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halo lighting

Channel Letter Readability


Getting the Message Out on Glass

Number 220 | october 2013


Graphics ahoy!

Signs at Sea

> Crane Operation > Custom Awnings

Photography by Greg Gorman Š 2012

the epson surecolor s-series has arrived ®

Solvent printing has never been smarter, faster and more beautiful. The EPSON SureColor S-Series line of printers represents a step forward, combining performance, quality and reliability. Developed for high-performance printing and a low cost of ownership, this suite of solvent printers delivers print speeds that are the fastest in their class with image quality that’s simply amazing. And, with three unique 64" models to choose from, there’s an S-Series printer that’s right for your business. Learn more about the way solvent printing should be at

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*MSRP, before rebates. Please check with an EPSON Professional Imaging Authorized Reseller for actual price as dealer prices may vary. EPSON and SureColor are registered trademarks and EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark of Seiko Epson Corporation. All other product and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks. Copyright 2013 Epson America, Inc.

Powered by with

October 2013


66 28 34

A “Coarse” in Wall Wraps BY ASHLEY BRAY

A sign company is at the head of the class on wall wraps.

Messages on the Open Seas By JEFF WOOTEN

Decals and banners cross the Trans Pacific finish line.

40 48


Making Waves with Halo-Lit LEDs BY JEFF WOOTEN

Reverse-lit color-changing channel letters hit the open waters.

Maintain That Crane BY MIKE ANTONIAK

OSHA’S delay on operator certification doesn’t defer responsibility to ensure crane safety.

Sign Builder Illustrated (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 2161-4709) (USPS#0015-805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564) (Bluechip Int’l, Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Agreement # 41094515) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices. Pricing, Qualified individual working in the sign industry may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions printed or digital version: 1 year US $105.00; foreign $197.00; foreign, air mail $297.00. 2 years US $149.00; foreign $267.00; foreign, air mail $497.00. BOTH Print & Digital Versions: 1 year US $158.00; foreign $296.00; foreign, air mail $396.00. 2 years US $224.00; foreign $400.00; foreign, air mail $600.00. Single copies are $36.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. Copyright © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2013. All rights reserved. Contents may not be


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013


Covering Homes & Businesses BY JEFF WOOTEN

Two sometimes different, sometimes similar markets for your awning services.

62 66

Bold Concepts A design group finds a solution for lay-flat graphics.

Are You Wrap Experienced? BY LORI SHRIDHARE

Designing graphics for the Jimi Hendrix Tribute tour bus.


Painting Expanded PVC Panels BY JIM HINGST

The belief that you can’t paint expanded PVC is an urban legend.

reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher 212-620-7247 or For Subscriptions & Address Changes, please call (800) 895-4389, (402) 346-4740, Fax (402) 346-3670, e-mail or write to: Sign Builder Illustrated, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 1172, Skokie, IL 60076-8172. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 1172, Skokie, IL 60076-8172. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.


How-To Columns


OCTOBER 2013 OctOber 23-25: SGIA Expo 2013, featuring the industry’s most innovative imaging developments, heads to Orlando, Florida. (

Big Decals Keep on Rollin’



NOvember 1-2: The MSSA’s “New Ideas, New Possibilities” conference will be held at Harrah’s Convention Center in Tunica, Mississippi. (

Window of Opportunity: Sandblasting Glass

Departments 18 Big Decals Keep on Rollin’ BY MARK K. ROBERTS

Applying large-sized decals onto a tanker trailer.

22 Window of Opportunity BY JIM HINGST

Sandblasting glass transforms the plain pane into something not so plain.



While OSHA has delayed its crane certification deadline, safety should still be priority. Editor Jeff Wooten wonders if the 2014 Affordable Care Act will play a role too.



The latest news from around the industry.


Sign Show

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.


SBI Marketplace


Shop Talk

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade. HALO LIGHTING

Channel Letter Readability


Getting the Message Out on Glass




Jeff Wooten shines a light on more projects being produced by FASTSIGNS of St. Petersburg, Florida.



