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Advuce needed on Acrylic shop front please?

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Post Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:41 pm

Advuce needed on Acrylic shop front please?

Hi all,

I have a customer who is looking to change the colour of their existing shop front but wants to keep the same look to the signs. i.e. glass like glossy front.

I presume that the best way to achieve this would be to mirror cut the vinyl lettering & fit it to the reverse of clear acrylic sheet? What thickness & type of acrylic would be best? (I notice that the existing sign has a bit of distortion to it which I'd like to avoid if possible this time)

One of my concerns is that whenever I have fitted cut vinyl to the rear of clear acrylic by hand it never looks as good as when fitted to the face, there is always a small amount of air (Squeegee marks) it seems, no matter how carefully you apply it & therefore the colour is not as solid looking. Black or dark colours particularly. Although he is changing to blue, white & yellow so it may not be such an issue.

Could anyone with experience of this type of sign please advise best way to approach this please.

Myles
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Post Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:11 pm

Myles - most successful way we've done it is spray/mask. We used to use a latex spray for the mask and draw/cut the design out of it - spray it - then spray the background. I haven't done this sort of thing for many years now and I guess there will be a vinyl nowadays especially for the masking etc.
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Post Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:17 pm

Thanks Neil, yes your right about the vinyl for masking & I actually have some here so that may be an option, although I don't really have ideal facilities for spraying... (Garden shed!! :( ) & with this damn wet weather constantly at present, I can see that being a bit of a disaster.

Any idea what sort of paint? are auto sprays any good on acrylic?

Myles
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Post Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:35 pm

Myles Brewer wrote:Thanks Neil, yes your right about the vinyl for masking & I actually have some here so that may be an option, although I don't really have ideal facilities for spraying... (Garden shed!! :( ) & with this damn wet weather constantly at present, I can see that being a bit of a disaster.

Any idea what sort of paint? are auto sprays any good on acrylic?

Myles


We've used different paints and even screen printing ink but most of the time used cellulose to very good effect. We tried a two pack paint (2K) once as a test (luckily) and it peeled right off like a sheet of vinyl :( so never tried that again! There are specially prepared paints out there for the job especially if it's going to be back lit - 'high hiding' - not req'd in your case I don't think. For any spraying work you really need a (fairly) dust free and warm environment, but as you'll be working on the back surface it doesn't matter just so much as it would if you were spraying the outer face.

Ideally everything should be as clean as possible and you should spray light colours over dark so that the dark colours don't kill the sharpness of the light colours by partially showing through. Makes a very nice job though.
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Post Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:35 pm

Would the cellulose be the same as you'd buy in motor factors?

Also do you need to prep the surface at all? obviously when painting cars you key surface & prime first to help paint to stick.

Is there any preference as to which type of Acrylic/Perspex best to use?

Your right also it won't be back lit so no probs there.

Myles
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Post Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:03 pm

Yes, the same as they sell in the motor factors. However since I've used it for this purpose there have been a good many new products for body spraying. Two pack which (IMOE) won't do, also nowadays they use acrylic top coat which I haven't tried. If you go for cellulose make sure you also get proper cellulose thinners - not the cheap (gun wash) alternative.

I would think it would be very worthwhile speaking to a local body sprayer for guidance. Perhaps the motor factors could refer you to a particularly helpful one. You would need to carry out some tests regarding the best mix and also application. I'd say best to begin with light fairly dry coats and build them up rather than trying to lay it on thick. The main reason we used cellulose paint over screen ink was because we had a body repairs business a few doors along who would mix it there and then for us down to half a litre.

Screen printing ink is actually made for application to acrylics (and others plastics) so will definitely stick well. We used to use Sericol - best to ask them which is best. You'll also need the proper solvent to use with it.

We always used ICI Perspex - 6mm thick for that sort of size, fitted using a hanging strip.
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Post Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:36 pm

I was actually thinking of the aerosol cans as I don't have a spray gun.

Will have to have a play with some samples first though like you say.

I hadn't thought about the fitting but it looks from the pics like they are held in by the beading. Will have to have a better look if we get the go ahead for the job.

Myles
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Post Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:28 pm

That warping might be due to the panels not being able to expand in the fixing frame.
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Post Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:50 pm

Although smaller than your job we did this Acrylic sign.

All lettering is reverse cut vinyl applied to rear and then the whole back is coated with sign enamel, but a good quality standard paint would do, using a 4" foam roller.

It has that glossy glass look to it.
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Post Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:26 pm

Peter Dee wrote:That warping might be due to the panels not being able to expand in the fixing frame.


Yep you could be right there Peter, I won't know until I can do a site survey on that.
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Post Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:29 pm

Neil Davey wrote:Although smaller than your job we did this Acrylic sign.

All lettering is reverse cut vinyl applied to rear and then the whole back is coated with sign enamel, but a good quality standard paint would do, using a 4" foam roller.

It has that glossy glass look to it.


Looks good Neil, Hadn't thought of combining vinyl with paint, that may well be the best way.

Any idea where I could get sign enamel from or what do you call a "standard paint" would a household gloss work for example, with no adverse effect on vinyl letters or perspex?

Myles
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Post Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:42 pm

OK so I did a test run using a one coat high gloss paint & just gave it two coats with a brush & bingo!! works a treat & I can't see why it wouldn't be highly durable as the painted surface will obviously be on the inside of the sign.

It's certainly a much better effect than flood coating with vinyl & only takes a few minutes to paint.
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Post Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:06 pm

Well done Myles, that looks good. Always nice to practice a job like this first to see how easy or difficult the job could be.

Back painted acrylic signs are definitely one of the most effective signs out there, although a rare breed these days.
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Post Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:13 pm

our own main sign is made up of two long 3mtr lengths of 10mm thick clear that is cut down. It's not great now after 3-4 years, the sunshine makes it move and it warps where the two sheets join together.

If you are holding around the sides, it should work but we wont be doing another sign like the one we got unless we can think of a better way of joining the two sheets together.
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Post Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:23 pm

Be careful of heat build up inside Myles. I did a church board which they put behind glass and less than a year later the paint had blistered and peeled because of the heat of the sun. I redid it and got them to drill holes along the frame and treat them to allow airflow and 3 yrs later it's grand.
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Post Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:12 pm

Thanks Martin,
It's certainly simple enough, & looks very effective, so I think I'll be using it again for sure at some stage. In fact I have a small wall sign to do for a solicitors, so may give it as an option & see what happens.

Dave,
If the sheets were mounted into something like a Panatrim frame so there was room for expansion & contraction, would that not stop any distortion? rather than holding the edges & forcing the expansion to distort at the join.

Harry,
I hear you on that, especially with a dark background I can imagine it could heat up something rotten, so definitely something to bear in mind.
By the way, have you moved to the Bahamas? Haven't seen that rare phenomenon they call "the Sun" here for quite some time now!! :cry:

Myles

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