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Flex Face panels

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Conor Knoxx, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Conor Knoxx

    Conor Knoxx Member

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    so, I am pretty much losing any lexan/plexigless/ back lit business I'm quoting on, to "Flex Face" panels.
    Which I have no experience in whatsoever.
    I've asked suppliers for "help" and got pretty much nowhere, then of course I remembered my best source for info - signs101! :)
    At this point, I don't even have intelligent questions to ask, since I've never had any experience with this type of installation.
    In many cases, I'd have to sub-out the actual prints (I can only do 4ft wide) - but I assume that's not a problem.
    But I assume there's special frames to retro-fit existing light-boxes, and special tools and hardware for "stretching" the material?
    Any advice / experience (and Canadian suppliers) would be most appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Conor
     
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  2. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    personally I won't touch flex face, so no help from me, sorry

    :thumb:
     
  3. Rocco G

    Rocco G Member

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    Pennsauken NJ
    Flex faces panels are really intended for larger illuminated sign faces where its not practical to do a rigid face. Well at least that was the original intent. I've seen some pretty small faces done with flex material. I think the smallest I've seen was less than 3 x 6.

    Yes, you need a special extruded aluminum retainer system. Go to signcomp.com and browse around, they have loads of info. I'm sure there are lots of other suppliers of flex retainers as well. Depending on the exact extrusion chosen you need a "tensioning tool" but some systems have clips that attach to a steel angle frame. Milliken industries (or whatever they are called lately) also does a flex system where you staple the face into their extrusion frame, much like their stapled awning system.

    The graphics can be cut vinyl, printed directly onto the substrate (the biggest we ever did that way was 16' x 16' for a Dodge truck ad), or eradicated. Eradication is where the flex material has a solid color background and you wipe the color off where you want the lettering to go. Say you want a large blue background with white letters, as one example. I think Colley Brite was the first to have a material that works this way, but I'm often wrong..

    For large faces, we outsourced the actual prints or did vinyl graphics. I'm sure a google search will find lots of places to make the digital printed faces for you.

    There is a lot more to know about flex faces, but that's a brief (probably oversimplified) overview. They are great for large illuminated signs.
     
  4. Conor Knoxx

    Conor Knoxx Member

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    thanks Rocco, I'll check that out first.
     
  5. idsignsil

    idsignsil Member

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    We do flex faces all the time. Like Rocco said, go to signcomp.com and look at their systems. They have a few depending on if it is a new cabinet or if you have to retro one, their's is the only system we use. I believe they will send out samples to you also.

    As far as printing, make sure the printer strikes the back of the material as well. This way it will look good during the day and at night.

    Good Luck
     
  6. Rocco G

    Rocco G Member

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    That's a new one by me. Why print on the back side of the material as well? Is it because at night it's not as deep a color like vinyl or Cooley? An associate of mine no longer cuts vinyl and does everything (including backlit) as a print, but he has complained that the colors look somewhat washed out at night. The times I've had a print done for flex, it was fine at night. These were done by the same companies that do back-lit billboards so maybe they have a better way of printing? IDK, but please tell me more. I don't have a digital printer and outsource all of that.
     
  7. Chriswagner92

    Chriswagner92 Member

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    we've done a few, the most recent being last year in the summer. As others have said, there is a special mounting system that requires a larger trim bar than a normal cabinet, and it is a pita to stretch tight. [​IMG][​IMG] We did transluscent vinyl for the yellow and then just regular black. We had to go back over with green transparent to make the color right for the customer.
     

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  8. Conor Knoxx

    Conor Knoxx Member

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    lol, this is going right into a thread I had going a short while ago, about printing back-lit panels. I am re-doing one right now, with cut vinyl, because the customer found the "washed out" look, when lit up to be unacceptable :(
    There's other threads here too, on that subject. I just figured the flex face material was a bit less opaque than translucent media, and therefore would diffuse the light more, and (hopefully!) make it look a little better when lit up.
     
  9. idsignsil

    idsignsil Member

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    We outsource our backlit flex faces as well, to a billboard producer that we have been using since this was a billboard company 30 years ago and then they split to a be a billboard company and a different sign company. Anyway, when I started doing the design work here 8 years ago, they told me to order a specific material (Vulite Supreme) because the installers liked using it better than the other stuff they had tried. I was also told to make sure to tell the printer to double strike the front, which made it look dark during the day, but fine at night. Around 6 years ago, the outsource printer got a new machine and suggested we have them print the front, and then reverse print on the back, and this will keep the colors from looking so different between day and night.

    Backlit polycab faces is a whole different story. There are people who say to print the front on white translucent, then print in reverse on clear and put that on the back of the substrate. There are those who double print on white translucent and other who single print. I do a small sample and have the customer choose between the double print or single print first surface. To much time and extra material to do the reverse on clear and then try to line it all up, the customers generally don't want to pay the extra. Of course all of this depends on if you have a white or clear polycarb face. We always use white.

    Sorry for the tangent.
     
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