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Discussion Starter #1
Dear friends, I understand that the best and most common way to print dials is pad printing. It is a very precise process and is ideal for large or medium productions. But if I want to print a few or a single unit, it is quite tedious.
Some types of printing are possible with pad printing. For example:
15589842


But certain types of printing are impossible to do this way. For example:
15589845


Since I want to make and print several different models of dials, I am researching different printing systems. Some used to traditionally print dials and others from very different disciplines of watchmaking:

Some printing technologies:

Pad Printing:

Serigraphy:

Waterslide Decal Process:

UV Flat bed printing:

Dial printer How to print on watch Dial printing equipment

Laser and paint
Making A Flottiglia M.A.S Custom Dial

MAKING A BLUE RENEGADE CUSTOM DIAL

All of these techniques have their difficulties. In principle I am looking for a good quality system, with good finish and durability.
Waterslide Decal or any type of stickers are discarded.

I found very good results with dye-sublimation in other applications. It is an inexpensive method, even when buying the machines. But I don't know the quality that is achieved, especially in very small fonts. Has anyone experimented with this?

Dye-sublimation example:
How to Sublimate a Pen Using the Pen Press Attachment

Any idea is wellcome!

Thanks, Rodolfo
 
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I did a "dial" that I printed as a photo (on photo paper) at Walmart about 10 years ago. I happen to be wearing it tonight:
15589909


Probably not what you're looking for.
 
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Thanks for putting the informations in a place. I'm also looking for those methods to print on dials as I have a dial i might build custom.
 

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I just was experimenting today with using a drag engraver to make a dial... Need to go to a larger size for the text of the brand logo and information but otherwise it seems like it has some promise for anodized aluminum dials. This is literally the first two tests with just some paint quickly rubbed into the designs.

130721612_725276394782563_6540843264542145563_n.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just was experimenting today with using a drag engraver to make a dial... Need to go to a larger size for the text of the brand logo and information but otherwise it seems like it has some promise for anodized aluminum dials. This is literally the first two tests with just some paint quickly rubbed into the designs.

View attachment 15590181
If you will go this way, you could try photo etching. Is almost perfect and you could do it at home.
Regards, Rodolfo
 

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I would like reverse engineer a manual pad printing machine, with off the shelf components and maybe few custom made ones (3D printed or machined). Anyone found some useful info to reverse engineer a pad printer?
 

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I would like reverse engineer a manual pad printing machine, with off the shelf components and maybe few custom made ones (3D printed or machined). Anyone found some useful info to reverse engineer a pad printer?
I'm actually working on this right now. At the core, it's a simple manual machine. One thing to consider is precision adjustments and the repeatability of the print.

I purchased micro precisions tables online, as well as a sliding linear table, press, and other small components. Things I couldn't find online I 3D printed that I modeled myself in CAD. These are used for fixtures of the dial and the cliche.

The cliches and ink are sources locally. All you need is to create a vector file. It takes practice getting the proper ratio for the inks, thinner, etc plus operating the pad printer.
 

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I'm actually working on this right now. At the core, it's a simple manual machine. One thing to consider is precision adjustments and the repeatability of the print.

I purchased micro precisions tables online, as well as a sliding linear table, press, and other small components. Things I couldn't find online I 3D printed that I modeled myself in CAD. These are used for fixtures of the dial and the cliche.

The cliches and ink are sources locally. All you need is to create a vector file. It takes practice getting the proper ratio for the inks, thinner, etc plus operating the pad printer.
That sounds good. I own a small Sherline manual milling machine and was thinking to use it as the base for a custom pad printer. This is to leverage the accurate positioning capabilities on X, Y and Z. Also, having a lathe and mill can help fabricate the possible parts I can’t find off the shelf. In any case this would be a hobby project for me.
Would you care to share o photo of your printer project?
 

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That sounds good. I own a small Sherline manual milling machine and was thinking to use it as the base for a custom pad printer. This is to leverage the accurate positioning capabilities on X, Y and Z. Also, having a lathe and mill can help fabricate the possible parts I can’t find off the shelf. In any case this would be a hobby project for me.
Would you care to share o photo of your printer project?
Hi Dan

Apart from the XYZ stages, remember that you will also need to be able to either rotate the dial or the cliche because I've found that they never line up.
 
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