Signs at Sea

On the Cover

OC TOB ER 2013

> Crane Operation > Custom Awnings


Sean McGinn stands atop his winning decaldecorated Mini Transat in the recent Mini 650 Pacific Challenge. Photo: Event Photographer Pat Reynolds.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

NOvember 5-8: The automotive SEMA Show revs up at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (

DECEMBER 2013 December 5-7: USSC Sign World International is taking place at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (www.ussc. org/main_signworld.html)

FEBRUARY 2014 February 11-14: Digital Signage Expo is scheduled for the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. ( February 27-march 1: Graphics of the Americas (GOA) Expo & Conference will be conducted at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida. (


by jeff wooten

October 2013, Vol. 27, No. 220

Don’t Dance Around Safety

Sign Builder Illustrated (ISSN 0895-0555) print, (ISSN 2161-0709) digital is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation executive offices

President and Chairman Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Publisher Arthur J. sutley 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212/620-7247; fax: 212/633-1863

Is safety a higher priority for you?


his past April, we published a how-to column devoted to the installation of digital signage (“Installs on (Electronic) Display”), but unfortunately, the photo provided to us that we printed on Page 24 showed several egregious OSHA violations. For example, this “up-in-the-air” service equipment-related image clearly showed the lack of any hard hats being worn out at the job site, nor were there any visible safety harnesses. Reader Tom Powers Sr., owner of Powers Sign in Danville, Virginia, brought these concerns to our attention. “The crane operator is shown smoking a cigarette while standing above a gas can,” he wrote, “and there are two men on a ladder that most likely has a 300-pound maximum capacity.” I want to reinforce that Sign Builder Illustrated does not endorse any of the actions exhibited in this photo. I apologize for any confusion this image might’ve caused you in terms of appropriate service truck operation. Powers was surprised to come across another disregard for safety at the installation pictured above. Safety is something that every sign shop and sign installer should take seriously. “Invincibility” has no place in your vocabulary.You’re an installer, not a daredevil. There’s no need to channel your inner Evel Knievel or Human Fly (the red-attired-and-white-caped ’70s alter ego of stuntman Rick Rojatt). When it comes to safety concerns, installation is probably the most cited component of the sign production process. “Virginia has a 6.8 percent rate for sign installation on


editorial editor

Jeff Wooten

323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 252/355-5806; fax: 252/355-5690 associate editor

Ashley Bray

Workmans Comp Category 9554, and North Carolina has a 16.29 percent rate,” Powers told me. “Anything can go wrong. We just need to cut the chances.” For starters, I urge you to check out the IPAF’s recent report on aerial work platform accidents during the first half of 2013 at http:// for fascinating facts and figures. Meanwhile OSHA extended the deadline date of its compliance requirement for crane operator certification from 2014 to 2017. Although this is more than three years away, it stilll might be a good idea to consider it taking effect on its original timetable. Three additional years of safely using cranes can’t hurt. (Note: To see how crane safety still plays a role at your shop, turn to Mike Antoniak’s article “Maintain That Crane” on page 48.) One deadline that isn’t being delayed is the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). It seems everyone has an opinion on this topic, but it’s coming whether you want it or not. In fact, the marketplace for government health insurance plans for individuals opened this month. Later next year, businesses are going to have to offer insurance to full-time employees who don’t opt for this marketplace plan or risk fines. On our most recent monthly, unscientific poll conducted at, we asked how this Act would most affect your shop. While 30 percent responded “no effect” at all, another 40 percent indicated either “downsizing staff” or “hiring more part-time” instead. So will this law be affecting the way you manage your shop? Or is this more insurance to be even more careful in-shop of on-site?

