December '20

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2 4 G R A P H I C S P R O D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G S H O P T A L K | R I C K W I L L I A M S SHOP-BUILT MONUMENT SIGN R ecently we were hired by a local medical clinic to produce a new custom, vertical monument sign to go on the corner of their property a few miles from our shop. Using a couple of lo- gos they provided, the actual graphic to fill a 4' X 8' portrait format was easy enough to design. This medical facility is funded by grants and provides services to local residents who need a source of healthcare they can afford. We've done a lot of work for this client over the years, but money must be managed carefully. The budget for the sign was about $3,500, and I told them I could fabricate a handsome, dimensional sign myself including installation. To meet that budget, I would not be able to outsource this project to a manufacturer. SIGN SHAPES The basic plan was to cut two identical sign shapes from economy aluminum laminate sheets, use them to define an alu- minum tubing framework, and assemble the frames together about 12 inches apart to make a hollow sign. We'd then cover the structure with a surface layer of pre- finished white .063 aluminum with the graphics already in place. The cutting of the sign shapes, and the aluminum fittings that would attach the tubing frame members together, was done on our old waterjet. The waterjet is old but still highly accurate, guaranteeing that both halves would be the same. The edges would be wrapped with 1/16" thick white aluminum, so the faces would be cut slightly oversize by 1/16" all around so they would come up flush with the edges of the trimmed-out sign, which they did perfectly. The accuracy came from the wa- terjet. One of the sign shape panels was laid face down on a worktable, and the frame members were assembled on top of it, matching its shape accurately. To frame the large radius corners at the top of the sign trim, parts were made that were notched so they could be formed to the radius required. Assembly of the framing was done over the subpanels, making sure the frame went right to the edges exactly. The parts needed to define the radius corners were notched out, bent on a brake, and then formed into the correct radius. After the framework was complete, things were flipped over and the subpanel was secured to the frame. Our old waterjet was used to cut the parts of this mon- ument sign, starting with the sub panels that define the sign's shape and internal frame. (All images courtesy Rick Williams) The fittings that would be used to connect the frame- work were cut next from white .063 aluminum. A standard miter box saw was used to cut all the alumi- num tubing parts for the framework. Tubing was 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" X .090".

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