Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Lighted sign project

Discussion in 'Electric Signs & Channel Letters' started by phototec, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    3,199
    22
    38
    May 23, 2008
    Belton
    Lighted sign project, customer wants me to change the face of the sign, but I have never done this kind before, and need some help from the experienced members here.

    I have attached some photos of what I will be working with, the metal fixture appears to have a metal frame on the front and the graphics looks like it's applied vinyl over the face which is not a rigid plexi or acrylic, but rather feels like it is a thin skin stretched tight, kind of like on a drum. I have no idea what the material is or where to get it. Outer dimension is 23-1/2" x 118".

    Questions:

    Anyone know what kind of sign this is and if the vinyl can be removed from the translucent face material?

    How is this this translucent material attached to the face frame, and what is this translucent material (feels very thin and stretched tightly)?

    How is the translucent material attached to the front of the chrome frame?

    Should I just get new translucent material for the front and apply new cut translucent vinyl, similar to the existing sign face?

    The outside chrome frame looks pretty beat up, could that be wrapped with vinyl to make it look better?

    Like I said, this is the first time I have seen a frame like this and don't know anything about it. Any help will be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    :rolleyes:
     

    Attached Files:

    Tags:
  2. andy

    andy Active Member

    848
    1
    0
    Aug 19, 2004
    The face material is a woven flex face fabric which I wouldn't even bother trying to strip... it'll take forever to remove the graphics and it's easy to nick the material which will then cause it to split. Many Flex face fabrics are finished in a similar way to banners.... with welded pockets on all four sides. These pockets accept a metal rod which gives the tension system something secure to pull against... if you put a new face onto the box you can simply copy the old fabric pattern.

    The Chrome frame is a cover which is hiding the tension hardware... there should be small rivets or self tapping screws holding it to the main cabinet. Take the Chrome beading off and you'll have access to the internal workings. The tension system is either a cleat based offering, a ratchet design or built with small stainless steel springs. All flex face cabinet manufacturers use a slightly different design but this shouldn't be a problem as long as you carefully record how all the parts fit together and make sure you keep all the tension components ready for refitting the new face.

    The existing face will be tensioned in a specific order.... normally you start top left and then work from top to bottom, left to right. Flex faces need to be carefully tensioned to iron out wrinkles & creases... that's why there is usually a tension order which you need to follow.

    As for vinyl... you've got to be careful which type of film you use. As the name suggests this is a flexible substrate system which will move and stretch. If memory serves there is a special type of back lit flex face vinyl which is more like a banner vinyl... it's designed to stretch with the fabric. Printing would be an easier option but the key thing is ink coverage.... if you don't get enough ink on the fabric it looks a mess when it's back lit.

    I can't see why you couldn't wrap the Chrome beading... it's just aluminium with a Chrome plate finish.

    If I were you I'd find someone who printed & finished flex face panels.... take out the old material, box it up & FedEx it over to them and they'll have a pattern which will ensure a pretty easy transition from old face to new.
     
  3. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    3,199
    22
    38
    May 23, 2008
    Belton
    Andy, thanks for the info, you are right on, looking closely at the white area between the silver vinyl on the background and the black text, the material kind of looks like it has a very fine fabric texture coated with PVC.

    Who is the manufacture of woven flex face fabric, and is this the correct name of that type of material so I can do a Google search?

    My Google search for "Flex Face light box sign system" only list companies in the UK, I'm in Texas.

    Now that I have a better understanding of what I am dealing with, I will attempt to open the cabinet and see what kind of stretching system is used.

    Thank for the detailed explanation, exactly what I needed.


    :thankyou:
     
  4. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    3,199
    22
    38
    May 23, 2008
    Belton
    Hey Guys, can anyone give me some help?

    Where can I get some flex sign face material?

    What type of translucent vinyl should I use?

    Thanks

    :thankyou:
     
  5. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    5,042
    260
    83
    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI
    check with your supplier, if you have one that supplies banner material... they'll know what flex-face material for illuminated signage is and can most likely sell it to you by the short roll.

    we use UltraFlex brand, i believe. if you get to use the old the sign, you can most likely reuse the clips that attach/stretch the flexface to the sign. Vinyl used is no different from any translucent vinyl you currently use. If part of the sign is not meant to light, we use a layer of opaque vinyl on the face combined with a layer of black applied to the back with the illuminated portion weeded out.

    as far as taking it apart, there's most likely a frame that you can remove to expose the flex-face mounting system. they should be just a series of clips attached to the flexface that unscrew from the sign cabinet.
     
  6. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    3,199
    22
    38
    May 23, 2008
    Belton
    MikePro, thanks, I need all the help I can get, this is the first one like this for me.

    Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

    :thankyou:
     
  7. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    13,027
    31
    48
    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    Search "flex face" here on signs101...