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 401/722-5919; fax: 212/633-1863 contributing writers

Butch “superfrog” Anton, Mike Antoniak, Jim hingst, Peter Perszyk, Mark roberts, lori shridhare, randy Wright art

Corporate Art Director Wendy Williams production

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers circulation

Circulation Director Maureen Cooney advertising sales national sales director

Jeff sutley 212/620-7233; fax: 212/633-1863 west & midwest regional sales manager

Kim noa

212/620-7221; fax: 212/633-1863

For reprint information contact Arthur J. Sutley 55 Broad St, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212/620-7247; fax: 212/633-1863 Circulation Dept. 800/895-4389


The traffic signal box wraps feature local artwork or historical photos tied to the location, while the back of the boxes boast a "You Are Here" map to help tourists navigate the city.

Utility Box Wraps Fort Lauderdale, Florida—When the City of Fort Lauderdale was preparing to celebrate its Centennial back in 2011, Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Executive Director Chris Wren approached Chuck Black and Lynn Elsasser, co-owners of Image360-Fort Lauderdale (formerly Signs By Tomorrow), to brainstorm ideas on strategies for beautifying the aesthetics of existing traffic control boxes in the downtown area. The DDA previously 8

looked at ways to beautify these utility boxes and had worked with Broward County years prior on some painting ideas. "We told him we have material that could essentially wrap these boxes," says Black, noting that Wren was intrigued. "I suggested using historical photos from Fort Lauderdale as part of the City's 100th birthday celebration." Wren approached the Historical Society about donating old photographs of strate-

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

gic city locations from the ’20s through the ’50s for wrapping these utility boxes. They embraced the idea but wanted to select the photos to use themselves. Broward County Traffic Engineering, a division of Broward County Public Works Department, also had to be brought onboard for approval, since it owns, operates, and manages the traffic signal boxes. They were unsure how vinyl would stand up to the heat generated inside the utility

box though. The DDA agreed to a yearlong pilot project on one of the boxes, showing a photograph of that street corner from the '40s. “The County liked how it turned out, and the DDA contracted us to do another fifteen wraps,” says Black. Image360-Fort Lauderdale scans the photos into software and prints the graphics onto 3M™ Controltac™ IJ180-10 Graphic Film using an HP Designjet 9000 printer. After obtaining accurate measurements, their installers will clean off the traffic signal boxes with a power sprayer. “Then we’ll wipe it down with denatured alcohol and do a dry install,” says Black. Half the traffic signal box wraps feature historical photos, while local artist Joe Scott was commissioned to provide artwork for the remaining ones. The Museum of Art opted to use a William Glackens painting for the box near them, while the Utility Box Wraps Cont'd. on page 10

Orlando, Florida—Carbon Wraps recently completed an eye-catching vehicle wrap using a material that’s gaining in popularity—chrome vinyl. “The wrap took three weeks due to some revisions,” says Owner Steve Carney. “At first, the wrap was going to be chrome with a colored gradient; but after seeing the chrome in person, the client decided to hold off on the color and enjoy the chrome for now.” Carbon Wraps installed Avery Dennison’s Conformable Chrome Easy Apply RS™ vinyl, but this wasn’t j u s t a s t ra i g h t fo r wa r d w ra p . Bumpers, mirrors, and radio antenna had to be removed from the car, while the forty-eight-inch roll size eliminated the possibility of a seamless wrap. “Also chrome is sensitive to stretching, heat, and scratches. It’s an advanced skill level wrap,” explains Carney. To avoid damage to the vinyl, installers used knifeless tape. “Knifeless tape is very useful with chrome wraps because most chrome needs to be seamed and the knifeless tape will help make clean lines,” says Carney. Installers also used Avery wrap gloves; small, angled Yellotools; mini squeegees; and primer on the edges of the wrap. The end result was striking. “To see yourself and the mirror-like reflection of everything around you is pretty impressive,” says Carney.

Photo: garrett wade.

Photos: image360-fort lauderdale.

Chrome Car Wrap

"To get funding for these wraps, some cities classify these projects as art in public spaces,” says Chuck Black, coowner of Image360-Fort Lauderdale.

