Help with image transfers

DTS419

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Feb 6, 2020
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16
Hi,
I have tried several laser printers around the office and even went to Staples to use theirs, but none of them work with the acetone transfer method. It seems that whatever is used for the toner, it does not dissolve with the acetone.

I've also tried a few different ways to use my inkjet printer at home, but to no avail. Most notably, I have tried clear laminating sheets to print on, but the ink does not come out crisp. Instead, it makes tiny little irregular droplets that smear when transferred to the work. Is there a better medium that would work with inkjet?

About the only way I have been able to transfer anything is with carbon paper, but I find it a lot harder than it would seem to trace perfectly straight enough to achieve quality transfers.

This is really holding me back and I'm at my wit's end, so thanks in advance for the help!
 

tdelewis

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Pictorico sheets that are used with an ink jet have one side coated with a material that will not allow it to smear. If you print on a clear sheet that that is not coated or if you print on the wrong side of a Pictorico sheet it will smear every time. Also the ink will bead like it is water on a wax surface. The type of ink used is also important. Some inks are pigment and some are dyes. Inks that are of the dye type don't transfer well. It is becoming more common to find that most inks are dyes because they keep photos from smearing. Pigment inks transfer much better. I use HP 62. I think the preferred is HP 61.

I have not found a laser printer that doesn't work with acetone. The toner used in laser printers, as I understand, is a plastic powder. It is put on the paper by an electric charge and then baked on with heat to hold it in place. I know there are different types of plastics. I keep my acetone in a white plastic container and it doesn't melt. Once I laid pad damp pad with acetone on one of my plastic cases and it melted it. I don't know if that is the case in your situation.

You might try using a laser printer and printing on baking parchment paper. The parchment paper is coated with silicon and the toner is not bonded to the paper, just like cookies won't stick when baked in the oven. You need to be careful with it because it will smear but you should get 100% transfer. The item that you are transferring to needs to coated with something that will hold the toner. I use a Prismacolor 40% gray blending marker to coat the metal. Tom Whites transfer solution should work as well. Another coating that some use is artist varnish diluted with lighter fluid, about 90% lighter fluid and 10% varnish. I haven't tried this. Some who use this coating will experiment and use a different ratio, one that they like.
 

pmace

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I print on overhead transparency sheets with my Canon MF4890 laser jet (toner) printer all the time and they turn out perfect. They do make transparency sheets for inkjet too although I doubt the transfer will work. I just did a transfer with regular paper and acetone and it's not great but it works.
 

JMiller

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Use Pictorico, print on the rough side not the smooth. If you rub with your finger tips you can tell the difference. For your transfer solution get some pine resin( I bought the rock type) 99% isopropyl alcohol & put them in a small mason jar. Put the jar in a pot of water on low to medium low heat until dissolved. Four to five good sized rocks to a bottle of alcohol should produce more than you can use for a long time. Don’t forget to reverse your image, apply solution and burnish.... works like a charm every time.
 

pmace

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Use Pictorico, print on the rough side not the smooth. If you rub with your finger tips you can tell the difference. For your transfer solution get some pine resin( I bought the rock type) 99% isopropyl alcohol & put them in a small mason jar. Put the jar in a pot of water on low to medium low heat until dissolved. Four to five good sized rocks to a bottle of alcohol should produce more than you can use for a long time. Don’t forget to reverse your image, apply solution and burnish.... works like a charm every time.
Jeff
Toner or ink jet printer with Pictorico? Resin solution on the film or the work?
 

DTS419

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Feb 6, 2020
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I ordered some transparency sheets today. Not Pictorico, but they have the two different sides. My printer is Canon, not sure what kind of ink it uses, but I will give it a shot.

I have noticed that the newer inks seem to be more indelible than they used to be. I remember printing labels and the ink would run with a drop of rain on the way to the mailbox. The inks nowadays are practically waterproof.
 
