Engraving Transfer Method A transfer method that works
Posted 14 July 2010 - 04:49 PM
1. Transfer Solution
2. Transparency Film
3. Printer Ink
The intent of the transfer solution is to create a sticky surface on the work-piece to pull the ink off of the transfer film. There are many formulas to be found on the internet for transfer solutions. Most of them are a mixture of Dammar Varnish and either Isopropyl alcohol or Zippo lighter fluid. The percentages given for the two components are typically between 5% to 30% Dammar varnish, with the balance being either alcohol or lighter fluid. There is however a source for a pre-made transfer solution. The mixture is supplied by Tom White. Below are the addresses of his web site and his email.
This is simply the transparent film used for over head projectors. The important aspect of the film that you use is that must NOT be compatible with the ink that you use to print your artwork. The printer ink is to be transferred to the work-piece. So, you want to use a transparency film that is not compatible with the ink so that the ink does not stick tightly to the film. I use transfer film number EBG32+811. It can be purchased from Esjay Unlimited. Below is the contact information for the film. Tom is very helpful and is extremely knowledgeable about the engraving transfer process.
Contact: Tom James - 1-800-524-2528
The proper type of ink to use with this film is PIGMENTED ink. There are two types of printer ink; dye based ink and pigmented ink. Dye based inks are usually described as having brighter colors. Pigmented inks are advertized as holding their color for a longer time (they resist fading). The only ink that I have found to definitely be pigmented ink is made by Epson. The ink is DURABrite Ultra. But, this ink is not used in all Epson printers, so you must be careful when you purchase a printer for your transfer work. I use an Epson Model NX 415 printer. Below is the web address for DURABrite inks and the printers that use these inks.
My Epson printer was not designed to print on transparency film. It doesn't "see" the transparent film and thinks it is out of paper. To remedy this situation, I created a WORD document that is just a black bar about 1/2" wide, running down one side of the sheet. I print this black bar on the transparency film using my laser printer. The film is compatible with laser printing, so the bar will not wear off for the life of the sheet.
Making the Transfer:
The surface of the work-piece must not be too highly polished. If the surface is too smooth, the transfer solution does not stick well to it and will peel off of the surface. I sand the work-piece with nothing finer than 800 grit paper just before making the transfer.
The surface must be absolutely clean before applying the transfer solution. I use a Q-Tip and 91% isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface. Next, I go over the surface again with another Q-Tip that has just a little bit of the transfer solution on it.
I then apply the transfer solution to the work-piece with a Q-Tip that has been dipped in the solution and then wrung out lightly against the inside of the solution bottle. I apply the solution by rolling the Q-Tip on the surface. You don't want too much solution on the surface. If you leave a drip or have the solution too thick on the surface, the transfer may not work well there. After applying the solution, blow on the work-piece. If you have applied the solution correctly, the surface should develop a dull haze on it.
Cut the artwork from the transparency sheet and tape the transfer along one edge to the work-piece. This is so you can lift the transparency to see how the transfer is working. I use a ball-point pen to burnish the transfer against the work-piece.
If all goes well with the transfer, you will have a highly detailed image of your artwork applied to your surface.
Posted 25 September 2010 - 05:30 PM
I just got back from the engraving class in Emporia. We got the chance to do these transfers, just as you describe. The images can be found and resized on the computer to fit your work piece, then transfered to the piece. The class opened up a new world for me. We worked late several evenings, so I did not get a chance to visit with you Steve, even though I was relatively close. I regret this, but I had to make hay as you well understand. I hope to contribute to the subject more as time goes by. Lin
Posted 26 September 2010 - 05:38 PM
Glad that you had a good time and learned a lot. I didn't really expect that you would have time for a visit; but decorum demands an offer to you. I bet that it was awesome having Rick for an instructor.
Just curious what resources you learned of for artwork. I've got a few myself, but always looking for new material and inspiration. I've started using Corel Draw to create my own artwork for engraving. Works really well for me.
I look foreward to seeing your posts about engraving in this forum!
Posted 27 September 2010 - 05:29 PM
I'm just getting started in the engraving field, but I have studied some of the Dover Pattern Books. In the class, we used the patterns that Rick offered us, however, I bought the new book by Ron Smith on the subject of design. This book will be a great help to me I know. He (Ron)shows how to develope your own design based on the object being engraved. I certainly will be looking all along for patterns to use, but I want to draw my own in due time. I believe I can do it, but it will take practice for sure. Lin
Posted 27 September 2010 - 06:28 PM
I have found it rather difficult for me to draw artwork by hand. Seems that I am not very skilled with a pencil; it takes practice, practice, practice. I have started using Corel Draw to create my engraving art. I can do all of the scrolls, leaves and other elements fairly quickly and I don't have eraser marks all over my page. I can then print the artwork directly; without having to scan it in to my computer and resizing. I like it!!!
Posted 29 September 2010 - 07:08 AM
The Corel Draw software package includes some other applications; photo editing (Photo-Paint); file conversion (Power-Trace) and screen capture (Capture). Photo-Paint is a pretty decent photo editing program, but I use Corel Paint Shop Photo Pro X3. I like the controls and photo organization better in Photo Pro X3. Power-Trace can be useful for converting scanned images into a format that can be scaled. Capture is useful if you want to copy something that is on your computer screen for pasting into an email or a document.
The entire Corel Draw package is kind of pricy with all of the additional applications. I don't see where they have just the Draw program available as a stand alone item. You can download a trial version of any of Corel's software to see how you like it. They usually offer a discounted price on the software if you decide to purchase the software during the trial period.
Corel Draw has a function for making scrolls. The scrolls however are not perfectly shaped (a little lumpy). But, it isn't difficult to use the controls to reshape it. Once you have a scroll looking the way you want, save it and you can resize it to fit anywhere that you need a scroll of that type. Leaves are easy to make and can be resized as well. Eventually, you will have built a library of scrolls, leaves and other elements that you can simply copy, resize and fit into your artwork design.
There are tutorials on the Engraver's Cafe forum on how to make scrolls and leaves with Corel Draw. You have to be a member of the forum to see the images, but this forum is well worth joining if you engrave. Below are links to these tutorials.
Engraver's Cafe Scrolls
Engraver's Cafe Leaves
I also use the Corel Draw software for designing patterns for the guards and fittings on my knives. I can print out a paper pattern for a guard, glue the pattern to a piece of material for the guard and then just cut and grind the material to the lines on the paper pattern. When I first started making knives, I tried using the Staedtler-Mars plastic drawing templates for laying out my guards, but found them difficult to use; seldom the correct size, the center line indicators were not properly centered on the template...... With the Corel Draw software, I can tell the program the exact size that I want the guard to be, place a center-line over the pattern and then print it for attachment to the guard material. I've saved a document with my often used guard designs so that when building a knife, all that I have to do is pull up the document and print it and I am ready to make a guard.