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Thread: Metal Sign Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Metal Sign Question

    Need some expert advice. Customer wants sign with rust/patina metal background with brushed silver text & logo.
    I can add the rust/patina finish to the steel and am hoping to use silver Dibond (ACM) for the text and logo.

    My question is what type of adhesive would adhere the ACM to the rust/patina surface?

    One option may be to pre-cut vinyl for the graphics, apply to metal, then patina, remove vinyl and adhere ACM with either VHB, 3M 300, or 3M 5200 to the bare metal??


    Neal Schlee

    ULS X2-660 120 watt SuperSpeed
    Multicam Pro 102 Dual Z CNC Router & Multicam 44 Plus Dual Z CNC Router
    Shop Built Custom CNC Machines
    Mutoh VJ 1204 Wide Format Printer
    55" Laminator
    Graphtec 54" Vinyl Cutter
    Sublimation Equipment
    Sand Blasting Equipment
    Various Woodworking Equipment

    Aspire, Enroute, Flexi Pro 10.5, CorelDraw X6 to name a few!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Consider using something like Sculpt Nouveau ( to patinate the sign. I guess masking off would make the lettering easier if you're going to hand paint. Hopefully, others with more expertise can recommend a method around that. BTW, the sign substrate wouldn't need to be steel...but I suspect you know that.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Hi Neal,

    Coincidentally, I'm semi-retired from the sign business. If I understand your question you are attempting to adhere lettering which you cut from dibond to a backer and the entire kaboodle is going outdoors.

    Yes, use D/S tape. 3M makes a particular D/S tape which we use for mounting (exterior). I'm looking at it now it's the 3M 5952. It's used on many of those pylon signs you see at hospitals and holds the faces in place - yes, it's that darned strong. I would use tape only,especially since your dibond will be very lightweight and if I remember, 3mm thick? Some signmakers will be a bit anal about it and add some silicone also (but not silicone alone because it takes too long to set up). Here's why we either go with tape only or silicone with tape (latter not needed with lightweight dibond):

    Assuming this will be an exterior mount it will need to expand / contract with the weather. You have two dissimilar materials and each will expand/contract differently. If you use a bonding agent such as a glue then the letters will fall off your sign because most glues do not expand/contract enough to hold the letters in place.

    Lastly, unlike paint, do not scuff up either the dibond or the backer where you will be applying the letters because these tapes are better on shiny surfaces as they are more reactive surfaces. I think you already have this because you are working with cut vinyl but I thought I would say it to be thorough.

    Good luck with the sign.

    - denis
    P.S. my business is at www. njsigncrafters. com. I do a lot of dimensional letter work.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 04-18-2020 at 1:36 PM. Reason: Removed direct link in signature - not permitted by TOS

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