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Preprinted Kits from Fkite Test Suggestions.

#1
Hi Chad,
I'm a big fan of the show and the whole FT crew.

Has anyone suggested that you could cut your speed build kit planes from foamboard pre-printed with the plane graphics?

I talked to J.B. at NEAT, and while we were looking at Dusty he said he got the vinyl graphics from a friend with a sign company. The finish on the vinyl looked great and it got me thinking about doing a Microaces type treatment as an option.

Then I thought that a full vinyl overlay might end up being too heavy and cost too much to produce. (and annoy Microaces)

So why not just print right on the foamboard? It wouldn't be nice and shiny like the vinyl, but it would add less weight and maybe there is a printing method that could seal the paper like minwax.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#2
I don't know of any printer that would feed foamboard through it. That's not to say there isn't, I've just never heard of one. Dye sublimation printers might be able to do it, those are the ones for printing vinyl car wraps and billboards, but they are quite pricey (start at about $12,000 for a small one) and I still don't think they can feed foamboard...
 
#3
I don't know of any printer that would feed foamboard through it. That's not to say there isn't, I've just never heard of one. Dye sublimation printers might be able to do it, those are the ones for printing vinyl car wraps and billboards, but they are quite pricey (start at about $12,000 for a small one) and I still don't think they can feed foamboard...
Check these guys out http://www.kdf-comp.com/flatbed-printing.html looks like they can print just about anything.
You would need to do some volume to keep the piece price down, but it looks doable.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#4
We experimented with this a bit... it kind of stalled out. But maybe we'll look into it again if there is a lot of interest.
I know that Dollar Tree Foam Board puts the paper on while the foam is still hot. No glue is used which is why it's so easy to peel off the paper. It's also why it's so light. So maybe the following idea would make the planes heavier than you would like, and it would be a lot of work, but might be worth trying:

What if you removed the paper from one side of the foam, hopefully before it goes through the laser cutter, and then ran that paper through a printer and then glued it back on. The glue would make the foam heavier, but also more rigid. Maybe even throw away the paper (and by 'throw away' I mean 'recycle') and replace it with a good water proof substitute that is easy to print on. Of course it would be difficult to glue the paper onto the foam with it lined up properly. But I'm sure there is an easy way/tool to use that would make that feasible.

But honestly, I don't think there would be enough interest in buying a "pre-painted" plane kit for it to be worth all that work. Painting is half the fun of building.

However, doing an episode on how to do this yourself might be a great idea. Then offer colored detail plans that any one can print off and glue onto their own foam board. Even though that sounds like more work, all you would really need to do is take your existing free plans and add a color scheme to them. If anything it would make the building process easier for people that don't buy kits. We could glue the plans directly to the foam board and then cut out the plane.

Just a thought since this forum is currently in the direction about printing onto foam board.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#5
RCSF,

if the replaced layer+glue is lighter than the paper, you'd actually loose weight.

Yeah I understand you're talking about printing on the paper you pealed, but why? Adhesive vinyl can be lighter and printed tissue+PVA glue can be as well. you'll loose ridgidity -- the only tradeoff I see.


Chad,
Along those lines, I agreee -- might be interesting to have a vinyl printing/cutting episode (Crickit perhaps???) and some coloring plans posted. Possibly even some guides/hints so the community can start building/sharing the files to drop in almost any vinyl cutter.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#6
Vinyl cutting is no problem, but you need special printers to print on it. Dye sublimation is what is commonly used to print on vinyl, but those printers are large format and very pricey, beyond what the average hobbyist will pay. The last time I looked into it, a smaller size printer was still $10,000.
If you have a friend in a print shop or car wrap biz, they might be able to hook you up. Get a design printed out onto the vinyl and just apply to the foam. If you have the plan printed in the design, then all you have to do is cut it out...
 

themajik1

Monkey/Bear Poker
Mentor
#7
Vinyl cutting is no problem, but you need special printers to print on it. Dye sublimation is what is commonly used to print on vinyl, but those printers are large format and very pricey, beyond what the average hobbyist will pay. The last time I looked into it, a smaller size printer was still $10,000.
If you have a friend in a print shop or car wrap biz, they might be able to hook you up. Get a design printed out onto the vinyl and just apply to the foam. If you have the plan printed in the design, then all you have to do is cut it out...
Dye sub is not the most common way to print on vinyl. Screen printing and inkjet printing either UV curable or solvent based inks are still the most common. But you are correct in the printers being cheap or not. The link you supplied earlier from KDF is an Oce Arizona printer that starts at about $125,000.00 US dollars.

