Sign & Digital Graphics

May '18

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • May 2018 • 25 five-inch deep channel letters with LEDs, we also have manufactured many four- inch and even three-and-a-half-inch deep letters which, in turn, puts the face closer to LED module making for a bet- ter-illuminated letter." Kane confirms that the depth of the return is dictated by the illumination source, and that "Neon for example, throws off more illumination so the return needs to be deeper so that the light source is further away from the plastic letter face. This ensures that the plastic has an even distribution of light, and no hot spots." And when moving to an LED light- ing configuration, the depth of the return can be much less. "The LEDs are attached at the rear, on the letter back, and the light is further away from the plastic face," Kane says. "With neon we have to mount the glass on tube supports, which pushes the illumination closer to the face requiring a deeper return." Quality is another consideration with the return. As Sciortino mentions, "Not all channel letters are made the same," which can impact the actual bending process. "Only companies with accurate CNC equipment can play in the same league for consistent quality and speed of get- ting sign projects to the consumers in a timely manner," Sciortino says. In general, the return depth "ranges from two inches to six inches for 95 per- cent of the channel letters," Ondracek says. "Material thickness ranges from 0.032 to 0.063 inches. Most machines cannot handle the 0.063-inch, especially for notching and flanging; this would be important in selecting a machine." Flanging/Notching Speaking of notching and flanging, this is a practice that is necessary in channel letter production. In order to secure the letter back to the return, the bottom of the return must be notched and flanged to match the curve of the letter shape. "In the past, this was done with tapes, strings and metal shears until the 'hand notcher' tool was invented for the chan- nel letter craftsman making this product completely by hand," explains Sciortino. "Nowadays, to be competitive, we must use automated equipment." Sign makers can rely heavily on this equipment to perform the necessary functions that ultimately lead to shap- ing a channel letter. "Channel letter machines drive alu- minum coil through the mechanisms in the machine," Sciortino continues, "which measure, notch, flange and bend the shape of the letter. Some machines are better than others for this process." Overall, the machine works to "put notches in the material where needed, Encore Products 2020 West Front Street Statesville, NC 28677 1-800-873-4868 ©2017 Newell Brands PRINT READY foam board 7 surfaces CANVAS EMBOSSED CANVAS CORK DRY ERASE CHALKBOARD MIXED METALS EXTREME WHITE Made in America with Pride NEW WEBSITE! Call for Samples! 1-800-873-4868

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