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Dispatches + ISA Appoints Digital Signage Advisory Alexandria, Virginia—The International Sign Association (ISA) has formed a Dynamic Digital Advisory Panel for guidance, as its members learn and expand their businesses into rapidly growing digital signage technologies. The panel includes experts in digital display, content, and delivery, as well as end-users. “It is clear that dynamic digital signage presents a tremendous opportunity for static sign companies to take many of the skills that they already have and transfer them to a new medium,” said ISA President and CEO Lori Anderson. “The Advisory Panel will provide insights to help ISA lead the traditional sign market into this new field and to fill any knowledge gaps that may exist. “Bringing together sign experts and digital network operators and integrators will help both sides see the business and partnership opportunities that exist as we work together.” ISA has been active in exploring opportunities for static sign companies in dynamic digital signage for several years. At ISA International Sign Expo 2013, ISA offered its first dynamic digital signage park (pictured above) and related presentation area. Most of the presentations were standing-room only. The International Sign Expo also included a well-attended track of educational sessions on various aspects of digital signage. The educational sessions

are currently available via ISA’s online learning system ( The Industry Advisory Task Force for Digital Signage includes: Alan Brawn, Brawn Consulting (past chair of the Digital Signage Federation and an expert on the digital signage industry); Jennifer Bolt, Chief Digital Officer of Billups World Wide; Steve Hargis, Director, Film &

Video, Bass Pro Shops (a retail end-user); David Keene, Executive Editor of the Systems Group, NewBay Media; Kim Sarubbi, President, CareMEDIA Holdings and Saddle Ranch Digital; Mike White, President and CEO of Multi-Media Solutions, Inc., (a digital designer/integrator providing digital signage solutions around the world); and George Yunis, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Consumer Engagement Strategies, Allure Global Solutions (a software development company specializing in point-ofsale and digital media). The panel will advise an existing ISA task force and board of directors on new programs and initiatives that can help member companies expand into dynamic digital signage.

Utility Box Wraps, Cont'd. from page 9 Performing Arts Center selected an old photograph of their facility for the box directly across the street from it. The wraps have been well received by City and County officials, residents, and tourists. In fact, the project is ongoing, with each box scheduled to be changed out every twelve to eighteen months. (The DDA is considering changing some of the graphics, so they don’t get stale.) Image360-Fort Lauderdale is also wrap-


ping traffic signal boxes in three other cities—two in Broward County and one in Dade County—with proposals out for two more. For Black, not only has this brought publicity to his sign company, but it's allowed him to give back to the community. “It’s more about being able to dress up the city, while at the same time, promoting art in public spaces,” he says.

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013


SELECTION & RESULTS. Rowmark is the leading manufacturer of ADA compliant and tactile sign materials.

Visit now to see our collection for yourself. Rowmark products deliver quality, selection, user-friendly fabrication and customer satisfaction.

| 877.rowmark

SignSHOW CHANNEL LETTERS A Sign Industry First from! is announcing a sign industry first: a three-year labor warranty on all lighting and electrical for channel letters purchased from them. If you have to service the electrical of the sign, the company will write you a check to cover your time. is a national wholesale sign manufacturer with over twenty years of sign experience manufacturing channel letters. They are dedicated to giving their customers the best price and are ready to ship in just five to seven business days! 855/945-7446;

D I G I TA L P R I N T I N G E Q U I PM E N T/ S U P P L I E S A New DaVinci Masterpiece: Cleaning Supplies Designed for the Printing Industry DaVinci Technologies has released a new line of cleaning and printer maintenance supplies. These new products include: print head wipes, print head swabs, gloves, cleaning solutions, industrial wipes, and more. Print head wipes and print head swabs are two products from the new line that were custom-made with the attention to detail required for cleaning print heads. Print head wipes are polyester-knit, lint-free, absorbent, durable, and clean-roomlaundered to deliver the best results. Print head swabs have foam tips, which are thermally welded to the shaft to ensure durability and quality. Using these products regularly can help improve the quality of prints and extend the life of the printer. 860/265-3388;

Floyd & Associates’ Affordable Flatbed Printer is Quite a MesaVue Floyd & Associates announces its new hi-resolution, hi-speed, and extremely affordable four-by-eight-foot UV flatbed printer: the MesaVue FA9648-FB. The MesaVue features hi-resolution Konica CMYK printheads, plus a high-opacity white printhead with built-in recirculation pump. This standard five-head configuration produces outstanding resolution and consistent white ink coverage. For those extremely demanding print applications, there is an optional seven-head configuration available, which includes an additional Light Cyan and Light Magenta printhead. Printing and RIP software is included with the machine and is extremely reliable as well as user friendly.

