Text Size

Makin Signs from Foam

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby philipw » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:08 pm

Awhile back I saw a science channel show on making 3d signs on How It's Made. They used a CNC Router to cut HDPE, High Density Polyurethane, which is not uv sensitive, is quite strong, and not grainy at all. The painted right over it and even applied gold leaf on it. It is a very good segment. I'm not familiar with the material, though I understand it is quite expensive, but it sure looks great.

You can download the show on iTunes for 1.99. I found it by searching for TV shows with the search term of "3D Commercial".

I noticed you work in the sign industry Tom? Is this something you're familiar with?

philipw
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:04 am
CNC Machine: "Book" Machine

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby graph4sure » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:55 am

Hi Philip,
We have used most of the urethane substrates over the years.
The real key to success is to get the Material Data Info Sheet from
any particular manufacturer - and if you are gilding, you must
first use a recomended primer. Typically we Prime 2coats then
Top Coat ( colors ) 2-3 coats then SIZE ( which is a tacky clear looking
varnish that tacks-up when ready to lay gold. There are many good
sources for "goldleafing" check out articles at signweb.com
-Tom Bogley

graph4sure
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:36 pm

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby philipw » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:22 pm

Tom... Yes, I'm good with gilding, though I was just mentioning it since they put the size right on the cut HDPE, and when they painted, they put the finish coat right on it as well. Since it's very tough, and I loved how smooth the cuts were, it seemed to be an ideal product for signs and wondered if it was some kind of standard. I have a sign dealer near my shop that does any vinyl work I need and when I asked them about this, they had never even heard of it. While at the same time they had a small HDU sign there they were working on it that was flimsy at best, grainy and was getting ready to be painted with several finish coats to make it smooth. It also had to be backed, all of which would have been unnecessary if they were using HDPE if it's all that video said it was.

philipw
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:04 am
CNC Machine: "Book" Machine

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby graph4sure » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:44 am

Yes, thats good info, Philip,
We do a wide variety of sign work. Large format printing, cut vinyl, etc.
So we dont use the blue foam as much as HDU. In 2" thickness at 18#
density it is not flimsy at all. But it just depends on the application you
want to perform.

Sounds like your on the right track and you have done your home-work.
I tell ya, I can hardly keep up with all the new materials these days.
When I started making signs in 1973, there was basically MDO plywood
and sheet metal and maybe banner cloth.
-Tom Bogley

graph4sure
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:36 pm

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby Awesomeness » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:59 am

HDPE is what those white (usually) plastic cutting boards for your *REPORT ME I'M A SPAMMER* are made from.

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
Image
User avatar
Awesomeness
 
Posts: 2885
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:46 am
Location: Firestone, CO
CNC Machine: BlackFoot v4 4x8

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby philipw » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:42 pm

Exactly, but I think the cutting board material has a much higher density than the HDPE foam board.

philipw
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:04 am
CNC Machine: "Book" Machine

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby bajaru » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:05 pm

I'm making a sign that will be mounted outside, in Jackson, WY. My thought is to use 3/4" MDO and paint it. The sign will only contain letters, so I was thinking there would be two ways to go about it: 1) Use a solid piece of material and a pocket operation around the letters or 2) Profile the letters and stick them to a substrate. I've already worked out a system using holes on the backside of the letters with matching holes in the substrate, using dowels to keep everything together. The reason I'm considering option #2 is because the pocket operation would take > 20 minutes per letter vs. < 5 minutes per letter with a profile op.

Any thoughts?

-Brian

PS - If anyone's interested in my method for #2, let me know. I worked out how to do it in CamBam.

Pa sez: "Keep your flesh away from rapidly spinning metal things."
User avatar
bajaru
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:56 am
Location: California central coast
CNC Machine: BlackToe v2 4x8

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby graph4sure » Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:33 pm

Hi Brian, I have worked with MDO plywood in the sign biz for ages and it is a great product.
All your plans sound great. Just wanted to tell you some stuff we have come across.
One thing. is that MDO for outside use is fine- but all the sides and voids must be sealed
well first. You may already know this, but what we use is West Systems Epoxy. A two
part resin & hardner. Its not cheap. you can probably get a Permatex Brand or equal at
Home Depot or Lowes. But depending on how much volumn you need. The tubes at the
stores don't stretch too far. The only other problem for me would be - when routing into
the MDO ply layers, there will be lots of voids to fill and seal.
When we do raised letters on a substrate ( before I gat Patrick's 4X8 kit ) we would send
our files to Harborsales.net to machine for us. So we would normally not use MDO for
this particular application - but use a different material like HDU or the blue Poly that everyone
has been talking about. How about Plexiglas or KOMATEX ( pvc sheet ) or I would even
choose MDF over MDO - because if it is sealed on all sides with a good 2-part epoxy it
will be like a rock. Depending on the exposure, you could get 5-10 years with the last
mentioned way. Nothing last forever -right.

If you check out my website ( kinda outdated ) you can see in my portfolio, I have several
signs in MDO, but none of these are using MDO as cut-out letters.
www.bogleysigns.com

graph4sure
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:36 pm

Makin Signs from Foam

Postby turn » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:43 am

Ran into this thread and thought I would throw my 2 cents in. I ordered a sample machinable media kit from Freeman Supply about four years ago[never used it]. they still have the kit available. it includes some higher density material other than the blue insulation board. they get pretty expensive as stated in an earlier post. but with this kit you can determine which material would be appropriate before buying. they also carry a ton of foundry and pattern making supplies.

- RenShape 440, 450, 460 modeling/styling boards
- RenShape 472, 5169 tooling boards
- RenShape 5020, 5025, 5030, 5045 polyurethane foam boards
- Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
- Perfect Plank Pine Lumber
- Freeman Machinable Wax

turn
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:46 pm

Re: Makin Signs from Foam

Postby airnocker » Wed May 12, 2010 2:23 am

Keith,

Here is a suggestion that may prove less expensive and provide some durability. In the RC plane world where wings are often made of foam cores (even the blue stuff from Lowes and Home Depot) they epoxy thin sheets of balsa wood, typically 1/16 - 1/8" thick, to the foam core exteriors. The balsa can then be sealed and covered with fiber glass cloth and resin to give it a smooth, hard finish. Check your local hobby shop for these materials. Also check out www.phlatboyz.com for a small foot print CNC machine for specifically cutting foam boards, sheet balsa and thin plywood, and pretty much exactly what you described.

Good Luck
airnocker

Everything depends on everything else
airnocker
 
Posts: 620
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Wellington, CO
CNC Machine: Custom

PreviousNext

Return to Tutorials

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 158 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:54 pm

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest