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Who Is Using PVC, And...

Discussion in 'Dimensional Signs' started by dmfahie, Oct 7, 2013.

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  1. dmfahie

    dmfahie Member

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    I like the way the PVC looks on a sign. I also like how easy it is to CNC. I do have a few questions/concerns...1)Expansion/Contraction 2)Paint 3)Longevity 4)What brand (i.e. Sintra, Etc) 5)Mounting/Install. If anybody can touch base on some of these, good and or bad that would be great. Thanks in advance.PVC
     
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  2. GB2

    GB2 Very Active Member

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    You are right, PVC is a great product that does CNC very nicely. It does expand and contract probably more than any other material so you should keep that in mind when using it with dissimilar products. Painting is simple, it will easily accept any type of paint you wish to use, acrylic latex is perfect. PVC has an extremely long life, I have many PVC signs out there which are at least 10 years old and they look brand new. I don't concern myself with brand any more. It seems that every time I order PVC, my suppliers have a different brand so trying to be consistent is almost impossible. Once it is finished the brand doesn't matter. The only thing these days is that there is a differentiation between interior and exterior grade PVC, so just be sure you get the right grade. Mounting and installing is like any other product. You can use many different adhesives with it, as long as they are made specifically for PVC, and it accepts mechanical fasteners nicely too. If you are using mechanical fasteners, sometimes you might want to leave them slightly loose or use a little bit of a slotted hole to allow for the expansion and contraction. The only other drawback of PVC is that is has a tendency to bow a bit if it is unsupported, especially the thinner material. Some people will say that PVC becomes brittle in cold temperatures but I have never experienced that problem and I'm in the same weather conditions as you. After all, if it is good enough to build houses with these days (think Azek trim and decking) then it should be good enough to make a sign out of!
     
  3. Joe Diaz

    Joe Diaz Very Active Member

    What is odd is the stuff that contractors get as an alternative for wood is a higher density PVC than the stuff we get. The stuff those guys use are used outdoors with no issues that I've ever heard of. Some of the stuff you get from sign distributors aren't as dense. However we have had luck with it here in Illinois when we use the 1/2 inch or thicker PVC that has been painted with Acrylic. We get some pretty cold winters and pretty hot summers here. I've heard friends from the Texas Area complain about the stuff though. We tend to ovoid dark colors on the 1/2 inch thick stuff if we can, just to be safe. We worry more about the effects heat has on it. That being said our own sign has a black and charcoal painted PVC incorporated into it, and we have experienced zero issues to date. Our own sign has been our testing grounds for a lot of different products we wanted to keep an eye on. Better to test it on our own stuff, then a customer's.
     
  4. John Butto

    John Butto Very Active Member

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  5. dmfahie

    dmfahie Member

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    great stuff, thanks for your help.
     
  6. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    I've used a bit of it here in Florida. Just need to be careful with expansion using dark colors. Once you learn the many tricks, it will be a go to material of choice for dimensional work.
     
  7. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    I use the hell out of it but I must warn the denser the material the better, the "airy" stuff will warp.

    Grimco PVC is S**T, alumapanel PVC is S**T, but our local Farco carries the good stuff. Grimco call all the time now cause I dont order from them any longer.

    On Farco's invoice they are calling it White Celtic Expanded PVC Foam, that is all I know. Their stuff rocks you can feel the difference in the weight.The distributors seem to like to play the game of "Lets get cheap S**T, no one will ever know" and thats when you leave and go elsewhere.

    We prime with 2 part epoxy and spray or roll with latex, the stuff looks great and hold up
     
  8. dmfahie

    dmfahie Member

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    anybody shooting Matthews on the PVC? Also, are you pocketing the copy, etc or just mounting to face?
     
  9. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Both
     
  10. Using PVC

    This is a track which has great promise. We are half way completed on a 3'X8'X5" dimensional PVC signs. After routing the background with copy we're now into fabricating the depth portion of the sign. After considerable investigation we went with .75" materials. Our woodgrain carving was .30 deep which turned out better than using HDU. My only concern at this time is how clean it all looks. I'll probably need to do some acrylic texturing. Perhaps I should post a few photo's of the sign as it comes together. O, one important measure. Since this is a hollow box, it will need good ventilation fixtures. Joe
     
  11. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    Yes please, Joe.
     
  12. Richard G

    Richard G Member

    Joe, Pictures we want pictures.......
     
  13. synergy_jim

    synergy_jim Very Active Member

    We carve signs from both. HDU = twice the price, but worth every penny.

    FYI, we get much better results using 30lb HDU than the lighter stuff.

    In the end, its all in what the customer wants to pay for, but there is no comparison. HDU bests the PVC in every category.
     
  14. Using PVC

    Howdy guys, Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences with this material. I'm one of those guys who tests and tests so that's what's going on over here. I started out looking at adhesives. The main critieria is to have a glue that not only holds, it must also have a long working time which will allow for extended fabrication. Since I'm not combining different materials, all PVC, expansion and contraction is much of a concern. Second series of test has been on fillers to allow for gap filling and covering of bolts and screws. Sanding was also a concern we we've just about got that down. Our first 3d wood grain came out perfect. Sometimes perfect isn't too good. By that I mean it looks too clean so I'm having to back up and apply some uneven textures for that. On deep panels there needs to be some air escape lovers. I haven't found those yet but it's a must. Thanks to Jim's post about HDU. I've been making signs with that material from the start and it has real drawbacks. Too many to list and for that reason I'm trying to move away from it. The best we've found is Duna but they have poor distributorships. Fortunately N.Glantz stocks 1" PVC and delivers twice weekly. I'll try to post a photo or two tonight. Still, I hate, hate, hate the way I can't get paragraphs to work on this forum. This is the only forum I've seen with this issue. Joe Crumley
     
  15. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    I thought it was just me...I think their .040 aluminum is cheaper grade stuff too....
     
  16. synergy_jim

    synergy_jim Very Active Member




    what weight HDU are you using??? 30lb HDU outperforms PVC in every way. It also has great impact resistance.
     
  17. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    Interesting because I'm convinced that the "Celtec" from Alumapanel is actually "Celtic" they pick up at Farco when they come to town.

    Joe is right....the stuff they use to make custom windows and such it hard as a rock, nothing like the stuff we can get.
     
  18. Hdu vs pvc

    Jim, I don't want to start trouble but I think they both have their strong points. I love PVC for cutting letters. When the order is for white ones there's no comparison. Also you can throw a PVC letter across the shop, bounce off of two wall without breaking. Then too, small letters on a routed sign aren't likely to be damaged by our hail storms as HDU . And it love screws unlike HDU. Can't go too far out on this limb since we've been using Duna for the past five years and our experience with PVC is a little limited. For that reason I'll not say it's better in every way, but it's looking awful good. Lets see if I can post a couple of photo's this evening or tomorrow morning. Right now I'm working on getting this paragraph thing figured out on this forum. Don't even know if photo's will post correctly on this forum the way it's working now. It's Frustrating!
     
  19. cgsigns_jamie

    cgsigns_jamie Very Active Member

    The "denser" PVC is known as Type 1 PVC, or some call it Solid Sintra.

    Most plastic distributors carry it. Makes for a great low cost alternative to acrylic, and it machines beautifully.

    Because it's solid, not expanded like "normal" PVC, it's much more dimensionally stable. Works great for larger surface areas where warping would be a concern.
     
  20. Jamie,

    Thanks for explaining the density of these thicker materials. They certainly carve like a dream.

    I've been testing several adhesives and I think we've settled down on two of them. I'll be posting more as the 3'X8' panel comes together.

    Joe Crumley
     
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