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  • #959
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    Good day fellow Members:

    Just thought that I would pass the following on to you guy’s. Maybe others have tried this also, and can contribute with their results.

    I am working on this Trav-Ler Model 5028 Portable. The dial on the radio has faded badly, so I thought that I would try scanning it into my computer, and use my photo software to spice it up a little. I am pleased with the results so far.

    I just scanned the dial with my scanner, and saved it in JPEG photo format to my hard drive. My Photo Software program is not an expensive one, it is one of the cheaper microsoft products that I believe is now off the market "Microsoft Digital Image Pro". I purchased it several years ago for around ninety some dollars with rebate.

    I open the picture, and zoom it up to a size just before the pixels start to blur the photo. Then I just use the paint brush to refresh the colors. Going around corners, I use the circle dabber, and on straight lines I use the square dabber, both in the free hand paint brush style. I ended up dabbing the circles and squares probably a hundred times or more to get where I am today. I have nearly everthing done now except the station numbers. They need to be a brighter red.

    When I have finished the photo, I will print it on high gloss photo paper and glue the photo paper to the origional radio dial. Will keep you posted on how this works out.

    Download Trav-ler Dial.jpg. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Download Trav-ler Dial upgrade.jpg. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Forum Participant

    I have done this and have been in the same situation with trying to edit pixel by pixel.
    one point that comes to mind as there are two types of drawing programs, vector and pixel graphics.
    .jpg or .bmp files are bitmaps, which display the data in pixels. so the data is basically telling the program which dots to fill in. Vector graphics on the other hand could display a border by width and position, length of it’s sides, radius of corners etc. the advantage with vector graphics is that they can be resized without loosing clarity. I would try to work with a Jpg or similar but if you want to say, draw a circle , if there is a circle tool it may help it look more concentric. you can type and drag letters around but when you save the image it will likely conver the type into a bitmap image and you may see some distortion of the letters from this.

    when you start the image try to think of the end result, as far as size ,resolution, and number of colors. something to be printed as a one off should have the highest resolution your output device can use. check your printer to see what that is. Slow printing speed isn’t an issue for one or two. as long as you computer doesn’t choke on the file because of it’s size.
    When you are doing things like resizing ,rotating, saving, it takes lots of ram to do that with a big high resolution file, so you don’t want extra image size or it just slows your computer down. the more ram you have the better. save backup files as you go so you can go back if you mess it up.

    One thing I found is important is the paper. The real photo paper has a good finish, and is I would think fairly dimensionally stable and less likely to warp from humidity etc. If you buy photo paper, check by holding it up to the light, a lot of it has a watermark type logo that is only visable when held up to the light and you don’t want that to show up by being backlit by the dial light. I did a couple on my inkjet printer that looked pretty good to me but I think they would look better with a color laser printer. you could save the file and go to a local print shop or copy shop to have it made.
    Most large print shops have proofing capabilities. When a printing job is ordered they often do a "contract proof" this is a proof made as a one off to represent the final printed product. If you were ordering a large print job you might want to first approve the color, position etc. the contract proof is approved before you invest the cost of the printing job. These contract proofers can put out terrific quality images but i am not sure of the cost. sign shops might have some nice equipment as well.
    I found some waterslide paper that supposedly can be printed on and then soaked in water like the labels found in model kits. I found it at one of the stores that sells to the model train crowd. I haven’t tried using it yet but thought it might be good for labels like tone, volume etc.

    Forum Participant

    Thanks for the additional information Phil:
    I have also tried creating the decals. Here’s a brief rundown on my results. I was trying to create a decal for an RCA radio that had the cabinet redone. The origional decal could not be saved. Found a radio with a nice decal intact, and took a good digital photo of it. Then using the same software as the dial. zoomed up the decal photo and repaired it the best I could. Then put it back to the origional size, and printed it on Inkjet water decal paper. This paper comes either in a clear format or a white background format. The name of the Company that produces the decal paper is "Bare-Metal Foil Co." and nearly all the good hobby shops will carry it.

    First I tried the clear decal paper, because the decal was going to be put on the radio cabinet veneir, and you only wanted the decal image to show, not the decal background color. Now the origional decal was a metallic gold color with black outline of the decal image. Metallic colors cannot be duplicated by Injet, and the closest yellow was selected. The decal instruction sheet, states that a clear decal with metallic is hard to produce, and suggested that the decal be printed twice to sharpen the image. I did that, but when applied to the radio, and laquer sprayed over the decal, it was not satisfactory. Then decided to try the decal paper with the white background. This should help in keeping the decal image brighter. However, by doing that, you must trim the decal to the image border, otherwise the white background would show. I have the white decals printed, but have not installed them yet, so this is a works in progress.