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JMiller

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Jeff
Toner or ink jet printer with Pictorico? Resin solution on the film or the work?
I have a HP envy 4520(inkjet), solution on the work... dab the area with your finger until it gets tacky or just give it some tack time then apply the transfer. I would also add If your solution isn't tacky enough just add more resin or if it's too tacky add more alcohol to get the desired result, whatever your preference.
 

pmace

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I have a HP envy 4520(inkjet), solution on the work... dab the area with your finger until it gets tacky or just give it some tack time then apply the transfer. I would also add If your solution isn't tacky enough just add more resin or if it's too tacky add more alcohol to get the desired result, whatever your preference.
I do the same with regular overhead transparency film and a toner type printer. Just soak the film in acetone for a few seconds to loosen the toner. Let it dry and burnish down. I spray with some aerosol fixative to stop the stickies as you are working. Violin bow rosin is a little more refined and has less junk in it.
 

DTS419

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Well, my transparency sheets came today and nothing worked. Whatever is in ink these days, it is super permanent. Not even scrubbing the ink directly with acetone will remove it from the transparency sheet. I even tried using the heat gun while burnishing and the transparency sheet began to melt (along with the hot glue securing my work piece) without any trace of the ink on the metal.

I did not try the pine resin method described above, but I am confident that if wiping the ink with acetone does not remove it, the resin/alcohol won't either. Printing on parchment paper didn't work either after I got it to print without jamming.

Someone needs to develop a thin film that you can print on and then stick right on the work piece to engrave on directly, like a window sticker or one of those kid tattoos. Until then, I guess I'll have to get a lot better at tracing on carbon paper. :mad:
 
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billyProps

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Feb 22, 2021
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I just developed my transfer method from a few other methods I've seen and it works great: Brother 5240 laser printer off ebay, generic/Samsill transparent projection paper, 5:1 lacquer thinner and Allclad ii lacquer (sold for airbrushes). Brush on solution and in a few minutes when it’s still tacky put down the transfer and burnish. Works great and doesn’t rub off.

edit: also, don’t use heat on mine or the image bonds to the transparent sheet. I disconnected the heater in the printer, as well, as described in a Shaun Hughes video.
 
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Tuck Minnett

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Mar 23, 2019
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I use an HP MFP M29w laser printer and have no problem transferring to metal with acetone. I use Q tips to swipe acetone across the back of the paper, then press down with a finger. It takes a little practice to learn how wet the paper needs to be, but it works fine for me. Good luck.

60B84F26-EBA6-48A0-B9B1-227E8CEA2933.jpeg
 

DocsGunandKnife

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Canon Laser Printer + Acetone Transfer works like a champ every time for me on any steel. On brass receivers (Henry in particular) I have had more luck with the ink-jet printers + transparency sheet + Pictorico as described by others.
 

DTS419

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Feb 6, 2020
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Clearly, not all inks are the same. As mentioned before, I have tried several modern printers, both inkjet and laser, to no avail. The basic Canon inkjet printer that I have uses some type of ink that gets hard no matter what medium printed on and does not come off, even when scrubbed with acetone, chemical paint stripper, etc. Likewise, the laser printing I have tried does not come off with the acetone method. These are great for everyday printing where durability and moisture resistance are concerned, but a no-go for image transfers.

I've done some more research and according to one reference, it appears my issue might be that I am using the much more common and affordable dye inkjet printer, but you need pigment based ink to do transfers. The problem is that pigment printers are much more expensive, to the point that they are cost-prohibitive just to use for the occasional image transfer. Dye inks probably worked in the past when they weren't as durable and I suspect that many who are having success doing transfers with inexpensive inkjet printers are probably using older dye printers that won't be around for too much longer.

I still don't know what the deal is with laser. Basic laser printers seem to be more affordable than pigment based inkjet printers, but before I go out and buy a printer I'd like to know for sure what works and what doesn't.

Does anyone know what properties to look for in a laser printer toner?
 
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AllenClapp

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I went to my local office supply store and got a test print off of all the inexpensive laser printers. I found that all of the HP and all of the Canon ones worked (two years ago). I suggest doing the same. FYI, I had heard that color laser printers didn't work and asked forum folks if that was true. Answers indicated that some color ones worked fine, but some colors were more visible than others--i.e., yellow doesn't work too well. Some folks say to set a color laser printer on BLACK ONLY before printing. However, if red and other colors work, that could be an advantage to have main cuts in black and leaf cuts in color. If you want to use your printer for other things using color, then get some test prints from color machines and try them with acetone.
 

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