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.

New project - need help

Discussion in 'Installation Equipment & Techniques' started by GAC05, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,987
    819
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    So, I find myself in need of some advice on this one.
    I know the correct advice would be to run far away as quickly as possible but that is not an option.
    The customer is building a display/swing backdrop for a hotel and it needs to light up like the moon it is.
    I need to build the front and back panels and LED backlight them.
    It will be outside in the weather and will have one or two people sitting on it.
    The issue is the size of the face. It is roughly 7ft x 8ft when measured diagonally from the open side to the outermost point of the curved frame. There is no lexan or even acrylic that size available on the island.
    The builder may be able to convince their customer to take the time & expence to bring in a sheet.
    The other option would be a Panaflex or Duratran panel that I can stretch over the frame on both sides.
    No printing, it just needs to be white and light up from the interior.
    Frame is already done so I have to work with what is there.
    I think I can add some material to the back of the 1" metal framing so I can use stainless staples and some screws with tabs to hold the faces tight.
    Access to the inside will be through the caps on the inner and outer faces that do not need to light up.
    I will have the metal guy add an aluminum plate in the center of the 'moon' to mount the LEDs on.
    frame is 14" wide so I'll only have about 6" on each side to space off the LEDS.
    They have an electrical contractor to take care of the wiring. I'm thinking transformers in a separate box with just the 24v running through the frame. I don't know how long the leads can be between the LEDs and transformers.
    I'm assuming the LED vendor can help with this.

    Questions
    1. What would be the best material to use for the flex face and who can I buy it from (by the yard)?
    2. If we go with Lexan - are there sheets available 7' or 8' high that can be rolled up and shipped?
    Who would have it by the yard? How thick can I go and still be able to roll it up for shipping?32. Recommendations for the LEDs - does not have to be super bright as it is a backdrop for tourists to sit on and take photos. Need a soft white glow - maybe a diffuser in front of the LEDs to try and avoid pin-pricks of light?
    Again who to buy from?
    4. Any other ideas to help avoid the disaster that this is going to be..........

    Wayne

    moon_project.jpg
     
    Tags:
  2. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

    3,496
    1,964
    113
    Dec 9, 2015
    buffalo ny
    Get a hold of an awning company to get some translucent material. From the looks of your frame you could lace the material on there. (it looks like it was made by an awning company). Panoflex is another material that will let light through, do not know how wide it comes and is available to you out on edge of the world where you live. Or your located in the center and we are out on the edge, whatever.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    4,612
    1,704
    113
    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    Nglantz sells panaflex by the yard. Polycarbonite stock is sold off the roll so you can get as much as you want and it curves... None of that does you any good if they don't ship to Guam. I'm not sure of the length of the DC wire but I've had 20' long runs do fine. Grimco started selling a mini LED driver that is 1" in width. https://www.grimco.com/Catalog/Products/MINIDRIVER I've seen VERY SMALL LED drivers in blade signs I've installed in a movie theater so they can really fit anywhere now.

    This project makes me feel better about my disaster I posed earlier... I don't think I'd trade you.
     
  4. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    Will a stretch fabric stand up to people interacting with it over time? I imagine kids climbing on it and knees and feet making contact with the sides. When they realize it sounds like a drum, they are going to beat on it... I'm visualizing an elegant, more expensive and profitable option for you.

    Why not use plex and seam it. You could minimize the seam (light bleed and shadow) by rabbeting the overlap and backing it up with clear. I admit it's not my area of expertise but I love spitballing ideas to find the best solution.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,987
    819
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    This is a good point that I figured might be an issue with people just sitting on the bench part and swinging their feet into the face at the bottom.

    Not sure I can do a seam. The project manager on the hotel side is a Japanese engineer and he is apparently a pain to work with.
    I have found .150" polycarb online that is 100" high that I can buy by the foot. Waiting on cost and how tight it can be rolled for shipping. If it fits within the budget that will be the way I go.

    Thanks all for the replies so far.
    Wayne
     
  6. Rocco G

    Rocco G Member

    127
    17
    18
    Feb 27, 2014
    Pennsauken NJ
    It looks like a fun project but I agree that the best course is to probably refuse the job especially if the PM is an engineer. They are all PIA's. I have a feeling that if the public will be sitting on this that someone will get hurt on it eventually (even a paper cut can cause a lawsuit these days) and guess who will get blamed.

    If it were my project I'd do one piece polycarbonate, but I'm in NJ and can get materials delivered in a day or so. I also agree with Jester1167 in that people will be beating on it or kicking it or whatever if its intended for people to sit on. Roll stock polycarbonate can be rolled but not very tightly. Something that size would probably be rolled no tighter than 30", probably even more. I regularly get polycarbonate delivered and when it's rolled, it's that size or larger.

