View Full Version : Sign panels

Scott Shepherd
04-08-2008, 10:52 AM
I'm looking at a job that's in front of retail space. It's the typical sign with small panels for each tenant. However, whoever made the sign, actually put the panels on with adhesive, so they won't come off. There are no screws in them. So I'm looking at redoing the sign.

Currently it's dibond backing with dibond panels glued on. It's a fairly large sign, so it would take a lot of dibond, which is $100 a sheet. It has to be painted as well. My initial thoughts are using 1/8" thick aluminum sheet, then using dibond white for the panels, using a jig to drill holes so the panels can be removed and replaced. Right now, they have to peel the existing vinyl off on location and reapply the new vinyl over the old paint that shows the ghost image of the old tenant.

Does that sound like the right method? Drill and tap the aluminum sheet, then drill the panels out, using a flat head screw with painted head? I'm sure you could use dibond, but I'd like to try and get the cost down some.

Any other tips or ideas on making the panels removable and replaceable?

Joe Pelonio
04-08-2008, 11:30 AM
1/8" Aluminum sheet has to be up there close to dibond in price, last time I checked $75 for .08. Dibond will also give you better support without warping,
and if you can find, it also comes in 2mm for about $75.

The rest with the holes and all sounds good.

Keith Outten
04-08-2008, 1:06 PM
I use Corian for most exterior signs. As a substrate it doesn't necessarily need a backer and it doesn't need to be painted. Corian won't fade so it also is a great material for the sign panels. If you use vinyl and remove it later a light sanding with your ROS will get the surface ready for the next sign. If you laser engrave the panels and paint the recesses you can run the panel through a drum sander to remove the engraved area and use it several times before it starts getting thin.

You can machine a keyhole hanger (or 2) in the back of the sign panels then use a small dab of silicone to keep anyone from removing the panel. Use a very thin metal spatula sharpened on the end to break the silicone seal when you want to remove a panel. Unlike other materials you can route a fancy edge on your Corian pieces and glue up multiple colors when the design calls for it, the Dupont adhesive is permanent and won't be affected by the weather.

I'm working on an exterior Corian sign now that is ten feet long and will be mounted on a curved brick wall.

Corian isn't that expensive a material once you deduct your cost of painting other substrates and often the cost of a backing material. I have found that my labor costs are less using Corian which more than offsets the cost of the material. My customers enjoy signs that don't need to be rebuilt or painted every few years. Life expectancy of Corian in exterior applications is 30 to 50 years.


Scott Shepherd
04-08-2008, 1:11 PM
Thanks for the ideas guys. I can't use the Corian model for this, it's an existing sign and it's all controlled by a community association. It was somewhat of a pain to simply get the color changed to match the new colors of their community signs, so telling them they need to change the entire look isn't in the cards for this one. Maybe next time.

Looks like 8 sheets of Dibond. It's a fairly large sign.

Keith Outten
04-08-2008, 1:44 PM

Look on the bright side...you will get to rebuild the sign again in a few years :)