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Print on inside of extruded face

Discussion in 'Electric Signs & Channel Letters' started by jsmoritz2000, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. jsmoritz2000

    jsmoritz2000 Very Active Member

    We had a customer stop by today with a shallow extruded sign panel that had the graphic applied to the inside of the panel. How the manufacturer printed the graphic and applied it to the face has me completely stumped. The perimeter of the face appeared to be white polycarbonate or acrylic (or clear with white applied to the inside surface) and the graphic applied to the inside appeared to be a white print media. However, the graphic showing through the panel was very vivid and the appearance on the inside of the panel was somewhat muted but still very visible, so one would assume that the graphic had to printed on the adhesive side of the media. The only other way I could see to accomplish this would be to print in reverse on clear media, then apply a diffuser film over the top of that. But the fact that the edges of the face appear to be white has me scratching my head as well, because the panel would have to be clear for the graphic to show through the front.

    Has anyone seen anything like this, and if so how can this be accomplished? I've never seen anything quite like it before. Is it possible that the inside of the entire panel was printed directly onto the panel and was then formed after printing? Can that even be done? Whatever adhesive media was used on the inside of the panel was trimmed around the inside edges of the extrusion, so it could just be a layer of diffuser film over the print, but the white edges of the panel is what really has me confused. If a panel can even be printed and then heat formed after the fact, they would have had to print the background with white ink.

    I hope my description makes sense. I should have taken pictures to explain it better, but I didn't. Any insight into this manufacturing process would be very much appreciated.
     
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  2. davison

    davison New Member

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    Apr 25, 2012
    Knoxville
    Back years ago I worked for a large outdoor illuminated sign company, Plasti-Line, Most all of the faces were pre-screened on flat sheets of Lexan and than vacuum formed over molds. The faces were than sprayed with a backup white to defuse the light...might be something like that.
     
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  3. ams

    ams Premium Subscriber

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    Oct 28, 2010
    Virginia
    There are a few ways to do this. You can either use a routed polycarbonate and glue inside of the face (route it out mirrored). Some people use a block out vinyl, I know Avery has one. Again mirror it.
     
  4. jsmoritz2000

    jsmoritz2000 Very Active Member

    That's what it actually sounds like, only they used some sort of adhesive vinyl over the print on the inside. I'm guessing it's just a diffuser film, by the looks of it. Thanks for the info.
     
  5. jsmoritz2000

    jsmoritz2000 Very Active Member

    I just called the customer back to discuss the panels. The customer did manage to remove the graphic from the inside and my suspicions were correct. The extruded panel was sprayed white along the outer edges and is clear across the flat part. The manufacturer had applied a reverse printed graphic on clear vinyl and then a white diffuser film over the top of that. Interesting. As far as long term durability, I'd imagine this is a pretty exceptional method to use.
     
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