The issue with doing it with vinyl such as a car wrap is that the vinyl is a 2 mil vinyl, (very thin) and any wrinkle would be impossible to remove once it has been stuck to the foam board. When the guys are doing car wraps, they tend to use either heat guns to apply and distort the vinyl or they are using butane torches. The foamboard will not allow that. Some type of thin paper would be the best choice if one were going to print and apply. There are a number of printers out there that would print directly on the foamboard and the plans could be cut out of those which would be much more practical.

The issue would be if there were enough interest in everyone wanting the same art on their plane. I have access to most of the large format printers available, and could possibly do a few samples, but that will be up to Chad and the Flitetest crew to decide if they would like to try it and see if it would be feasible for what they are doing.

If they do, (Chad, this is for you) pm me and we can talk about doing some samples and getting you in contact with printers in your area you could possibly farm the work out to.

I think its a cool idea, I am just not the marketing type of guy that can get it sold. Just an ink maker and been in the printing industry forever.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#8
Thanks Majik, I was under the impression Dye sub was the common practice but I am more than happy to be corrected. Although, the link wasn't mine, I found those flatbed printers are very dear, from the little info I was able to garner on the web, but I'm wondering, while it seems a great idea, if it's really the way Flitetest wants to go, since they have always wanted to keep the builds simple and cheap. Adding this kind of printing has got to add a lot of cost to the kits, but might be an attractive option to those that don't want to paint or decorate their own.
 

themajik1

Monkey/Bear Poker
Mentor
#9
Thanks Majik, I was under the impression Dye sub was the common practice but I am more than happy to be corrected. Although, the link wasn't mine, I found those flatbed printers are very dear, from the little info I was able to garner on the web, but I'm wondering, while it seems a great idea, if it's really the way Flitetest wants to go, since they have always wanted to keep the builds simple and cheap. Adding this kind of printing has got to add a lot of cost to the kits, but might be an attractive option to those that don't want to paint or decorate their own.
Yes it will add cost and maybe more than they are willing to spend and in turn more than we would want I spend.

Sorry if I sounded a bit harsh, not my intent. I do apologize if I did.

The problem is getting costs down, and supplying a great product to the masses. Again, if Flitetest would want to look into the options, my company sells directly into the market and I know customers in their area that I can put them into contact with to get estimated pricing, I would be more than happy to help. Since I have a number of these printers in my companies demo center, I could do a couple of these to see if Flitetest would want to go down that path.

For me, it would be great to have them pre printed but I don't have the art skills myself to build the correct files.

Let's hope that Chad wants to look into it and maybe in the future it could happen!

Mike
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#10
Yes it will add cost and maybe more than they are willing to spend and in turn more than we would want I spend.

Sorry if I sounded a bit harsh, not my intent. I do apologize if I did.

The problem is getting costs down, and supplying a great product to the masses. Again, if Flitetest would want to look into the options, my company sells directly into the market and I know customers in their area that I can put them into contact with to get estimated pricing, I would be more than happy to help. Since I have a number of these printers in my companies demo center, I could do a couple of these to see if Flitetest would want to go down that path.

For me, it would be great to have them pre printed but I don't have the art skills myself to build the correct files.

Let's hope that Chad wants to look into it and maybe in the future it could happen!

Mike
No worries at all. You didn't sound harsh, and I don't mind being corrected when I am wrong. I know some people can't deal with that, but for me I look at it as a good way to learn, and because of that I try to keep an open mind.

I think it's a good idea to pre-print the foamboard, I was only wondering about cost. Since the flat-bed printers are so expensive, that will surely mean outsourcing. I'm also wondering if minwaxing will affect the inks. I would be very eager to see how the finished product would look and work using the common techniques used to build these FT planes.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#12
I know some people can't deal with that, but for me I look at it as a good way to learn, and because of that I try to keep an open mind.
Yeah, that'd be me . . . no wait, I can deal with it.

Sorry, I was leaning toward cutting, not printing, mostly because Vinyl is a difficult material to print on, and hobbyist solutions for cutting sans-shop are very doable. Not thinking a solid wrap as much as patchwork, but I suppose that would be difficult to get the pieces right and blended lines would be impossible.

Not to take business away Mike, but seems a complicated plan to pull off, and everyone would need to want one of the same pattern(ok, so who doesn't want their Ripslinger to match the movie, but would they be allowed to sell a skin w/o a Cease-And-Desist appearing on their doorstep?) .

