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Loco lettering

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Perko709/03/2022 12:18:05
427 forum posts
33 photos

Hi all, been experimenting a bit with letters and numbers for my 5in gauge model of a Qld Railways DL class loco. Eventually settled on the following process:

- generate full size drawing in CAD and print out

- trace onto white self-adhesive vinyl covering for folders/books etc (generic name in Australia is 'Contact' , may be called other things elsewhere)

- cut around outline using sharp hobby knife

- paint whole area of sheet with appropriate colour enamel (may need 2 coats)

- separate individual letters, peel off backing and place in position.

I'm not sure how durable they will be, but the Contact covering I have used seems fairly robust as a book covering for school books etc so should be ok for a lightly-handled loco. To be on the safe side I sprayed the completed lettering with a coat of clear gloss.

TIme will tell how successful this approach will be, but it was certainly easier than trying to hand-paint and cheaper than many other alternatives such as computer-generated vinyl letters, waterslide transfers etc.

Also of note is the builders plate, engraved from brass plate by a friend using a small CNC mill.



pgk pgk09/03/2022 12:51:51
2592 forum posts
293 photos

We call it sticky-back plastic in the UK. That or the vinyls used for sign writing and truck/van advertising come in a huge range of colours which would save the effort and uncertainly of paint - although i admire your industry..
Local eBay lists some suppliers, including smaller sample sheets and probably you could also find someone who would pre-cut small quantities.
I will admit to having used a similar approach when making a new post box for the front drive - except I used scrap UPVC from double glazing leftovers and cut and filed it to shape before painting with gloss and UV proof varnish.


Perko709/03/2022 13:23:52
427 forum posts
33 photos

Thanks for the ideas.

This was mostly a case of making do with what was at hand at the time as an experiment. Pre-coloured vinyl would certainly be easier but if the colour density is too high it might be difficult to trace the letter outlines unless I update my light table (currently a convenient window facing sunlight) to something with stronger light. I do have a friend (the same one who did the builders plate) whose wife has a vinyl cutting machine for doing letters and other shapes for scrap-booking but hesitate to ask too many favours.

pgk pgk09/03/2022 20:10:12
2592 forum posts
293 photos

Several decades ago I played with a cheap vibrational engraving tool and engraved a few images onto stainless steel, My technique then was to paint the steel with cheap white emulsion, carbon copy the main outlines, engrave through them, clean off with car cutting back paste and free-hand the rest.
Some sort of idea like that might work or finding a water-soluble low tack adhesive to fix the print before cutting then peel away.
Bribery is the other way - gin, wine or offer to knock up some nice brass corners for her scrap-books...


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