even be able to use a 3d printer with a sharp tool to scribe it directly on to a substrate,

 

Edited by AndyHull

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