If patterns were set to cut from vinyl in hobbist cutters and above, they load the machine w/ whatever color they want and they can have their own vinyl camo spitfire in pink and yellow (or more boring colors, or other planes, but you get the point!). Again alignment of the patches could kill the process, but if it could be done, we could reclaim those tools from the scrapbookers and put them to good use!!!!
 

themajik1

Monkey/Bear Poker
Mentor
#14
Not to take business away Mike, but seems a complicated plan to pull off, and everyone would need to want one of the same pattern(ok, so who doesn't want their Ripslinger to match the movie, but would they be allowed to sell a skin w/o a Cease-And-Desist appearing on their doorstep?) .
Dan, I am not looking to get any business from this deal at all. I would just be the guy who can show what the presses can do and then hook Chad up with a printer in his area. Nothing more. I want to help Flitetest as much as I can and this is right down my alley.

You are possibly correct though as Disney may either want a cut or worse for them to get a cease and desist order.

I would love to be a great scratch builder and have the talent to be able to build files that could be printed direct on the foam board, as I do have access to these printers. Not that I can use them at any time, but once and a while I will call in a favor and get the guys in our demo center to print something for me.

Here are a few pics of the printers I can get access to:
IMG_0962.JPG IMG_0964.JPG IMG_0965.JPG IMG_0966.JPG

And I do agree that it would be better for us to have options of color, design, and/or whatever else to personalize your plane, but if there was one or 2 basic designs, we could then modify the looks afterwords.

Its all just a thought and I am just offering up a small service to Flitetest on something that I actually can help with.

I would like to see it though!
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#16
Mike,

Sorry if I came off like I thought you're a sleezy salesman pushing product -- not my intent to monetize your intent ;)

I'll agree w/ xuzme -- you've got some pretty hardware there -- but I'm still looking for the indy DIY solution -- not because I think the local shops will gouge me (they might), but out of self reliance. The fewer outside sources I need to build/design/finish, the more it's mine. Paint is always an option and tape still works well, but another CNC option for finishing interests me tremendously.

(and Chad, sorry for hijacking once again . . . )
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#17
For hobby grade budget CNC decorating, a vinyl cutter might be a good option for you. I got one a few years ago with software for around $400. Keep in mind, the one I have is way larger than you'd need (44")and smaller ones can be had for $200-300 with cutter software. Of course, you CAN spend way more if you like, as I'm sure Mike can attest, but you can cut many different materials with one (I've cut posterboard turtledecks on mine) and some models can also double as a plotter with a pen insert!
 

themajik1

Monkey/Bear Poker
Mentor
#18
Mike,

Sorry if I came off like I thought you're a sleezy salesman pushing product -- not my intent to monetize your intent ;)

I'll agree w/ xuzme -- you've got some pretty hardware there -- but I'm still looking for the indy DIY solution -- not because I think the local shops will gouge me (they might), but out of self reliance. The fewer outside sources I need to build/design/finish, the more it's mine. Paint is always an option and tape still works well, but another CNC option for finishing interests me tremendously.

(and Chad, sorry for hijacking once again . . . )
Dan,

Not at all! I just wanted to be sure that Chad knows this is an offer to test some things out and if they want I can point them to a commercial printer in their area.

I just want to help anyway I can. These guys and you guys have given a lot to me and this hobby and if I can give back I would really be honored to.

Chad if your interested, hit me up if not it is all good!!!

If i get a chance to do some art design and can build a file I will start a thread and show it off there!

I am done hijacking the thread!!! Sorry all!!!

Mike
 
#19
Mike,
What kind of finish do you think you can get on the paper? Are there inks that would it be able to seal it like the miwax treatment?

Personally I enjoy painting my planes but when I do, it takes away a bit from the disposable factor, that keeps you from stressing out about crashing. I thought it might be nice to be able to have a bit of both, an inexpensive plane that goes together quick and easy, but still looks cool.

FT could experiment a bit with the level of graphics as well, like just doing panel lines or outlining graphic elements for a paint by number coloring book paint scheme by the builder with paint or markers. Don't forget the logo.
 
Last edited:

StoneKap

Executive Producer
Admin
Moderator
Mentor
#20
DIY Kit Cutting From Stencils Brainstorming Thread

Wow you guys took that idea and ran!

We tried many of things you guys are discussing. It's the added steps and time that make it cost prohibitive. One idea I liked was stencils. This would keep the cost down and they would be reusable.