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Author Topic: Working with ink for backglass restoring ??'s  (Read 8457 times)
vinito
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« on: January 04, 2008, 06:51:29 PM »

Ok all you printing guys. Seems to be a bunch of you in here, so I'm going to try to stretch your noodle.

The project: Working out a process that the handy DIY guy can follow to restore the translucent colors in a backglass.

I researched a little on backglass restoration. Virtually everybody says DO NOT touch up the translucent areas. Well freakin' yipee! From what I've seen it's always the translucent areas that are peeling while the opaque/masked areas hold tight. I'm a firm believer in the idea that A) people make everything in the first place 2) I am a people and D) I should be able to fix something that was made by other people. It's always worked so far and I hate to be told not to do something. Besides, I'm sure it's just a matter of learning a little bit and figuring out a reliable method for success.

What I've learned so far is that the recommendation away from messing with translucent touch-ups stems from the standard fare of media used for backglass touch-up. Namely, acrylic paints from the craft store. OK, I get it. Acrylic paint repairs can be backed out of if things go wrong. Acrylic is extremely easy to work with relative to ink. But that's not acceptable to me - it's only for opaque, non-backlit areas on backglasses. I refuse to just accept that "you can't repair translucent sections of backglasses". Rubbish!

Another thing I've learned is from ONE SITE that describes their methods of repairing those translucent colors. They use inks instead of paints because they are opaque when front-lit but so thin that they transmit light through. OK, I think we're on to something. Plus, if one guy can do it, then I can too.

So today I brought home a selection of good gravure (solvent) inks - black, white, yellow, rubine red, and cyan. Also some solvent. I'm going to experiment with this stuff and see what I can come up with, but I'm not a printer so I can use any advice from you printer guys if you have any.

I've already tried freehand brushing on some blank glass, which works OK except the brush strokes show a little and is obviously thicker than optimum. I also tried brushing inside a shape made with masking tape, which won't do - the thin ink & solvent wicks under the masking tape easily and leaves a nasty, hairy border. No good. I started with a brush just because it's easy and I didn't figure it would be the right method.

This leads me to two other methods to try next: Rolling the ink on a masked pattern with a soft rubber roller - I'm guessing the edges might not be acceptable since the roller will have to flex over the masking tape, but maybe not. That's why I'm experimenting grin
The other method is to airbrush the ink on a masked pattern, but I'm not sure if I'll have the wicking edge problem with this or not. It might depend on the proper thinning of the ink and/or thickness of each coat if more than one is required. Maybe a different masking media would perform better (frisket film?) to address the wicking problem?

What else might I try? passing the ink through silkscreen with a simple mask on the glass? or a simple mask on the screen? (by simple I mean frisket or masking tape). I think the masking needs to be simple & basic, i.e. creating a "real" silkscreen is much more difficult than would be practical for just repairing a backglass.

Anyways, those are a few of my thoughts. I figure I'll experiment as I can over the next few weeks and see if I can come up with a good process. Thanks for any input.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 12:28:48 AM by vinito » Logged
vinito
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 09:51:52 PM »

Tried the airbrush with just masking tape. It looks promising in theory.
I was afraid that the paint would wick up under the tape, but it acts more like a stencil and the ink does not bleed under the tape. Yipee! However, it does soak through. That acetate solvent is pretty aggressive - I use it to clean stuff at work all the time because it dissolves any kind of dirt/grease/grime very fast. Standard paper masking tape won't quite cut the mustard.

So it looks like it might be as simple as finding a masking material that isn't absorbent! Frisket is pretty low-tack and some kind of clear plastic-ish material isn't it? Or maybe I can try some temporary/releasing (whatever it's called) adhesive-backed vinyl from work. I've seen some sticky-backed paper that has a kind of waxy adhesive for multiple repositioning that might work good for this, but I can't remember where I saw that - it was many years ago. It just needs to be something that won't pull existing art off a backglass. I assume that applying triple thick to the art you want to keep should be done first no matter what, but even with that you'd still want to minimize the chance of doing damage when peeling off the mask.

Any ideas welcome.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 01:04:09 AM by vinito » Logged
vinito
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008, 11:30:14 PM »

Alright. Now we're getting somewhere!

