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Polycarbonate sign face broken??

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Nick Nie, May 27, 2019.

  1. Nick Nie

    Nick Nie Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Hi All:

    We just had one project on going, this is a 5' by 12' sign cabinet, we will need to replace the sign face. i checked the sign face before i give the quote, it was polycarbonate 4.5mm,

    But the wired thing was that when we took it off and try to roll it up, it just broken to several pieces, just like acrylic. the rest of the parts we can not broke and have to cut by saw, i still believe this sign face is polycarbonate, anyway we will have to purchase a new sign face for this customer. is there anyone know the reason? or this is just a rare case? if this is not a rare case, i probably have to reconsider how i am going to transport ploycarbonate sign face in future.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    I have had two separate times where I saw cracks in new polycarbonate faces.

    I too, roll them up for transport but my suspicion is that something got under the faces as I was rolling them around that caused the crack. I'm not as rough with that stuff anymore.
  3. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    Are you sure it's polycarbonate? I have never seen polycarb shatter unless it was really old, yellowed and brittle.
  4. asd

    asd Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    it happened to me once with a small piece that a customer brought to us for re use. i guess the piece was too old and it snap in half. the piece was only 3'x8' we were loading on the truck flat and it just snap. i haven't have this problem with a new polycarbonate. may be after a few years on the sun it becomes brittle.
  5. Dan360

    Dan360 Member

    Dec 23, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    This happens when the poly is older and has gotten a lot of sun. We never roll or bend the faces (if possible) we're replacing because of this, and always tell the customer beforehand that it's possible for old faces to snap when removing and putting back in the frame. You can typically feel the stiffness of an older face.
  6. Mainframe

    Mainframe Very Active Member

    I got lucky early on in my sign career, I had a face change for a customer, new business, remove old and install new poly faces, I wanted to try to save the old ones when they came out for myself and no matter how hard I tried they both cracked! I got to learn a lesson early and free, since that job EVERYONE got a warning about faces breaking, from bulb change to graphics update, yes I have lost work over it but I never had to buy faces.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. John Miller

    John Miller Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    Branford, Connecticut
    I've had new polycarb shatter while being sawed, even thought we were using the proper blade. It's rare but it does happen. Re-using old polycarb faces doesn't make sense unless the face is only a few months old because of its tendency to yellow and leave a ghost when lettering is removed. Just tell the customer that by the time you remove the decoration and clean the face the smart money is on new material.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

    Apr 22, 2007
    Normal, Illinois
    Why not just get new faces? Old faces are dry and brittle, take time to clean, show ghost images of the old sign, and will require 2 trips to take down, bring to shop, and re-install.
  9. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    I just replaced a sign face that broke while being removed for bulb replacement. It had a crack in it for some time and as soon as it budged it snapped. Luckily I had just finished telling the customer that it was already cracked and stood a good chance of breaking no matter how gentle I tried to be. They were watching from inside their office and saw it break. Gave them a quote for replacement, got the job and they are very happy. Had they not been told beforehand that there was a chance of breakage and that I am not responsible for it if it goes I guarantee they would have demanded I replace it on my dime regardless of the fine print on quote. Now, dropping that sucker by accident to the pavement is another story........
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

    Jun 17, 2003
    Blaine, Mn
    Maybe SignGrade impact modified acrylic? Amazing stuff.

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