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Lobby Signs – Shaped Acrylic

Posted by Frank Murch | Aug 16, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Do you have an idea that requires a little bit more? A Lobby sign that is not like every other lobby sign out there? Signs for San Diego can help. Here is an example of going a little bit further, and using a range of Acrylic forming techniques.Lobby_Sign_Genentech_Acrylic_Shaping_2.jpg

Acrylic is a wonderful material. It comes in Translucent and Opaque versions. In a pervious post we explored a clear translucent lobby sign, In this post we have an opaque black lobby sign that is shaped into a clock cover, a sign and a notice board. Acrylic can be routed, saw cut, heated and bent, painted and smoothed. In this case all of these techniques were used.

Types of Acrylic. Acrylic in formed in 2 ways: extruded and cast. While you may not be able to tell the difference by looking at them, they behave in very different ways. Extruded acrylic melts at a lower temperature than cast acrylic. We use a strip heater to bend the Acrylic, extruded is easier to bend, flame polish and shape because of its lower melting temperature. This same property means it is difficult to route out, drill or machine it. Cast Acrylic is generally more expensive, melts at a higher temperature and is slightly more durable.

Finishing edges. There are a number of ways to finish an edge:

Flame Polishing: This is a great technique when the situation is right, but it has limits. Clear Acrylic flame polishes well, but colored Acrylics do not. Flame Polishing also changes the surface and ink does not adhere as well to the area around the frame polished edge. Often you can see a meniscus on the flat near the flame polished edge.

Sanding: Sanding is more common than you might think. It is a great way to finish colored Acrylics and with a small board can get into tight areas. Black Acrylic is very common and most of it has sanded edges

Chemical polish: Acrylic melts in the heat, but it also melts with a solvent. This can be tricky because the solvent does not stay where you put it, but flows. If it flows on a surface, it ruins that perfect surface. Small amounts, on a rag, applied to the edges can result in a finish better than sanded and near the flame polished look. 

Bending with a strip heater: heating acrylic softens it. Soft acrylic can be bent at different angles. We use a commercial strip heater set to 200º. This heats a strip of the Acrylic leaving the edges cool. We then use wood to bend it over into the angle we want. Heat guns, propane torches and soldering irons can also be helpful.

Cutting and Shaping: For straight cuts it is often faster to use a fine toothed saw. For curves we use a router, but CNC and hand routers depending on what we want.

Need a great Lobby sign but want a different shape? We can help! Call us today and start working on your image with a great lobby sign!! Contact us and lets get going!! We can be reached at 760-730-5118,

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Areas Served : At Signs for San Diego we serve commercial accounts all over the metro area, but focus on Custom Lobby Signs Oceanside, Custom Lobby Signs Carlsbad, Custom Lobby Signs Vista, Custom Lobby Signs San Marcos




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Whether you need a channel letter set, a monument signs, ADA signs, wayfinding signs, lobby signs, or any other type of commercial building signage, we can help! Signs for San Diego is the best sign company for building signs.


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