Graphics One Announces the GO e-UV Ink and UV System Graphics One, LLC has launched a new hybrid UV ink and curing system, which upgrades any new or used eco-solvent printer into a hybrid UV printing system. The system is based on GO’s new e-UV ink (a combination UV ink and eco-carrier solution that marries the best of both technologies for either existing or new eco-solvent printers using EPSON printheads). Offering superior color quality, high gloss, adhesion up to one hundred times better than traditional eco ink, and outstanding scratch resistance, GO’s e-UV ink is instantly dry and can be used immediately after the image is printed and cured. The e-UV system also has a small carbon footprint and does not use nickel in its yellow ink, making it an environmentally friendly product. Curing the UV ink is simple with GO’s roll-up UV curing lamp. The UV LampBar includes an e-UV lamp, which consumes very little energy and lasts up to 10,000 hours (or the life of most eco printers). 877/472-7471;

The Newest Member of Mimaki’s JV400 Family Features Solvent-UV Curable Inks The revolutionary JV400SUV solvent UV inkjet printer from Mimaki USA utilizes a unique new ink that combines the flexibility of solvent with the durability of UV cure ink. The JV400-130/160SUV prints in four colors (CMYK) at speeds of up to 193 square feet per hour (18 square meters) in draft mode. During the printing process, the solvent compound is absorbed into the inkreceiving layer of the media, and the pigment is settled onto the media. The printed ink is then cured with a special UV light process that results in a smooth, beautiful, high-gloss finish that simulates coating while maintaining the bright colors of solvent print. UV curing also results in strong resistance to scratching and is weatherproof. Once finished, the prints are completely dry and ready for post processing. No outgas time is needed before lamination. The JV400SUV is bundled with exclusive RasterLink6 RIP software, which easily converts special colors to Pantone colors and CMYK color matching to ensure color integrity. The JV400SUV and RasterLink6 will be showcased at SGIA Expo in Orlando October 23-25.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

LED MODULES/TUBES/STRIPS Outwater’s New LED Lighting Systems for Exhibits & Displays The highly refined, easy-to-use 12 Volt Omni Wand T2 LED and Omni Spot Vertical Lighting Systems from Outwater Plastics Industries, Inc., comprise aesthetically stunning, super-slim profile aluminum LED lighting fixtures and movable LED spotlights. When utilized in conjunction with the systems’ array of complementary, modular component fittings and accessories, they provide exhibit and display designers and producers with the flexibility and freedom to readily create and install fully customized, adjustable, seamless linear LED lighting configurations to accommodate a host of lighting requirements without exposing any incongruous fixtures or unsightly wiring. Omni Wand T2 and Omni Spot Vertical LED Lighting Systems produce high lumen output (up to 540 lumens per foot) and color rendering indexes (up to 80 CRI) to ensure that your exhibits, displays, showcases, and shelving always look their best. 800/631-8375;

P-O-P Make a Statement with Tex Visions’ Advertising Tents Tex Visions introduces new Advertising Tents. These commercial-grade tents are made for long-term use and are available in the following sizes: 10-by-10 feet, 10-by-15 feet, and 10-by-20 feet (with options for customization). The frame consists of a premium truss configuration to keep the canopy secure while the telescopic legs use their hexagon-shape to maintain stability. With six-and-a-half feet of above-ground space for walking or standing, the Advertising Tent will command attention with a peak that reaches a maximum height of ten-and-a-half feet. For the canopy and walls, the options offered are full imprints, area imprints, and no imprints. Additional accessories available are Steel Weight Plates for added support in windy conditions and a Trolley with Wheels for easy transportation.

