I DO NOT SUPPLY
Whilst there have been many advances in computer and printer technology for the home user the printing of an opaque image on water slide transfer material that can be used for the printing out of replacement decals is something that still alludes us. It is possible to buy such decals currently from the USA and South America and very good they are but if you need an obscure logo for your restored gramophone or the economics of the issue is too great you are forced to a DIY approach. The main problem for the home computer owner is that the device they use to print out imagery will be either an ink jet or a laser printer and both these devices were designed to print on white paper. Consequently there is no white either ink or toner as this, in a similar fashion to watercolour painting, comes from the paper itself. The result is that a print has no white and no opacity. For metallic images we have no metal inks either. What never fails to annoy me is that there was a time about 15 years or so ago that I had a printer that printed both white and metallic colours.
It was part of the kit I used in a school department I was running, long before gramophone restoration attracted my attention, and was called an ALPS thermal printer. It used ribbons of colour instead of the more economical ink or toner. Eventually it became obsolete ....and it pains me to say this ......scrapped. Today they still turn up on ebay, although I guess connectivity could be an issue as they used the old parallel port connector and not the moden USB type although, as it seems possible to obtain any number of adapters nowadays, there will no doubt be a parallel plug to USB plug one. Cost is the major issue as refurbished as this will at best be, at around $700 (rarely available in the UK) it's too much to pay for the occasional decal. So how do we get around the issue of producing our own decals for the occasional machine? Well from a printer persepctive it's going to be either ink jet or laser and for each water slide paper is available. I obtain mine from a company called Crafty Computer Paper ( See link left)
The paper comes in clear and white sheets. Clear is fine for going onto a white background but useless on anything coloured in which case the white sheets are needed but beware as suitable images will need to be cut round the perimeter in order for the white not to show, fine for simple shapes but almost impossible on complex contours and images that fade at the edges. I have, however, printed with some success onto white adding a background colour to match the case....tricky but possible.
Initially, before printing can commence, the image will need designing. The basis can be either a very good photograph image of an existing logo or as if often the case a complete recreation of the logo based upon a damaged original. At it's simplest the graphic software supplied with a computer e.g. Paint that comes with versions of Windows on PC can be used. I use a programme called CorelDraw. Mine is now an early version, No 11 I believe, but it still works.
Here are some of my "recreations" - click image for a larger version