Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Modelling Supplies: White Wine Vinegar

When I blogged about not being able to count on Sunday I didn't envisage being able to fully complete the wagon until next weekend at the earliest, as I would have to wait for the transfers to arrive and then find time to apply them and finally varnish the completed model. So it's with some surprise that I present the completed wagon for you today; the transfers arrived in the post this morning, were applied in about 20 minutes during my lunch break, and then the varnish applied while waiting for the kettle to boil mid afternoon. After a couple of panicky moments the final model looks pretty good, although for some reason there isn't room to evenly space the main logo (and my wagon is slightly larger than the one the transfers were designed to fit).

If you remember from my past attempts to use waterslide transfers (here and here) they weren't exactly an unqualified success. There are a number of solutions you can buy that you either apply to the model before the transfer, or in which you soak the transfer to remove the backing paper, and which are supposed to help but I thought I'd try a cheap trick that I saw mentioned in a forum (I can't now remember which one); vinegar. The suggestion was that you can soften the transfer slightly by adding a few drops of vinegar to the warm water you soak the transfers in. I decided that I wouldn't go this route but would try something slightly different.

I applied the transfers as normal (soak in warm water, position with a paintbrush and then remove excess water with a cotton wool bud) and then used a cotton wool bud soaked in vinegar (white wine vinegar to be precise) first to get vinegar under the transfer (if you simply put vinegar along the edge of the transfer it gets sucked under the transfer nicely) and then to rub the transfer to mould it to the details of the model. This seemed to work really well leaving me with transfers that had folded nicely into the creases between planks etc. and it has the advantage of not making the transfer any more delicate than necessary when you try to position it on the model which is when it is most likely to rip.

The other tip I picked up is to ensure that the aerosol of varnish is both warmed (I stand it in hot water for about five minutes) and then well shaken. This apparently stops the white dots that plagued my previous models from occurring. This worked really well, although I did have a worrisome ten minutes after I'd sprayed the model as initially the transfers (especially the large logo) crinkled up badly, but as the varnish dried they flattened out again.

It's taken less than two months from my first attempt at printing a wagon to a fully painted and detailed wagon that I'm really happy with. I call that a successful experiment with more complex 3D printing than the small accessories I'd designed in the past, and if I can do it then so can you!


  1. I'm in awe Mark. It almost makes me want to have a try. But then I look at all the other things I'm doing or trying to do and realise how silly that would be.