Premask. Perfected. TransferRite® AirMask® is the solution for partial wraps and cut graphics made with air egress vinyl.

Find the full story on page 62!

And be sure to come see live AirMask® demos at SGIA in booth #2073.

Conventional premask will not lay flat on exposed air egress liners

For more information, visit TransferRite is manufactured under the ISO 9001:2008 standard by American Biltrite Inc. 105 Whittendale Drive Moorestown, NJ 08057 Phone: 856-778-0708

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


SignSHOW POWER SUPPLIES/TRANSFORMERS Keystone Technologies: Revolutionary Replacement Sign Ballasts Promising to “transform the replacement sign industry,” Keystone Technologies announces the expansion of its offering of sign ballasts with its new SmartWire Electronic Sign Ballasts. Employing state-of-the-art design, Keystone’s SmartWire Electronic Sign Ballasts deliver all the advantages of electronic ballast technology, while still maintaining the familiar wiring pattern of standard magnetic sign ballasts. SmartWire Electronic Sign Ballasts wire in series (identical to magnetic sign ballasts), but are up to 50 percent lighter and deliver up to 15 percent energy savings. This provides seamless compatibility and easy installation for end-users. Additionally the entire product offering contains only five SKUs that support both T12HO & T8HO lamps, allowing customers to drastically reduce their stocking inventory.

ROUTERS/ENGR AVERS Cutting Made Easier with American Biltrite’s LaserRite™ Duo LaserRite™ Duo protective films is the newest addition to Americal Biltrite, Inc.’s LaserRite family of products. LaserRite Duo was developed to meet the high-speed requirements of the latest fiber laser machines and to be used on traditional CO2 lasers. LaserRite Duo allows for one-pass cutting without vaporization and has been “Field Tested and Proven Tough” even under the highest nitrogen pressures with no blow-up. The result is clean-cut edges during even the fastest cutting speeds. LaserRite products are also available in all-white film construction for traditional CO2 lasers in both a blue and green color print. The two different print colors allow for quick and easy identification of different series of stainless steel and leave no black traces behind. 856/778-0700;


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

ITS_ViewStation_spray paint_7x4.125_Layout 1 3/9/12 9:50 AM Page 1

it’s guaranteed to deface your display. we guarantee it won’t. When you make the leap to digital signage, you need to protect your investment. With over 27 years of experience, ViewStation from ITSENCLOSURES is guaranteed to protect your displays from rain, snow, extreme heat, frigid temperatures, theft and even the teenage vandal. From stadium to transportation terminal to drive-thru, ViewStation offers customized solutions for any display – large or small, inside or out. And each unit is installed by trained experts, made in the USA and comes with unparalleled customer support. To learn more, call 1.800.423.9911 or to view our entire online gallery of products, visit


We Have the KEY to Printing Magnets Printable Flexible Magnet Solutions • DigiMag® VINYL - Solvent, Eco-Solvent, UV and Latex Inkjet Printers • DigiMag® PAPER - Water-based Inkjet Printers • MuscleMag® - Thin High Energy Magnetic Media for Digital* and Inkjet printers • RubberSteel® - Flexible Magnet Receptive Material It’s Easy To Print Magnets™ No matter what type of printing you do, Magnum Magnetics has a magnetic solution for you. Magnum Magnetics offers printable magnetic media for offset, flexo, digital, and wide format equipment. We offer all of our printable magnet products magnetized prior to printing or un-magnetized for magnetizing post-printing. *Non-Magnetized (Use our post-production magnetizers)


October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


SignSHOW LaserBits: Black Granite Tiles & Stainless Steel License Plate Frames LaserBits has announced that Black Granite Tiles (pictured) are now available in a wide variety of popular shapes and sizes. These Black Granite Tiles are an extremely cost-effective replacement for Marble Tiles and provide more consistent results when laser-engraved. The fine grain and black finish of the Granite Tiles is ideal for photos and memorial gifts creating wonderful remembrances. Also available from LaserBits is a Stainless Steel License Plate Frame that fits a standard license plate. The engraveable area (measuring 12-by-1 inches) is located at the bottom of the frame. Excellent for engraving a custom message or even specialty advertising, these frames add style to any vehicle. The License Plate Frame is impervious to rust and, with the use of a CerMark Metal Marking Solution, engraves a dark-black color for striking contrast.

