Real Decals

She is done.  Again, Chris comes H. through.  He did a great job cutting my vinyl for me.  I understand he had a couple hicups with his new cutter and the large rolls of black and silver.  I sent him the files to be cut last Friday, he had them cut by Wednesday.  I’ve been putting them on for the last two days.

I used Window cleaner to let them slide, but I think I wouldn’t use it again.  It seems to weaken the adhesive if its too thick.  It works ok if you spray it very lightly, and spray onto the decal.  But, if you go too heavy or spray onto the body it seems to compromise the adhesive and it never quite recovers.  I did the “MAZDASPEED” decal on the bumper first, and I sprayed the windex “heavy” directly on the hood.  This morning after 24 hours the decal was still so loose that I could move it around with one finger.  I tried heating it up and letting it cool, but it just never stuck.  Luckily, I had a second one….so, I just applied that one without any windex.

I think it looks pretty darn close to my digital test run: Decals.

I created all these graphics personally using Inkscape.  Then I sent the files (one per color) to Chris for cutting.  The numbers are simply “Arial Black” font draw large, and then thickened and thinned to create the outline and the inner number.

P1010115

The hood number is the largest decal at 23.5” tall, and about 22” wide.  I thought this would be the hardest, but it turned out to be pretty easy.  I fought the door numbers the most (with that horizontal crease).

P1010086 P1010087 P1010088 P1010089 P1010092 P1010093 P1010094 P1010097P1010098

The signature was easier than you might think.  I exageratedly wrote my signature on a sheet of paper with a sharpie.  Then I scanned that into the computer.  Next, I used inkscape to trace the bitmap and trace a vector file from the bitmap.  Finally, I stretched the result so that it looked exagerated and then made one thicker version (for the yellow) and one thinner version (for the silver).

P1010095 P1010096

P1010100 P1010103 P1010104

In my inkspace version, the angle I took the trunk photograph flattened out the curve in the trunk lid.  So, the MAZDASPEED logo looked like it would fit.  In real life, the curve is more dramatic, so that the decal barely fits.  If I recut this at some point, I’ll bend the logo so that it follows the curve of the trunk.

P1010105 P1010106 P1010107 P1010109 P1010110 P1010111

 

I learned alot about drawing shapes for decals in inkscape for use with a cutter.  The cutter follows the center of the border thickness, so you end up with 1/2 the border than you “see”.  This is most obvious in the “Spec Miata” logo.  The “yellow” was supposed to be much thicker.  But, because of my mistake its barely 1/16” thick.  Ah well.  Again, if I ever get it recut, I’ll fix the files.  I made the same mistake with the MAZDASPEED on the front, and the MAZDA on the fenders.  About halfway through the process I switched the way I was creating the two colors, and the result shows in the difference between “Spec Miata” and “Zoom-Zoom”.

P1010112 P1010113

Alright, so here’s the story on the frog:  When I was just learning to dive (so maybe 8-ish?), I dove into the pool with my knees fully bent.  My Dad said it looked like frog legs, so he started calling me Frog.  The nickname stuck.  Plus, Kermit was always my favorite muppet.

P1010114

4 comments to Real Decals

  • Toby Linder

    Tom,
    Where did you get your driver’s side window?

    • I made it out of 1/8″ lexan. I made lexan windows for both sides, out of a single 24×48″ sheet. I just haven’t posted about the making of it yet. I still have the patterns, and can make you a set if you dropship the lexan from mcmaster.com (~$40).

  • Toby Linder

    That would be awesome!. I only need the driver’s side, since like you I removed the vent window. Any guess what size for only the drivers?
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#polycarbonate-sheets/=fg6mqx

    P.S. Did you decide on your path for getting a licensed? If NASA, you going to MSRH on Jan 28/29?

    • 18×36 for just the driver’s side. I’ll email the rest of the details.

      NASA is my current plan…but, I have not solved my towing problem, yet. So, travel to remote tracks is difficult. We’re planning on buying a truck in Q2 once a couple of other cars are paid off early next year.

      Plus, I will probably have significant work related travel to New Zealand in the first quarter.

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