View Full Version : Sign backing material

Scott Shepherd
03-24-2007, 9:41 AM
I'm thankful that my customers have confidence in us, but something that started out as just doing a select set of services seems to be growing outside of my knowledge base daily. We have a customer who we've done rotary engraving for, for years (not me, as I just got here a couple of months ago), and with the laser, we're doing the same products. However, they are so happy with the quality and service, they don't want anyone else to do their work but us. Normally that would be a good thing, right?

Well, it would for me if my background was in signs, but it's not. So each new day, I'm being handed something that's made of materials I've never seen before.

I've got one sitting right here. It's a 3 dimensional sign, made up of various shapes and thicknesses. The bottom layer is 1/2" thick, the second layer has something that measures about .230", as well as 1/8" thick set of shapes too.

I can't figure out what the material is. The top surface is laminated with a plastic, so I'm fine with that. The backside is black and slick, and has like a minor orange peel finish to it. The edges look like it's MDF or some sort of dense pressed material.

I'm stumped on what it is. I'm assuming it some sort of sign grade material that comes in a variety of thicknesses? If so, what is it?

I hate to ask so many questions, but you guys are like the "brain trust" of making things.

Are there any good resources for learning the in's an out's of making custom signs that would be helpful and make me stop asking so many questions? I don't want to make billboards or things you have to lift with a crane, but signs smaller than 24" x 24", typically signs in the 12" x 12" range, for office buildings.


Larry Bratton
03-24-2007, 10:11 AM
Scott, why don't you post a pic of it. Hard to say without seeing it. I am guessing that it could be MDO, but again just a guess.
Their are lots of good publications out there..Sign Business Magazine is one that comes to mind. Sign work to me is more of an art than anything else. I do it in conjunction with my other business and get a lot of satisfaction from it. We make a lot of CNC routed signs and use various materials. Lot's of things out there for substrates and it can get confusing sometimes.

Joe Pelonio
03-24-2007, 11:18 AM
If not MDO (Plywood) or acrylic it could be Dense Foam PVC board (cannot cut on the laser). Brand names are Sintra or Komatex, available at sign supply and plastics places. The sides are smooth but the edges are a bit rough, show the dense foam cells. The second layer and shapes are likely Rowmark "ADA Alternative" or Gravoply/Gravotac which come in those thicknesses. You can apply adhesive like 3m 467MP to the back before laser cutting, but make sure you get the laserable versions as they make it for rotary too.