Improved Performance for Rowmark’s LaserLIGHTS Sheet Products Based on recent product quality testing results, Rowmark has announced an extended shelf life and improved adhesive for all LaserLIGHTS sheet products, as well as UL 969 certification for Rowmark's LaserLIGHTS Black/White product. The shelf life of all Rowmark's LaserLIGHTS products has been extended to a minimum of five years prior to application, when stored at a maximum of 70°F (21°C) in 50 percent relative humidity and out of direct sunlight. Once applied, the LaserLIGHTS adhesive backing can also be expected to perform well in "normal" applications for approximately ten to twenty years. UL 969 pertains to safety for Marking and Labeling Systems under the "UL Materials" category, Category Code Number (CCN) PGGU2. Rowmark's LaserLIGHTS Black/White product passed a series of strict UL quality tests specifically designed for marking and labeling products (including a construction examination, permanency tests, and environmental conditioning).

S E R V I C E T R U C K S / C R A N E S / E Q U I P. CraneMate Aerial Platform Offers Greater Mobility and Working Range in Smaller, Tight Places Intended for use with some smaller boom trucks and aerial cranes, the CraneMate 5x500 aerial work platform from Reach-All LLC is a lighter, more compact unit than previous models (measuring five feet long with a five hundred-pound capacity). The new platform also greatly reduces costly repairs and down-time due to its modular design. If the platform becomes damaged, the repair involves a simple swap-out of the component—no custom welding or recertification of the repairs. Standard features include: Hydraulic-powered auto leveling (providing safety for personnel and stability of payloads); 180-degree full platform rotation (with proportional controls enabling excellent positioning of the platform to work areas and preventing workers from bunching up at one corner of the platform and stretching unsafely to those hard-to-reach areas); and the “Stow and Go” feature (allowing the platform to be attached to the crane tip for safe road travel). 941/256-4165;

VEHICLE GRAPHICS New 3M™ Wrap Film Series 1080 Matte Metallics Give Customers More Choices Than Ever 3M™ Wrap Film Series 1080 from 3M Commercial Graphics just keeps getting better, with five new colors to help users make their vehicles anything but ordinary. The new colors are: Matte Red Metallic 1080-M203; Matte Pine Green Metallic 1080M206; Matte Charcoal Metallic 1080-M211; Matte Brown Metallic 1080-M209; and Matte Copper Metallic 1080-M229. Film series 1080 is now offered in a total of fifty finish, texture, and color variations, empowering customers to achieve distinctive looks and maximize their creativity. The film is ready for wrapping right out of the box, with no need for printing or an overlaminate. Installers know about its great handling and installation features (including slideability, repositionability, and virtually no air bubbles). The dual cast film has just the right amount of rigidity without using an application tape, and its sixtyinch-wide rolls mean entire sections can be covered without seams.

WAY F I N D I N G / I D E N T I T Y S I G N A G E Gemini Releases Its New Expanded Plaque Catalog The expanded fifty-two-page Plaques, Markers and Etchings price list is Gemini Inc.’s most comprehensive plaque catalog to date with prices effective through May 2014. The manufacturer does announce a key pricing change in this year’s publication with the reduction of prices on all non-standard circular plaques, making these popular options more accessible. The new catalog also features more photos and installation illustrations than ever before and includes an expanded section on decorative stand-offs. A new development in plaque and wayfinding signage for 2013 that is featured includes new 3030 Green Acrylic available in gauges ranging from 1/4-inch to 3/4-inch in sheets with dimensions up to 4-by-8 feet. With a smooth, glass-like appearance, this new product is laser engraveable, making it an outstanding choice for wayfinding and identification applications.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

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By Mark k. rOBerts


Big Decals Keep on Rollin’

Applying large-sized decals onto a tanker trailer.


