View Full Version : Sign Help

Brian Robison
07-09-2007, 1:50 PM
I'm making a sign 12" x 18 for exterior use.
I plan to just laser a piece of Rowmark for it.
I just feels like it will be to flimsy. Any ideas?
I'm new to the sign making side of this business.

Rodne Gold
07-09-2007, 1:57 PM
Rowmark , unless it is specified for exterior usage , will not be durable.
Be more specific regarding the sign

Whats it being used for?
modern or traditional?
How harsh an environment?
Is there very fine work required?

There are many materials you can work with , but for exterior usage , nothing much will beat perspex and formica combination , both of which are not expensive materials. You can vector cut engrave and colour fill both these with ease,

Brian Robison
07-09-2007, 2:04 PM
It's a sign for contact information, just text. Nutin fancy.
I did get exterior laserable plastic.
Explain the Fomica and Perspex please.
Perspex is just clear cast acrylic, correct?
Paint, laser, and color fill the acrylic? Do I then
put that together with another something for the back side? I'm lost, sorry.

Craig Hogarth
07-09-2007, 2:10 PM
If you're going to use rowmark, you can find the best product for specific use at http://www.rowmark.com/MARK/markguide.asp

Joe Pelonio
07-09-2007, 2:43 PM
You can just laminate it onto 3mm or 6mm PVC.

Brian Robison
07-09-2007, 2:54 PM
Using what for glue?
Where do I get PVC?

Mike Null
07-09-2007, 3:24 PM

I think these people are in your area code.

Joe Pelonio
07-09-2007, 3:40 PM
Using what for glue?
Where do I get PVC?
You can use construction adhesive or silicone and clamp it. I use a laminating film like 3M 486MP. PVC sheet is available at most plastic or sign supplys, with names like Sintra or Komatex. Places like Tap Plastic will cut to size. Probably wherever you get your acrylic would have it. For a sign backer PVC is a lot less expensive than acrylic.

Brian Robison
07-09-2007, 3:48 PM
I'm thinking, Rowmark reverse engrave white, colorfill green and then apply with the 3M to the PVC foam board from Tap Plastics. Overall thickness 1/4".
How does that sound?

Joe Pelonio
07-09-2007, 4:15 PM
That should work fine, or else just use Lasermax and don't have to do the color fill.

If you start getting more of these or larger it may be time to consider a plotter, this job would take a lot less time and hardly any material cost in vinyl lettering on PVC or Aluminum and better for outdoors, too. I pay about $3 for 12x18 .08 aluminum w/1.5" radius corners, the cost for that amount of vinyl is about $1.

Brian Robison
07-09-2007, 4:23 PM
I've got the laser max but the customer wants green letters with a white background. That means I'd have to laser away a LOT of green and probably go over it twice.
I think I'll go with reverse engraving.
Any pricing ideas on a 18 x 12 sign? It's all new to me.

Keith Outten
07-09-2007, 8:58 PM

An aluminum backer would be a good choice for your Rowmark plastic. You can also paint your aluminum sheet white, cover with paper mask and engrave, then paint fill the text green.

Another option is to use white Corian, engrave and paint fill. Check with a few counter top shops in your area for sink cut-outs that they normally throw away. If you can get it for free you have no money in materials and you don't need a backing material since Corian is 1/2" thick. Another option using Corian is to use colored acrylic on top and laser cut the acrylic.


Scott Shepherd
07-09-2007, 9:16 PM
Adding to what Joe said, sub it out to someone who does vinyl. You can buy 12 x 18 white aluminum blanks with about anything you want on them ranging from $21 each for standard "No Parking" type signs, up to about $40 for something more custom worded. I've done a couple like you're doing now, but by far, it's easier to do it in vinyl.

Larry Bratton
07-10-2007, 11:02 PM
If your just making a outdoor sign for information etc, try this. Use Rowmark Laserlights. It's outdoor, comes in several colors and it is almost as thin as plotter vinyl. It has an adhesive back. It can also be engraved, however, here is what I do. Take the Laserlights material, apply it to your metal substrate, then "kiss cut" your letters. When your done, weed away the leftover material and leave the letters on. Your done. I made one just last week and it turned out great and was very quick and easy. Settings=75s/50p/500f in Epilog 40w

Here's the Rowmark link http://www.rowmark.com/laser/Laserlights/laserlights.asp

Brian Robison
07-11-2007, 8:42 AM
Thanks everyone.
I had already bought the reverse engravable material so that's the way I went this time. I'll try the other methods next time out. I use the laser lights and the foils from time to time I just never thought about them for outside use. The masking and painting sounds like a great idea too. Next time I'll ask questions BEFORE I order materials. DOH!
Joe, where do I get aluminum that cheap?

Brian Robison
07-18-2007, 8:36 AM
Well, I finished it, quite plain but.....
It took a week and 2 days for the backer to come from
Tap plastics. They shipped it the day after ordering but UPS let it sit in Il. for several days. Something that would have made it here in 3 days Fed Ex ground takes 9 with UPS Gound.(Rant over)

Mike Null
07-18-2007, 11:27 AM

Did you say you reverse engraved and then colorfilled?

If so that's the best looking colorfill I've seen on a reverse engraved sign.

Mine always looks frosted.

Joe Pelonio
07-18-2007, 11:35 AM
It came out nice, but for next time you need to find a local supplier for the backing. There has to be someone in your area.

As for aluminum prices, sign blanks like .04 18x24, .063 or .08 12x18, 18x24, and 24x36 with 1.5" radius corners I buy at a wholesale sign supply in Seattle that delivers to me daily (free). There's also a place you can order a catalog from that sells it as well as PVC and many other items for sign making:


Brian Robison
07-20-2007, 3:33 PM
Thanks Mike, I had to go over it 3 times to get it good enough, it took forever!
Joe, your are correct!!!!! I'm looking around now for suppliers, Mike's pointed me toward one.