Sign & Digital Graphics

August '19

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68 • August 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Signage and Heat In hot locations, it's important to plan ahead Since 1985, Matt Charboneau has owned and operated Charboneau Design and Consulting in Davenport, Iowa. He is a con- sultant and designer for monument, chan- nel letter and pylon sign projects. His book, "The Pre-Sale Sign Survey Field Guide -- The how-to guide on sign surveys for the profes- sional sign salesperson" can be ordered on his website: or by emailing him at H ave you seen the new hot sign designer they just hired in the design department? Unbelievable—and I heard that "being a hot sign designer" was all they cared about… does HR know about this? Let's face it, if you've worked in a sign shop with a sign designer in the office, you have to admit that the eye candy that a "hot" sign designer can bring really should be of little concern to HR. It's something that every sign design department needs and should have, for the overall good of the entire company. Being a sign designer is one thing, but being a "hot sign designer" takes years of practice with hands-on experience in understanding what it means to be a hot sign designer. Naturally, we are talking about sign designers who have experience with sign design in hot climates. Places where sig- nage is produced for applications in areas of the country where B Y M A T T C H A R B O N E A U Designing Award-Winning Signs summertime outdoor temperatures exceed that of most counter- top toaster ovens; this type of heat can have negative effects on the materials used to create the sign, hence steps must be taken to avoid problems when the mercury soars. When materials get hot, they expand and when they do, it is referred to quite simply as thermal expansion. Unfortunately, not everything expands at the same rate, or in the same way. When building an electric sign, the combination of aluminum and acrylic can be a recipe for disaster if the temps get up there and expansion issues have not been planned for. Expansion Coefficient There is a technical term used for thermal expansion that sounds a lot more impressive, and it is: Expansion Coefficient. It's the scientific formula that provides data on the way in which a material expands or contracts in all directions with temperature fluctuations. If you just got back from your Mensa Engineering Rocket Scientist meeting, you can probably use the EC formula to calculate precisely how much each material will expand, in each direction. If you are like the rest of us who still do not use that sort of mathematical trickery, the rule of thumb is to leave plenty of room, and don't tighten down two different materials without including oversized holes to allow for expansion. ELECTRIC SIGNAGE Image 1: As it is shown here, the formula is simple, easy to use and easy to follow, understand and utilize… says the mechanical engineer from MIT.

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