I had some sticky-back vinyl and used that for a mask and airbrushed the ink. I tried yellow this time. The color looked pretty good on the white mask but was so translucent on the glass that it looked barely coated. Then I sprayed a light coat of white over it and BAM! Perfect translucent yellow (when viewed from the front), just like the pros.
Ohh yea baby!

The vinyl I have is way too sticky to use on antique backglass art, so I still need to find the right material to mask with. But at least I found that a non-absorbent mask material functions extremely well - nice crisp lines.

I almost wish I had to work tomorrow so I could scrounge some easy-peel sticky back vinyl to bring home. Of course I don't really mean that. I'd much rather take the next six months off that go back to work tomorrow. But I am excited to have covered this kind of ground in just one evening.

I think more than anything else, this is a testament to how easy it will be to successfully heal a peeling backglass. The obvious caveat is that the inks are permanent and it must be done correctly on the first attempt. That's why the mask needs to be easy to work with. Any do-overs must be done with the mask and checked & double checked before committing to spraying ink. A secondary concern is being sure of the color match, but that can be tested on some scrap glass and held up behind the actual art to visually test and adjust until it's satisfactory. You can take as much time doing this as you want, then go watch TV or play with the kids and come back to check it all out again to be sure. This gravure ink with acetate for a thinner dries extremely fast (about five minutes) so once the preparation is done, things can proceed very quickly.

Groovy! afro

By the way:
I have a few really nice Paasche and Iwata airbrushes, but for this project I'm using a cheap Badger external-mix airbrush. I guess it's more accurate to call it a paint sprayer than an air brush. Harbor freight sells something similar and I'm sure it's even cheaper, but the way these things function I'm sure a really cheap one will work about the same as a Badger. It's really pretty cheezy, but is very easy to clean and we don't want this process to require expensive tools. It's got to be easy!

For either sprayer,  you should find a bunch of extra bottles for it with sealing caps to make things easy.

Here's an image of the cheap sprayer I'm using ($20 from the site this picture is from):
$20

Here's a link to the Harbor Freight sprayer:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=47791
Actually it looks much nicer than the Badger I'm using. Hard to go wrong for 5 bucks!
$5
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 12:47:11 AM by vinito » Logged
vinito
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2008, 07:47:07 PM »

Talking of cheap sprayers got me jonesing to drop by Harbor Freight today. They had these, so I picked up 2:

Click here to see it on HF's site

It's just got plastic bottles so it probably won't work with acetate or other aggressive solvents, but I may be wrong about that.
I'll use these sprayers for acrylic and the like. Pretty neat sprayers for $8
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candyflip
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2008, 12:57:38 AM »

Hey vinito,

Just a quick note - thanks for the detailed info. I'm in Melbourne Australia and thinking along the same lines as you.

Swap notes if you want?

Great work - congrats. Are you going to post pics of your work?

best

jon
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vinito
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2008, 01:52:52 AM »

hehe. Yes I will for sure.... if I ever get off my butt and do some work.

I did discover that the cheap HF sprayer is cheaper than I hoped. It would have worked perfectly, but the hole in the nozzle doesn't go through! It's just drilled down a ways and not finished. It was a simple, stupid manufacturing mistake. For me it's not a big deal because I can rework it in my garage machine shop, but most folks don't have that stuff so handy. Maybe different runs from the factory work better (likely). Just maybe inspect it or try it first before blowing money on one.

Since my last post I spent my wad on a Twilight Zone project machine, so my attention has been going there and will for a few more weeks or so. I also spent a day in the hospital and I have no insurance, so the non-insured American statistic has become very real for me and I'll be quite broke for a very long time. Bummer, but at least I'm OK now.

I'll post any more updates as soon as there are any to make, but this project is on the back burner for a while.

V
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candyflip
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2008, 02:38:42 AM »

Wow - that is a bummer. Insurance is virtualy compulsory here, so its a shock to us when we here someone doesn't have it.

If you don't have your health, .... and all that jazz.  shocked  Glad you're OK.

The TZ will be great fun. Perhaps I will share *my* backglass experiences with you instead (although not here - they are not Game Plan glasses).

cheers
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