Dry rub-on transfers vs waterslide
The question of whether to opt for dry rub-on transfers vs traditional waterslide largely comes down to personal preference (and to some extent, budget). Below is a list of what we consider to be advantages and limitations of each:
- Rub-on transfers are more expensive because of the process involved. This means that there are some limitations (certainly in terms of multi-colours for example). Consequently it won't be economical to produce a rub-on version of a very niche waterslide item.
- Waterslide give much more wiggle room in terms of being able to correctly place a transfer before it sets so you can be sure that it is on straight. Rub-on and pressfix offer just one hit.
- Waterslide are less expensive and easier to handle for most.
- Rub-on transfers can be a convenient way of applying many transfers in quick succession, although depending on the application method there is also a risk that another part of the rub-on sheet may have inadvertently transferred to the substrate unless the item being applied is cut beforehand.
- Rub-on leaves no trace of carrier film, although Railtec waterslide transfers are, since summer 2016, spot printed anyway (like Fox as many of you will be familiar) meaning that the film is practically invisible if not completely invisble, and certainly on "solid" items such as sub sector logos, OHL flashes, hazchem labels etc, there's no carrier at all on the waterslide.
- Rub-on transfers don't cope very well when going over raised items such as handrails. Waterslides bed in.
- Waterslides offer multi-colour and equisite detail when the rub-on process can struggle with fine detail.
- Rub-on transfers can be problematic with transfers which cover an area larger than a thumbnail, as there is a risk that part of the transfer may not have fully applied, or the sheet will move slightly during the rub down process (unless tape is used to secure the perimeter of the rub-on transfer but by that time it will have likely been quicker to use waterslide).
Personally we think waterslide offers greater all-round benefits, detail and flexibility, but if there's a market for rub-on then we will make more.