    In the mean time, I have spoken with a local decal commercial decal maker, and print shop. They have a self adhesive gold metallic paper, and they may be able to print the decal on it. I have emailed them the digital decal, and once again that is a work in progress. Also the Bare-Metal Foil Co. does offer a metallic gold self adhesive paper. So more testing to be done. I think that there will be a solution to the old radio restoration guy, to have the ability to create nice dials and decals very reasonably. Thanks for you input Phil, Anybody else trying this????

    Download RCA LOGO And Name Final.jpg. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Forum Participant

    Being an ex pressman, printing equipment technician, I have some insight into printing. Gold colors can be printed via the offset process with gold inks. gold inks have metallic particles suspended in them so they present some issues with cleanup of the press. The results you can get from gold inks are gold-ish colors but if you really want gold color you need to go into foil printing. You see gold foil printing on greeting cards, wedding cards etc. this foil is very thing actual gold leaf, it is similar to the lettering you see on the front of many old businesses. It also comes in colors like red. It is applied to the paper by hot stamping. This means it is printed letterpress, not offset, inkjet,laser etc. to accomplish hot stamping or letterpress printing you need lead type, or in the case of a logo or picture this was done by creating a wood block which was covered with a lead plate that had the image on it , with the parts to be printed – a raised surface. There are companies in existance that have the ability to produce raised metal printing plates from photograpic images. The press used for this type of foil printing was a letterpress, which is a press that opens and closes with pressure. You probably remember John Boy Walton treadling his press to get the newspaper out. I have such a press in my back yard weighs about a ton – it’s too big to get in the house!

    To do gold foil work the press needs to have an attachment to heat the type or plate to make the foil process work. there are a few companies that specialize with this type or equipment often for wedding and greeting cards. Presses of this style were in common use when most of the radios were made and some are still in existance for certain purposes such as die cutting boxes. Because of the cost of setup involved in hot foil printing it isn’t practicle for a (one off) dial, but I just wanted to point this out as you often see this sort of gold foil work – for example used on some dial faces.
    printing black over gold colored foil might make for some very good results but I haven’t tried, I think this is the best alternative if you want it to really be gold and shiny.
    so with Letterpress being common in the days our old radios alot was done this way. for example: cutting the backs out to a specific shape and printing on those was most likely done on letterpress.

    One other interesting process that will produce a raised gold image is thermography. You have probably seen business cards done in raised print. this is done by printing the cards on an offset press and then sprinkling a plastic powder in the wet ink. The wet ink holds the plastic powder and the rest is vacuumed back off. then the sheet goes through an oven giving sufficient heat to melt the powder. Usually clear powder is used and the color of they type is the ink color, but it is possible to use gold or yellow ink with gold plastic powder. I used to do this as a job , and had some stunning results printing on black shiny paper with the gold powder. Same drawback though with the cleanup time. The gold powder is a job to clean up so it was done only once a week to keep this cost down.


    Forum Participant

    Another interesting technique that has been discussed on other newsgroups is to print on paper and then to transfer this image to a hard surface. I think it went something like this:
    rub UHU stick on shiny coated paper and let it dry.
    spray laquer on that and let dry.
    print the image in reverse. , then spray laquer over it.
    spray laquer over the shiny surface you want to apply it to , and more onto the paper.
    lay the paper onto the radio wet laquer to wet laquer. let it dry under some pressure.
    get it wet, and wash the paper off, leaviing the image between the layers of laquer. It certainly sounded interesting, especially for adding grain to radios with a photo finish.

    Also I mentioned the ‘proofing methods’ for printing previously. With some of these machines the process is to transfer the image to a mylar sheet called a reciever. Gold and other special colors can be used. the last step in that process is to transfer the image from the mylar sheet to a sheet of shiny paper by putting it through hot rollers., and peel the mylar off. It strikes me as possible to use this reciever, and instead of transferring it to the sheet, to transfer it to a radio. the problem is these machines aren’t easily accessible to the general public.

