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Wed 07 February 2007

First thing today - I bit the bullet and printed the majority of the panel labels onto the special blue Decal paper.
Starting with something simple I did the white TRF and Mylar transfer for the P1/2 PTT labels. So far so good. I left the border on the Mylar just to keep the physical size senible but it does cause 'extras' which didn't look good.
The second side I got a little smarter and masked the 'lines' with the low tack 3M tape. This provided a good method of alignment without worrying about the lines.
Then lots of pressure and a slow peel back.
End result - REALLY good - feel like we are making headway in an area that was a major concern.
So then back to more White TRF & Mylar transfers - slightly more difficult as they were bigger areas and seemed to be suffering from too much / not enough heat from the laminator / iron. Got the panel switches / dimmers section sorted, masked up and transfered.
Not perfect, but probably acceptable, the areas where the TRF wasn't staying could be touched up later. The problem was during the Mylar removal some of the alignment markings got stuck to the panel.
I tried various things to remove it, but Meths (denatured alcohol) was the only thing that was going to work and the panel surface just shows it up too much. I debated for a while whether just to rock on and ignore it but it just doesn't look right. The problem is with the amount of labels needed it is highly unlikely that they will all go on without an issue - therefore removal has to be an option. With this paint - I can't do that without leaving a mark.
So after a good start, a rather backward step and slightly depressing day. The conversations with the local paint suppliers seem to be heading in the right direction, I think the solution is to use acetone to take the whole panel back to raw metal, sand and re-prime / top coat. A bit of work but not too bad - in the end I'll be able to work on the labels and not worry about having to change / fix the odd bit. This isn't a problem with the Decal system as such - more that it has highlighted the limitations that I've been working within and now need to exceed. 
Carl Morgan