Sign & Digital Graphics

November '19

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54 • November 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE F or nearly 50 years, channel letters have been giving store- fronts and brand names much needed exposure with their visibility and functionality. Improving throughout the years, this type of signage has advanced in the areas of ease-of-fabrication and installation. Made in plastic or metal, channel letters are dimensional, can be illuminated, and are mounted to the side of a building. The mounting aspect—the portion that exists "behind the letter," so to speak—though seemingly simple from an out- sider's perspective, takes careful planning and precision. And it is the main topic that we will address in this article. Traditionally, channel letters are mounted in a couple of dif- ferent ways—either directly to the storefront's façade (flush- mounted) or along a structure known as a "raceway." Raceways are typically rectangular extrusions that can house electrical com- ponents and hold channel letters in place. Though, as some sign shops will attest, the process of including them in a project can be much more intricate than it might appear. "We use extruded raceway by SignComp and it comes in sections, a front section, back and lid," explains Dave Brazzell, President of Brazz Specialties, Inc. "We made a fixture to hold the front half of the raceway in the CNC router and set it up to drill the screw holes and route the electrical pass-through holes. The backs go to the fabrication area and are joined to the letter returns, loaded with LEDs and are ready to install on the raceway. The raceway goes to the welding area and is welded together and prepped for paint. The raceway is painted and sent to final wiring where the letter is mounted to the raceway and the wring is completed." Perhaps, there is more to this component than meets the eye. Behind the Letter An examination of raceways in channel letter projects B Y R Y A N F U G L E R Ryan Fugler is a freelance writer and for- mer editor of Wraps magazine. He can be reached at with ques- tions or comments. Raceways provide a way for channel letters to be seen very visibly while housing electrical components, as seen here with The Eye Institute. Photo courtesy of Howard Industries.

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