    Forum Participant

    much of the difficulty of printing on a radio is that inks which are used for ink jet and laser printers is that the inks aren’t permanent.

    silk screening.
    with silk screening, and also partiially true for letterpress printing, you can use inks which are more permanent than you could with other printing methods.

    pad printing
    For a time my uncle ran some special equipment in a home based business This process he is is called "pad printing". Pad printing uses a rubber die with the type form that can slap against say- an ashtray or a golf ball and print on it that way.
    you can use tough ink , try to scratch the writing off the bottom of an ashtray!

    Flexo printing – flexographic printing uses raised rubber plates. this is how plastic bags get printed as well as a lot of plastic packaging. the raised rubber plates intended for flexo printing could be used for letterpress printing with permanent inks.

    – a rubber stamp.
    a simple form of letterpress printing is a rubber stamp. rubber stamps are made from materials similar to flexo printing
    if you had a rubber stamp with the RCA logo could you just apply a permanet silver ink (or paint) directly to the radio? the rubber stamp places can put signatures onto a rubber stamp, so why not an RCA logo ?

    I have a small silk screening frame. there is a bowl with a fine mesh for screening the ink , a 1′ x1′ or so frame , squeegee, a few colors of ink. It has never been used.
    the first step in the proces is to make the mask which is done by photographic process as I know it, and I think some more modern materials have been invented to transfer the image mask from a computer to silk screen . the mask is transferred to the screen and stops the ink from passing wherever it isn’t wanted.

    How about a really tiny silk screen and then a tiny squeegy to make the one off application of gold letters directly to the radio ?

    Maybe silk screen ink would have the properties of both looking "gold" and also being permanent enough to not need to be underneath the laquer. I think it would be worth trying, just practice on something else and wipe it off right away if you don’t like it. what kind of ink would play nicely with the laquer? not enamal that’s for sure, it would bubble the laquer. epoxy maybe?


    Forum Participant

    Follow-up on the RCA Decals
    After completing the art work, and printing on the injet printer with both clear paper and white background water decal paper. We experimented by cutting the decals and mounting them on samples of venier. First you have to secure the ink with a special coating. I have been told that just plain old clear coat also works. We used the new Kodack ink which is reported to have a very long life before fading over other injet inks. (Yet to be determined).

    We were not happy with the visibility of the decal. The ink jet on the decal paper was far to weak to be used as a replacement decal. We then went to a local print shop and asked them if they had gold metallic self adhesive paper that they could print our decal on. They did have such a product, and we emailed our art work to them. They printed a whole page of the decals for us, and also used a special cutting machine to cut the decal ready for mounting. (See Attached Photo). One of the decals has now been placed on the Newly refinished RCA console radio, and looks just fantastic.

    I do believe that if one searched around you could find a metallic gold self adhesive paper that you could print your artwork on from an injet or laser printer. It is very exiting what you can now do from your home computer.

    Download Final RCA Decals 001 Medium Web view.jpg. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Robin in Kansas
    Forum Participant

    Hello, everyone!
    Would one of these processes work for restoring the photofinish on my Philco 38-93?

    Download Damaged Philco 38-93 Cabinet.JPG. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Gerry O’Hara
    Forum Participant

    here is the final results of the RCA Cabinet restoration which was undertaken at the Coquitlam British Columbia SPARC Museum cabinet shop under the guidance of the resident expert, Patrick Jones. The Alpha decals are the kits that you can purchase from RADIO DAZE, and the two circles, RCA is the finished product of our home made effort. Very pleased with the results on this lovely restored cabinet.

    Download RCA Logo & Name Competed on Cabinet.jpg. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Download RCA logo final on Cabinet.jpg. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Forum Participant

    The RCA is interesting, I bought the same radio about a year ago, it has the motorized tuning which is a fun feature.
    It has a lot of tubes . The one I have still plays and had some restoration done ( probably just filter caps) it would be fun to really go over it and make it work perfectly again. it sounds pretty good now. I also have an empty cabinet (missing most of one side) for a slightly larger version of this radio. which I hauled down to the meeting a while back.
    one problem with them is the bakelite ( or is it Tennite) the curved piece that surrounds the dial. mine is a little warped but I fealt lucky that it is intact. These always shrink and I don’t know if anyone makes repros.


    Ed Stone
    Forum Participant

    See under ‘Electronic Restoration’ for post about using scanned dials fixed-up with Photoshop on a Rogers table radio.

    Download DSC00166.JPG. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

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