    Seaming plex isn't all that hard, we used to do it quite often. You need a good quality carbide tipped rabbiting bit for your router. Mine (which I haven't really used in years) cost me about $100 but it has three carbide cutting edges. You take off just a hair more than 1/2 the thickness and overlap it. Then you can glue it or back it up with clear. The clear backer WILL show a slight shadow. You can probably do polycarbonate as well, though it doesn't route as cleanly. And I'd suggest doing tests on scrap pieces til you get the hang of it. One thing though, the edge will be kind of sharp and will not be a perfect hidden seam so might not be good if people are sitting on it. Maybe you can put it up high? There is also "impact modified acrylic" which is also a roll stock material and might be another option. BTW, polycarbonate will turn yellow over time. The newer stuff is supposed to not yellow, but it still does if only at a slower rate.

    I'd actually suggest hiding the plastic seam with some design or other. Moon craters, little green men, whatever you can get approval for. Putting vinyl over the seam will also keep any sharp edges protected.

    For the retainer, see if you can find a sheet metal shop to do a metal retainer. If you do metal work yourself, then you can use a metal shrinker/stretcher to make the retainer yourself. IDK if there is a harbor freight in Guam but they sell them. If you have access to someone with a CNC machine, that is really a better idea IMHO. Have them cut the face of the retainer out of .100 aluminum and you can weld the sides in place. However, IDK if you can assume that the frame is a perfect circle or not to get it to match correctly. Another method would be to glue on trimcap acrylic like a channel letter face but constant contact with the public will probably cause issues with long term durability.

    With led modules, we try to keep the leads less than 12' unless we can kick the wire size up. If you use #14 you can go to about 20' in length. I've actually gone to #10 wire but that was for a 50 foot run. I don't see why you couldn't put the power supplies inside the frame but don't really know all the details. Most channel letters are 5" deep or less so that shouldn't be an issue. Contact whichever LED mfr. you can use and I'm sure they will be glad to help with spacing, etc.

    Best of luck and please post some photos of the completed job.
     
  7. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,987
    819
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    Thanks for the breakdown.
    This is not really my project - the shop that is building the framing is a machine shop and the customer is theirs.
    He asked for some help on the lighted faces and we work together on a good deal of projects (he also has a small fleet of contact trucks that we wrap and maintain) so I said I'd see what could be done. No way to back out now.
    I don't think the seam will fly - I was thinking to put the translucent material behind the polycarb to protect it, if I can't get white translucent Lexan. I do have scrap plexi here and will see how good of a seam I can make.

    If it does work out I'll post some photos of the finished swing. If it doesn't, I'll post the smoking ruins of my reputation for all to see......
    Thanks again.
    (no Harbor Freight here - best we have is Home Depot)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. jimbug72

    jimbug72 Member

    366
    75
    28
    Oct 25, 2008
    South Carolina
    Well, I can't offer any helpful advice for what you should do here but after looking at the picture, I do have one question. Is "hotel" slang for prison in Guam?
     
  9. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,987
    819
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    Heh, that's the machine shop yard they are building the swing in.
    The owner built the whole shop himself including the building but it took a few years - he was running full time out of a rented building at the same time. Thieves kept jumping the wall (before the wire) taking anything not bolted down.
    Hard work is paying off - he is doing really well even with the virus crapping on us here.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Boudica

    Boudica Member

    378
    116
    43
    Dec 21, 2018
    Spokane, WA
    MC Spamsalot bumped this thread... So...... Sally, how's the project going, got any pics yet?
     
  11. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,987
    819
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    We are on hold for now. Awaiting some acrylic glue to show the customers what seamed plexi will look like.
    To keep busy we are putting a 6" lift on the same customer's F150.
    Good change of pace, but age can really put a hurt on old body parts. By the end of the day, my hands feel like they've been locked in a vice and shot-peened.
    I will post photos of something soon - swing - truck - hands....
     
  12. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

    3,496
    1,964
    113
    Dec 9, 2015
    buffalo ny
    Don't post any pics of your hands, that is what Jeffery Toobin tells people, "I just wanted you to see my hands".
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  13. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,987
    819
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    I remember Old Paint posting a photo of his hands (among other body parts). Reminded me of my grandfather's hands - a hard working guy that never retired.
     
  14. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

    2,338
    442
    83
    Oct 20, 2014
    Hattiesburg, MS
    This probably isn't feasible... But instead of poly carbonate or flexface material, what if you used some of that stretchy fabric, that is used at trade shows, had it sewn to shape where it can be fitted in minutes... You could probably have a couple made at the same price as using plastic & they could replace when dirty and wash it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  15. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

    2,338
    442
    83
    Oct 20, 2014
    Hattiesburg, MS
    upload_2020-10-28_18-45-47.png
     
  16. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    5,987
    819
    113
    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    This was offered as one of the options so is still on the table if they don't like the seam or the cost of bringing in the lexan.
     
  17. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

    3,496
    1,964
    113
    Dec 9, 2015
    buffalo ny
    Talking about OldPaint, I miss that guy>>>!>>>, his bathing suit was made from stretchy material, it's call Spandex!!!!!!!!
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  18. mfatty500

    mfatty500 Active Member

    795
    91
    28
    May 10, 2010
    Sugar Grove, Ill
    I thought they were called grape smugglers..
     
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...