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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter and I are going to make a wooded bingo ball holder (the thing that has holes for the balls and all of the numbers on it).
I haven't decide whether to paint or stain this yet, but what are some option to add the letter and numbers that look good?

Thanks,
Rob
 

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The method is using solvent such as acetone. This may attack a finish, so perhaps apply the transfer before finishing.

Another option is to use a hand held router or Dremel type tool to write the letter or numbers. Spray paint the letters or numbers, then when you sand the surface, the only paint left will be in the letters or numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the help guys.

* With regards to the video, did you use lacquer thinner or acetone to make the transfer. The video (and comments) seems to indicate mixed success with acetone.

* Order of operations: So using this method, did you perform the final sanding, stain/paint and then transfer the letters, and then spray on a topcoat? Did anyone try brushing on a topcoat over the transfer, and was there any adverse effects?


* Dave, I have tried using my Dremel with an engraving attachment, but the letters/numbers were not crisp and as straight as I would like as I was essentially free-handing the letters.

I will explore both of these options to see what works best. Always good to learn something new. Thank you!
 

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John
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I'm not so sure you would need to get involved with chemicals. Those toners are, or at least used to be when I was with Xerox, simply thermoplastic powders. A hot iron should be just as effective.
 

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I use acetone to transfer, and when it dries it doesn't come off. Do this before applying any finish. The finish wont smear or remove the transfer.
 

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I'm not so sure you would need to get involved with chemicals. Those toners are, or at least used to be when I was with Xerox, simply thermoplastic powders. A hot iron should be just as effective.
That is still correct, but the trick in getting the toner onto your wood project is convincing the toner to both let go of the paper and stick to your project surface.

Acetone should work fine, but it evaporates so quickly that it doesn't give much open time to work. A good alternative (perhaps less hazardous to your health, but who knows) is the Chartpak AD Marker P01 - Colorless Blender. This works well for small areas (not massive photos or anything like that). The process is basically the same as it would be for solvents, but I'll reiterate:
  1. Print the desired lettering or design onto lightweight 20# paper, reverse reading (mirror image)
  2. Place the paper face down on the unfinished wood surface. It will be important to hold the paper securely in place.
  3. Using the Chartpak P01 colorless blender marker, wet the back of the paper where the image or text is. The marker will make the paper translucent, so it will be easy to see where the text/design is on the paper. Using a hard blunt object, burnish the back of the paper where there is toner on the opposite side. For line work and text, it works well to trace the lines with a finer blunt object (ball burnisher, back end of a round paintbursh handle, etc). The toner should transfer provided your project surface is smooth and porous. Be aware that this process will stretch the paper, so it is best to start at one side and work your way across the image.

There are other processes and materials for toner transfers. The above method is common for artists. DIY electronic hobbyists who make their own circuit boards use toner transfers to lay out circuit boards, as the toner acts as an acid resist as they etch their own PCBs. For them, a product called Press-N-Peel Blue is common and very effective. A budget alternative is some gloss inkjet photo papers. Supposedly the basic quality Staples brand gloss inkjet photo paper works well. You should, of course, beware that putting a coated inkjet paper through a laser machine could cause a jam or damage your fuser, but one sheet here and there is probably going to be just fine. The process with either the Press-N-Peel Blue or photo paper is the same. You simply print the reverse-reading image onto the paper, lay it on the desired surface, and use a hot household iron on the back with heavy pressure, thoroughly across the back. The benefit to this is that it keeps the lines crisper and darker since the toner isn't being dissolved, but melted and transferred. Another benefit is that this is made to work on copper PCBs, so should have good success with sealed, nonporous surfaces--though you'll want to test this with your specific materials to fine tune the process.

Another side note: Color laser prints will work--but not well. Color laser prints are the same as black and white, only they have four layers of four different colors of plastic in a halftone pattern. Single color lines or graphics may work alright, but gradients, complex colors, or photo images will just be a mess. This is partially because the colors will be stacked in the reverse order, but mostly because it just adds too much toner to the mix. Stick to monochrome for best results.:thumbsup:
 
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