    I'm also doing my first flex face this month, except I'm just a little ahead if you in the process... I removed the old 4x12 face (20' above ground) bought new "Cooley" 20oz fabric, trimmed to match the template from old face, and salvaged and reapplied all clips on the new face...

    What I haven't done yet is try to reinstall it, and somehow remove or avoid any wrinkles from irregular tensioning...

    I was planning to start a thread today, because I've been trying to reach a signs101 member for days, to pick his brain about the proper installation technique...

    I may still post a thread, but will also keep my eye on this thread...

    Oh yeah... Do that search... Someone else posted just last week on this...
     
  8. John in Cali

    John in Cali Member

    107
    0
    16
    Jan 31, 2011
    usa
    Add at least 6 inches to the diameter of the lightbox. You will need the extra material to pull on when stretching over the retainer system. After installation of the flex face, trim off the excess.
     
  9. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    5,042
    260
    83
    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI
    hardest part, is tightening it. one clip at a time, then its opposite, and repeat. pray to god you do it right the first time, because going back out to re-tighten a face you've installed... just plain sucks, your profit.
     
  10. Sign Eagle

    Sign Eagle Member

    162
    0
    0
    Nov 2, 2010
    We did a few indoor signs like that and just used 13 oz banner fabric, worked fine. I would assume it woud work outside as well. Tensioning is a pain, but I think there is a tool available that makes it easier.
     
  11. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    3,199
    22
    38
    May 23, 2008
    Belton

    ISign, yes, you are ahead of me, I have found the "Cooley" 20oz fabric, sold by the yard. I will have to call them on Monday to get a cost.

    http://www.nepcosignsupply.com/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=5657&idcategory=1720#details

    Yea, we need to find someone who knows about the correct tensioning procedure. I can see that it needs to be done correctly, or it will not been evenly tight.

    On the sign I'm working on, the old "Cooley" fabric, is stretched as tight as a drum.

    I will open my cabinet up on Monday to see what kind of tensioning system is securing the fabric.

    I look forward to reading your thread.

    :thankyou:
     
  12. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    13,027
    31
    48
    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    I won't be doing a thread asking how unless i really screw up bad at 8am tomorrow..

    Sticky signs sent me this link which was real helpful, since I bought the $50 tool, but wasnt' yet sure how it worked until I watched this...

    I'll take some pics & maybe post after the fact...
     
  13. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    14,457
    19
    38
    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    I did a sign like this about 2 years ago (lettered only)
    It's for my brother's company, which works on/maintains signs and awnings, etc.
    They ordered the flex face in from N Glantz, and they did all the stretching.
    I just came in and stuck the translucent vinyl.
    This is when I was still running the 4B and I had to fricking piece the big stuff....not fun.
    But the sign (8'x12' d/s) turned out nice looking even if their logo is icky.
    Love.....Jill
     
  14. shakey0818

    shakey0818 Active Member

    918
    0
    0
    Aug 12, 2010
    :goodpost:
    Great link Doug thanks.I remember around 10 years part of the Cooley plant here in RI had a fire and i did the restoration work.They gave me all kinds of samples and were very nice people.
     
  15. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    13,027
    31
    48
    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    done!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

    3,199
    22
    38
    May 23, 2008
    Belton
    ISIGN, looks great, I can't see and wrinkles :thumb:


    Wow, is this weird, you said this was your first flex face sign, which is for a tire store, and my first flex face sign is also for a tire store, "EZ Tire & Lube".


    Ok, I hit a snag, now that I have opened the lighted sign cabinet and removed the outer metal frame I can see the flex fabric attached to the inner-frame, and there are NO clips, instead the flex fabric is STAPLED to the stretch frame.

    I thought I had it all figured out and would do like ISIGN suggested, remove all the clips and re-use them, and tighten the the clips using the tool.

    Now I don't know what to do, how do you stretch the flex fabric and staple it to the frame? Or is there some different type clips that will fit into the groove where the staples are located?
     

    Attached Files:

  17. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    6,068
    876
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
  18. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

    5,042
    260
    83
    Feb 3, 2010
    Racine, WI
  19. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    13,027
    31
    48
    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    bummer!!

    GAC05 seems to have given some helpful link, so I'll just wish you the best & hope to see another new tire sign being shown off later this week.
    Good Luck!
     
  20. signcrafters london

    signcrafters london Very Active Member

    1,186
    5
    38
    May 22, 2010
    London KY
    It's just like stretching a canvas. Take all the old staples out. Start on one side and start putting staples back in. After you get past the first side you'll need one person to stretch and hold the material while another staples. Really not that hard.

    We used rivets instead of staples, but same principle. We also use sheet metal pliers like these to help hold the flex in place until it is secured.
     

    Attached Files:

Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...