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Thread: Sign material

  1. #1
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    Sign material

    I tried the search, no luck. I tried an internet search, too confusing….

    I want to make an outdoor sign with a router, painted, 1” thick or so. The sign would be maybe 12” x 24” or so. My neighbor has one and it definitely isn’t wood. It is about as heavy as wood. On the internet I came up with HdU, whatever that is.

    So what do people use, and just as important, where can I buy it? I don’t mind if I had to buy more or a bigger sheet, it will get used.

  2. #2
    MDO is what many use for painted signs.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #3
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    High Density Urethane, available at sign supplies, such a Grimco, Nepco, General Plastics.

  4. #4
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    HDU is a pleasure to work with, especially for dimensional signage. It's expensive for sure, but designed for the job. That said, how you plan on making the sign should play into your material selection. If painted, PVC or MDO like Andy mentioned, are more readily available and will work fine. You can get PVC, at least in 3/4" at the home centers. MDO (an exterior plywood product with a smooth coating) likely would need to come from a sheet goods supplier, although many full service commercial lumber yards can order it in for you if they don't carry it.

    PVC and HDU may require additional support, depending on the size of the signage, but at 12x24, that's not likely the case.
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  5. #5
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    PVC is a good choice but Solid Surface material will last longer outside than any other material I know of. It routes well and will accept any type of paint. Try solidsurface.com for a source, you might also find a local counter top shop that will give you their scraps.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the responses.

    Keith, is the PVC the same stuff Jim mentioned you can get at the home centers? Like the white trim board stuff they sell?

    Also is HdU, just HDU? I thought I read something about different “poundage,” density, or something like that. Maybe a 10, 20, and 30?

  7. #7
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    The PVC is pretty much what you see at the home center. There are different brands and there may be minor differences, but in general, they are all similar.

    HDU does come in different densities/weights. 15, 18 and 20 pound are popular weights for sign work. Other densities are sometimes used for modeling, etc. I like how the 18 and 20 lb material cuts on my CNC...heavier, but finer grain.
    --

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

  8. #8
    I didn’t know til today that the name of Extira had been changed. I used it about 12 years ago to make outdoor “pierced imbricated” panels.
    They have not been repainted and still look good.

  9. #9
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    Thanks. There is a Grimco about 45 minutes from me. They might just be wholesale but I will call. The other places Joe mentioned to buy the HDU might just be wholesale also?

  10. #10
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    Most sign supplies are wholesale only, but most plastics supply places are also retail.

  11. #11
    Go to Home Depot and buy a sheet of PVC. You're probably going to screw up your first sign. PVC is WAY cheaper than HDU.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks Ross, I think that is what I will do. I was hoping to get 1” material, but 3/4” is all you can get at HD that I see.

  13. #13
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    You can always laminate two pieces to get a thicker, sturdier construction.
    --

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

  14. #14
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    I thought of that but not sure it is worth the hassle for me. I don’t really like the feel of the pvc stuff at Hd.

    My neighbor found the receipt for the sign she had made, it is made of HDU. It just looks and feels more like painted wood then I think PVC will. I have given up on my quest to find HdU and will probably just make it out of wood like I have done in the past.

    Now to figure out the best thing to topcoat the paint with for outdoor use…….

  15. #15
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    See if you can get a scrap of HDU from a local sign shop...I managed to do that awhile ago, although it wasn't someone local and was a 'Creeker who I visited while traveling.

    You don't top coat paint for outdoor use...use exterior acrylic paints.
    --

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

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