Can anyone suggest a method to print drum skins?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by steven_e007, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Hi,

    one of my other hobbies is that I play drums in a group.
    The band have requested that I put the band logo on my bass drum, as you do... :wink:

    There are companies on the net that do this, I believe you give then a .jpg file and they use some fancy digital printer that takes drum skin...

    So far so good, until I checked the price!!! :surprised: :surprised: :surprised: :surprised:

    Well, our band logo is just a black on white line drawing. I can easily photograph it to make a negative (or a positive?). A drum skim is made of polyester (I think) but is available 'coated', to give it a bit of a matt surface.

    Methinks that with my darkroom and enlargers at my disposal it must be possible to put the image onto the skin using some sort of traditional alternative printing technique.

    Can any of the alternative processs gurus in this forum help me out with ideas?

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  2. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Screen print it.
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    That's what I would do but I work for an industrial screen printing company!

    Screen printing is great for creating a lot of items but for just one, the time and expense of making the screen and setting it up is a lot greater than the actual printing so you may find it an expensive option.

    Try a local signmaker, label printer or Tshirt printer though, they may be able to help.

    Another option if the design is bold enough (no very fine detail) is to use a black self adhesive vinyl. The design is cut out using either a CNC controlled blade or a laser cutter (we have both) then a release film is put over the top to hold it all together. The parts which you want clear are removed leaving only the design which you want in black. This is then stuck to the drum skin and the release film is removed.

    You should be able to find a local signmaker who makes cut vinyl signs.


    Steve.
     
  4. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Maybe the screen could then be used for merchandising, T-shirts etc?
     
  5. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I wouldn't know where to start with a screen print!

    I'll try to attach the pdf file. The design is a simple line drawing in black on a white background, but maybe has too much detail for vinyl cut-outs, maybe?
    What do you think?

    I was thinking more of making a negative and painting the skin with something light sensitive... I could then go over it with indelible marker if neccesary and then wash the sensitizer off again.

    Or is there a better way?
    :smile:

    Steve
     

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  6. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Greetings from another drummer! :smile:

    Since the design is monochromatic, and you anticipate inking/painting anyway, here's what I would do (have done):

    Make a neg that you can project on the drumhead ("skin"), either with your enlarger or a slide projector. Draw the image lightly in pencil from the projected image and paint the thing in with ink or paint.

    I can see using LiquidLight or some other type emulsion on the polyester of the head, but I think you would run into problems trying to develop it. The chems could even corrode the metal flesh-hoop. Ink and paint have been used since the early jazz days, it will work fine.

    Or, find some "starving art student" and pay a few quid for them to do the artwork for you!

    Cheers,
     
  7. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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  8. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I could, of course, go to any number of professionals and get the job done, but they want around £100 ($200) and since we are a charity band that plays for free I'll be b*****ed before I chuck 100 quid at it!

    Or I could just draw it myself, but I am *@%$*ing useless at drawing, too.

    Hence I was thinking about something more.... photographic?

    Or at least photomechanical.

    I have done a bit of reading up and have encountered something called 'solvent transfer'. This appears to consist of making either a laser print or a photocopy of a conventional print, soaking it in a suitable solvent, laying it face down on whatever you want to transfer the image to and them running a roller over the back before peeling it off...

    Obviously it would be a reversed image and would need the image flipping with suitable software, first.

    Well, that is the outline of how it is done, which is all I know..

    It sounds like it might work (ha!) But as for 'suitable solvents', how it is done, what the results are like etc. I have no idea...

    Anyone ever tried anything like this?

    Steve
     
  9. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Hello Dave, I knew I wouldn't be alone ;-)

    Steve
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have not used it but I have heard about a transfer process for T shirt printing where the image is printed out on an inkjet printer (backwards) then ironed on to the shirt. This may work if the drum skin can stand the heat.

    I think the simplest way would be to take a picture of it and use a slide projector to back project the image onto the skin so you can trace round it then paint it in.

    The image looks bold enough for cut vinyl to work but you would need to have it drawn as an outline rather than solid black.

    p.s. I'm not a drummer but I am a guitarist!


    Steve.
     
  11. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    The transfer process you are referring to Steve is called sublimation. Ink costs about £200! I did a lot of mug printing a couple of years ago.

    Decals as mentioned above are your best option. There are guys on ebay who might even do it for you.

    Or the cheap method would be to trace the drawing...
    Pencil heavily round the back of the page, then turn the page to the right way round and draw again on the lines.

    The image will be faint but visible. Draw again with a suitable permanent marker, takes forever, but cheap as chips.
     
  12. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    If using the tracing method be sure to use a very soft grade pencil.

    Wow, it's decades since I traced anything! I think the last thing I traced was a geological map of the British Isles when I was in school!