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Question Making mounting template for Acrylic sign with studs

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by mnapuran, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. mnapuran

    mnapuran Active Member

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    So... curious about the best way to make a mounting template for an acrylic (metal, etc as well) sign that will be mounted with studs. Studs are mounted in various spots on the back of the signage with pads... best way to create the wall mount template for drilling the needed holes, etc in the proper places?
     
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  2. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    I actually just did this with 1/2" acrylic, sign is 168" X 104" so quite huge.

    1. Figure out which studs you are going to use. For me I used 1/4-20 X 3".
    2. Get a tap and die for that size stud. Also a drill bit with it.
    3. Make your artwork at scale and randomly place dots where you want them. Make them the exact size of the hole you will be drilling.
    4. Copy that image and reverse it, print and cut them out of vinyl or anything with adhesive.
    5. Apply the reversed pieces to the back of the acrylic letters.
    6. Drill and tap each one of those dots, you can use a drill bit collar to get the correct depth. Be accurate.
    7. Print the non-reversed on brown paper (it's cheaper, you can get a 48" X 600' roll online for like $70) Just print the outline and dots.
    8. Once everything is done, remove the vinyl on the back of the letters and put the studs into the letters.
    9. Sit them on a table over the template with the studs touching the template. Verify all holes match, if you are 1/8" or more off on some holes, trace the stud around it, this way went you drill the holes through the template you will use the accurate marks.

    Presto that is all!

    EDIT: Also you can buy studs cheap on grainer for like 15 cents - 30 cents each. Very cost effective instead of trying to make your own.
     
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  3. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    10. Make sure with multiple letters, you place the studs in the exact same place (copy the letters and stud pattern, paste, then place) that way if the letters get mixed up on the field, multiple letters will work in any location.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  4. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    It's easier that way as you can copy the same letter. But if you set up the same letters with completely different hole patterns it won't matter, because it will only fit into one of the holes.
     
  5. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Huh?
     
  6. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    Confirming that yes it's easier to copy the letter so they match and it doesn't matter where you place it, however if you want to do a different pattern on every letter, that isn't an issue either. It's all preference.
     
  7. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    To the OP...

    AMS's procedure is a pretty accurate way of doing it and I don't want to take away from that... though I prefer white paper because it's easier for my bolder eyes to see the plot pen markings.

    Making stud placement the same on multiple letters is SOP in every shop I ever worked at. Heres why...
    -- I don't want to have to layout my letters out on the field to locate the correct holes for a letter that is the same, it wastes time.
    -- I don't want to be 40' up in the air and have to come down to find the mystery holed letter that could have been the same with 2 button clicks. It wastes time.
    -- Imagine if you had 20 "E"s to install and each one of them slightly off from one another... frustrating a fletch - you could get crooked letters - waste of time.

    Common sense..
     
  8. rossmosh

    rossmosh Member

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    Basically, make the letters match the template not the template match the letter.

    I get you can't do it all the time on every material, but I'm always confused why producers of letters don't let the cutting machine mark where the studs will go. It's so much easier that way.

    One trick method I use for plotting point is to draw horizontal lines across the text and just plot my drill points on the lines. Can use a laser level to align everything if you so desired and in my head it just makes sense.
     
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  9. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    Yes for multiple letters, use the same holes, I agree. Mine only has two letters of the same, so it doesn't matter, but if you had like 5 copies, then yes it would be a nightmare. I just wanted OP to know that it doesn't have to be done only one way and one way only.
     
  10. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

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    Good info. Thanks.
     
  11. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    If making the letters in house...
    1. flip graphics
    2. place mounting holes on artwork
    3. are you sure you flipped the graphics???
    4. use cnc to drill minimally into acrylic, our table is horrendously unlevel, so I set depth to about -.1", just enough to mark the plastic. For metal letters where popping studs, do the same, except instead of dot sized marks, make the outside of the tool path just inside the size of the collar for the stud gun. For me it's a 1/2" circle with a 1/8" bit, leaving a 3/8" island & 5/8" ring to line up the stud gun with.
    5. once all the letters have been cut, pop studs or place acrylic blocks directly over the hole/dot, fill with some channel bond, and run around the perimeter of the block.
    6. unflip art and tape your sharpie to your graphtec. instead of drawing circles, draw a + sign with two of the legs connected, so the plotter draws each + with one stroke. Makes for a more accurate install when you can place the bit on an x as opposed to somewhere inside a void that you figure is probably close to center...
    7. profit!
     
  12. eahicks

    eahicks Very Active Member

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    If you already mounted your studs to the sign, simply lay paper down on the table. Lay the sign on the paper, apply pressure to mark the paper with the studs, remove the sign and go back and Sharpie the marks you made.
     
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  13. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I'll say this method works well for Gemini in house, you can't argue with their success, but I have seen several patterns made like this (digitally created pattern with letters laid over and inked for marks) and it really depends on who is doing the work...
     
  14. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

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    write a number on the backs of letters that match up to numbers on the pattern as the same isn't always the same.
     
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  15. Robbie Moore

    Robbie Moore New Member

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    Lay your paper over cardboard then apply pressure. It marks easier
     
  16. For letters with threaded studs I have a set of I/2" studs ground to a point. I make my pattern using those, then put the long studs back in. This avoids having to "wallow" out the hole to get the letter to seat properly.
     
  17. Enola

    Enola Member

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    I really know nothing about this but,
    For those that mentioned cutting acrylic letters on a cnc "in house", can you flip the artwork and cut the letters from the back, while drilling the stud holes at the same time?
    If thats a possibliity, then you could simply flip the artwork and print that, with the same hole pattern on your paper pattern?
     
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  18. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Bingo!
     
  19. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    We lay out of the studs in Flexi so that everything is lined up. Then use the marker pen on the plotter and make three paper templates. One for the wall and two for the back of the sign. We'll place the first reverse template on the table, lay the sign out, then lay the second reverse template over it. Make sure everything is straight and then punch the marks. The wall template is eventually double checked against the finished sign before installation. The rolls of paper are so cheap and it takes like 10 minutes total to lay it out. We don't do CNC in house so that's how we make it work.
     
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