Sign & Digital Graphics

May '19

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70 • May 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S B Y R I C K W I L L I A M S Shop Talk An Inside Job Better and cleaner interior logo/letter installs were to be made of .25" thick aluminum sheet, waterjet cut and powder coated an anodized aluminum color, and though some were small and light enough to feel confident about installing them with double-sided tape on a textured sheetrock wall, oth- ers were larger and heavy enough to require stud mounting. Of course, drilling one hundred or so ¼" holes in their nicely painted wall would mean serious repairs if the lettering ever had to be moved or changed. But, regardless of how they would be installed, first the letters would be drilled and threaded from behind just to accommodate the powder coating. This meant we would be hanging them up by small 3/16" eye screws so they could be hung up on a powder coating rack and be rolled around from spray booth to oven. Out on the install, the tapped holes would accommodate the typical 3/16" threaded aluminum stud, requiring a ¼" hole and silicone adhesive, but that is what we really hated to do. In addition to the many holes, having to use silicone seal- ant, or any other adhesive is another negative when the time comes to move or change the lettering. But if I merely used double-sided tape for mounting even the heavier parts, my sub- conscious dread was of once more having to look like an idiot when called to come repair and re-install some letter or logo part that seemed well in place with double-sided tape, only to fall to the ground six months later. Stuff happens. I knew from having worked with acrylic laser cut parts— mounting with studs that are really very small, sharp nails— that miniature studs like that are not going to let go easily and normally can be used without adhesive. So, after powder coat- ing, instead of putting threaded studs into the tapped holes on the backs of each letter, I merely filled in the holes with a small amount of J - B Weld, pushed the very tiny nails down into the epoxy-filled holes, and let things dry overnight. The next day, it was totally impossible to remove the studs even with a pair of channel lock pliers, and any nail/stud that was not perfectly perpendicular was simply tapped lightly into the right angle, nothing to it. Out on the job, the small letters were put in place with double sided tape, but the larger O ne thing about the commercial sign business is that there are many different things to do, and many ways to do them. Even though someone may have years of experience, it is always wise to look for ways to improve, to become more efficient and even more professional in how one does his or her work. In our small commercial sign business, even though I am the owner and primarily the designer/layout person, I also do most of the installs out in the field and look forward to that part of my work. And when I am out on an installation, I try to pay attention to how long the work takes, and how I might do it better, perhaps simpler. I even try to find ways to minimize the damage to walls or surfaces that I may be mounting signs, letters and logos on. On couple of interior wall displays we did recently, I thought ahead and really reconsidered the way I was about to go out and drill a lot of significant holes in interior walls that later may well have to be repaired because of my work. And actually, there really was a better way to get the same job done in less time and with a whole lot less damage to our client's buildings. The first project was to be installed on an interior wall of the district attorney's office at our local courthouse. The letters Rick Williams owns Rick's Sign Company, a commercial sign shop in Longview, Texas. He has been in the sign industry since 1973 and documenting the sign business since 1986. Contact him at ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL This plate aluminum letter and logo project was mostly stud mounted, but with studs that were so small as to not even require pre-drilling mounting holes.

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