View Full Version : Source for office signs

Scott Shepherd
01-15-2007, 7:38 PM
We've been using the sign frames from JRS for office space areas. If you use them, then you know them, two pieces of aluminum, one on either side, magnetic backpiece, so you can swap signs in and out.

We've had a real tough time with their delivery dates. It's often 30 working days to get frames from them that are for 8" x 10" signs. I'm tired of messing with them and have started looking for an alternative to offer customers. Seems JRS makes them and sells them to everyone, so most of the big suppliers sell the same ones, all gotten through JRS. I'd like to know who's making similiar items that has a better delivery record.

We've had situations where we've had to wait 6 weeks for a sign frame, which makes us look very poor in the customers eyes.

I've searched the internet for hours and hours looking for alternatives, but had little luck.

This is the style http://www.jrscoinc.com/prod_decobars.html

Anyone got any ideas for alternatives? Or where to start looking for alternatives?

Brian Robison
01-18-2007, 2:00 PM
Have you looked at Johnson Plastics?

Scott Shepherd
01-18-2007, 2:29 PM
Sure have, they sell JRS frames. Seems everyone sells JRS frames. I'd really love to find an alternative in a similiar style.

Dan Oelke
01-18-2007, 4:19 PM
Don't have any ideas for you directly - but are some of the other retailers big enough that they keep some of those frames in stock such that you don't have to always wait for the JRS backlog time?

Scott Shepherd
01-18-2007, 6:49 PM
Hi Dan, it seems everyone is the same. It's a "Special Order" item and made to order. In todays day and time, considering the lack of complexity in the frame itself, waiting 6 weeks for delivery just seems out of touch with customer demands. I'd like to get 6 days lead time, much less 6 weeks.

Thanks to all who have replied. Maybe we'll go into the sign frame making business :)

Dave Jones
01-18-2007, 8:46 PM
Is there something a local machine shop could make for you that would do the job? It may cost more, but once they've made on, they could maybe make them on short notice. Many machine shops in this area are always looking for small jobs to fill the gaps.

Scott Shepherd
01-18-2007, 9:09 PM
Sure could Dave, as a machinist myself, that's what's caused me to look at what the products are and say that it's too long a lead time for such a simple item.

Jim A. Walters
01-18-2007, 11:25 PM
Have you ever looked at http://www.outwater.com/. They seem to supply the retail display market. They have some really cool stuff! They might have some extrusions you could machine, or maybe you could dream up a profitable idea using their stuff.

Keith Outten
01-22-2007, 7:37 PM
How about making your own signs from scratch. You won't need to suffer long waiting periods or have to worry about material availability when your customer needs a replacement sign a few years from now.

Here is a sample door sign I made this morning to submit for approval. It is 8" by 6" by 1/2" thick Dupont Glasier White Corian cut to shape, laser engraved and paint filled. Very simple to make and material cost is just over 3 dollars. The back of the sign has a keyhole routed for hanging. I engraved the Braille holes but have not installed/glued the acrylic balls...its a sample. I also submitted a dark blue sample with white text. Raised letters are an extra step, just laser cut acrylic letters and numbers from 1/16" acrylic sheet.

There are lots of colors available, shapes/sizes are limited only by your imagination. Simple rectangles are a snap to cut on a band saw, table saw, etc.

Even if you purchased the most expensive Corian color your cost per sign would still be under 7 bucks using Corian. I can cut 84 sign blanks of this size from a single sheet of Corian.


Mike Klafehn
01-22-2007, 11:00 PM

Great sign!
Did you use a CNC for it?
What is the cost for a sheet of 1/2" Corian?

Keith Outten
01-23-2007, 9:37 AM

Yes, I used my ShopBot CNC Router to cut the sign shape then a router table to prep the edges. The picture doesn't do the sign justice, the edges are crisp and very clean.

The wholesale price of Corian sheets (30" by 144") runs from $280.00 to $500.00 in my area based on the color selection. My sign business is certified to purchase Corian from a local distributor so I can purchase full sheets. Any sign shop can get certified at no cost by contacting Dupont and following their instructions.

Properly designed, Corian signs can be near maintenance free which is a nice selling point. The ability to prep the edges makes the signs stand out as compared to other materials that are thin. The ability to route any size and shape is a plus, even customer logos are possible in mass when you own a CNC machine. One job making door signs for a large commercial building and the CNC router is paid for, that is how I got mine. I got the job first then ordered the ShopBot...it paid for itself the first week :)

Once the design above is approved we probably have over a thousand of these to make. The CNC work will be just under 90 seconds per sign blank, thats the easy part. Laser engraving is about 20 minutes on my 35 watt engraver or 10 minutes on the 60 watt Xenetech laser at CNU. I then spray paint using rattle cans, remove the paper mask and sand for about 30 seconds with 220 grit using an ROS. The last step takes about two minutes to machine the keyhole slot on the back.


Brian Robison
01-23-2007, 4:30 PM
Not to go off topic here but what kind of masking works well and where do you get it?

Keith Outten
01-23-2007, 7:36 PM
Not to go off topic here but what kind of masking works well and where do you get it?


Engravers Masking tape is available from just about any engraving supplier. You can start with Laserbits (http://www.laserbits.com). I believe it is the same material that vinyl cutters use for transferring vinyl signs. I use paper masking tape for Corian in 6 and 12 inch wide rolls.


Michael Kowalczyk
01-23-2007, 9:14 PM
Hey Keith,
Nice work. clean and simple design
Out of curiosity how much do you get, delivered price, for those Residence plaques when you run that many?
I am interested to see how much of it will be allocated to the braille.

PS - Nice use of OPM (Other Peoples Money) by getting the job first and having it enough to pay for your Bot.

Larry Bratton
02-13-2007, 9:28 PM
Keith, is that braille underneath the number? How did you do it?