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Source for custom peghead decals?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ric426, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. ric426

    ric426 In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I'm getting ready to finish a neck and decided that it'd be fun to get a decal made for the peghead. I know that you can do-it-yourself with a computer, special decal printer paper and a laser printer, but I want it to be "fenderish" looking (don't worry, it won't be a Fender copy) with the gold filled script, and you can't get that metallic look with a printer.
    Anyone know if there's somewhere I could get a couple of decals made?
  2. Do a google search for "rub-on" decals, or "dry transfer" decals. This process can replicate the gold of the Fender script and looks better than anything else under a clear coat.
  3. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    I tried to do some searches, but didn't have much luck.

    I'm looking to see where I could get a few dry-transfer decals made up with my name. I'd like to put them on the back of my headstocks, but don't want it to be permanent.

    I'd rather find someplace that can do a full decal for me, rather than me trying to line things up perfectly using the sheets with the alphabet on them.

    Does anyone know where I can have a few made up?

  4. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Thanks Ham,
    I'd Google-d for about an hour yesterday and most places I contacted had a large minimum order, and weren't interested in taking on such a small project.

    I appreciate the link and will contact them and see what happens.
  5. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Step into the custom automotive world and find a pin-striper.
  6. slamzilla

    slamzilla Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Try a search on Google for Waterslide decals. You will find it there.
    Hope this helps.
    Zilla :)
  7. davee5


    Sep 14, 2004
    Monterey, CA
    Check out victory circle graphix (www.vcgraphix.com). They specialize in custom decals for bikes, motorcycles, and cars. However they're REAL speciality is doing super small orders. I just made a custom road bike from scratch and did all my own decal graphic work and needed someone to make 'em. They have a great reputation in the cycling industry so I called them up.

    I think it's a $40 minimum order (check with AJ, he's awesome) but it can be as simple or crazy as you like. I made 6 decals, one was 20"x6" of flames and one was my signature (super detailed and small), all in metallic silver with a black hairline outline. SWEET! (and very "Fender," as you desire).

    Holy-cow they were awesome, they even made me dupes of each in case I screwed up the application, no charge. All the decals are self adhesive and have clear backing to help the application.

    Definitely give them a call. If you can make a vector graphics file of it, they can print it any way you like.
  8. The only problem with cut vinyl graphics like you've described Davee, is that they are a minimum of 2 mils thick. That's the high performance vinyl used in automotive graphics. To begin, you can't cut this stuff by computer in shapes much smaller than 5/16" and the 2 mil thickness is a bear to totally bury in a clear coat.

    Dry transfer is the only way to do it if you don't have an offset press to make decals like the original.
  9. davee5


    Sep 14, 2004
    Monterey, CA
    That is true, but these guys really are bicycle decal makers, not automotive decal makers. The tips of the flames on my bike's decals and the outline of my signature have radii of under 0.0007" which were printed and (nearly) cut. This I know since I modeled at the details in CAD first. Since I don't have the cash to throw at a clearcoat I had them cut some clear around the printed edge to prevent peeling at high speed. Riiiight.

    As far as thickness is concerned, yeah, .002" is about right, but you get what you pay for and the clear edge does not stand out at all, eliminating the shadow edge which usually makes that 2 thou look thicker than paper (which is usually about 2 mils as well, as you know, but others may not).

    Dry rub, decal, whatever. It's whatever you want. The decals won't lie flat, but the colors will be far more saturated, rich, and varied. The dry rub will probably look cleaner and the rubbed look may look a bit more "vintage." It's not apples and oranges, but it certainly will be a personal taste thing.
  10. The radii you mention is a natural result of the offset of the blade angle from it's rotational center. It is likely your guys are using what is called a "tangential" cutter or one with a motorized knife. It's computer controller actually turns the knife into the cut as it goes along. This allows very small cuts in the light high performance material. You mentioned your stuff was printed - perhaps on a Gerber? Edge or Maxx? The print/cut features on these machines can get the resolution you've described.

    Dry transfer is a great method of getting rich color without background. For the better part of 20 years we used it for pachaging comps to show clients. It's not in favor as much now but it's quality couldn't be beat. Put a quick clear coat over it to protect it and you can't tell it from an original decal except maybe under 10x magnification.
  11. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Custom Dry Transfers the letraset ones. Have you all used them? What program did you use to send the artwork to them? Can you spray over them to protect them?.....thanks ..........t

  12. I've use them in several different types of projects. You can cover them with any oil based clear coat. They don't seem to react well to the water based things. They don't bleed - the coating will crawl off though.

    A few years back, I designed a project that had to have a small, intricate, 2 color logo (1 of them metallic!) put on 140 outdoor building identifiers. They were tied in architecturally with the whole wayfinding and landscaping scheme. The only way we could do it is to use dry transfers. I made the file and had it produced locally. We applied them to the previously painted panels along with vinyl numbers then clear coated them to seal. They are still in service now 8 years later without sign of fading or weathering other than dirt on the faces.

    I use Corel exclusively but as long as you keep your file as a high rez .tif, .eps, .ai, .ps, you should be fine. Just check with the vendor for what they recommend.
  13. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    1500 Northwest 58th Street,
    Seattle, WA 98107
    (206) 783-9610

    They do my logos and they will do small stuff for a fee - but they are very very good at what they do.
  14. Rowka


    Dec 9, 2002
    Jacksonville, FL
  15. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    What about using gold leaf? I've got a limited amount of the stuff from my grandpa's old modeling days, and thought I could use if for my headstock logo. Would it work?
  16. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner

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