s I begin my thirty-fifth year in the sign business, the projects seem to grow larger and more exciting. For example, this month’s assignment involved installing two large decals for REV LNG (a national gas company) to both sides of a new compressed natural gas (CNG) trailer for one their tanker trucks. Now this project was right up my alley. During my career, I’ve applied graphics to numerous box trucks, eighteen-wheelers, RVs, trailers, and yes, tanker trucks. I’ve always enjoyed lettering large trucks for the challenges that come with these jobs—as well as taking the photos of the final results of my hard labor. The ratio of large truck graphics that come into our shop is about 30 percent client art input and 70 percent install-only. This job would involve the latter. When working on trailers and trucks, the first thing to keep in mind is that the preparation

time for applying graphics to them is very important to ensure a successful installation. Make sure every inch of the truck or trailer has been degreased, power-washed, and wiped thoroughly dry, before placing your graphics anywhere near the truck or trailer. I already liked this job because the truck was squeaky-clean when it arrived at my shop. It only needed a quick rubdown with a few watersoaked rags. Now if the truck had been dirty, I would’ve had to wash it with a long-handled scrub brush, apply some Comet® cleanser, and perhaps add some mineral spirits to remove the oily grime. Then I’d have had to give the entire one more pass with soap and water. After giving it a bath and toweling it off, it was time to center the decals. We printed the decals onto 3M™ ControlTac™ material and then outsourced them to be laminated by an out-of-state third party that quickly

The completed CNG tanker truck.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Adhering one of the two REV LNG decals to the CNG trailer.

Working the decal down over the welded seams.

returned them to us. After the alignment was checked, double-checked, and triple-checked once more, we were ready to place these decals onto the truck, so it could head off and promote the new brand of compressed gas. My preferred method of installation for a project of this type is the horizontal hinge method, which uses three strong bands of duct tape. This technique involves applying a long piece of tape across the top of the graphics in order to create a hinge and then removing the small pieces of tape at both ends. We started at the tape hinge in the middle of the decal. The upper half of the decal was pulled down to the tape hinge and the backing paper was cut ever so carefully to ensure that the decal would remain in one piece. (Note: I would hate to have to explain to a customer that I’d accidentally cut one of their decals in half!) Using a felt squeegee in one hand and holding the large decal in the other, I began applying the decal from the middle to the top. I did this in increments of sixteen inches at a time. Working right to left on my ladder 20

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

scaffold, I carefully applied the upper part of the decal. A couple of vents and obstructions were in my path as I worked down the tank; however, a few cuts with the XACTO® knife did the trick of taking care of these potential problems. Laying the bottom half of the decal wasn’t as tedious, due to fewer obstructions on the tank. Not letting my guard down, I still carefully applied the decal with care, accuracy, and patience. There are numerous opportunities for creating vehicle graphics for our customers. Ask them if they have any large vehicles and trailers. If they do, you’ll be ready to show them the finished pieces in your portfolio. Then all that’s left to do is schedule the installation appointment and pick up the deposit check. Mark Roberts is a thirty-five-year sign industry veteran, sign seminar instructor, and magazine columnist. If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, please email Mark at

Gently working a few bubbles to the edge of the 3M™ ControlTac™ vinyl.

The left side of the completed CNG trailer.

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated



By Jim Hingst


Window of Opportunity: Sandblasting Glass

Transforming the plain pane into something not

investment in sandblasting equipment can generate an additional revenue stream—one complementing your current portfolio of signage products and services. While you can certainly sell directly to the downstream customer, also consider marketing your services through alliances with construction companies, architects, and interior designers.

SandblaSting EquipmEnt If you decide to sandblast the glass blank yourself, you’re going to need some basic equipment. Always buy a blasting cabinet with good lighting and a vacuum system for dust collection. The purpose of the cabinet is to contain the majority of the dust from the blasting process, as well as collect the spent abrasive at the bottom of the enclosure. Then the abrasive can be used over and over again, and the dust is expelled by a reclamation system. A pressure blaster mixes compressed air with the abrasive medium and blows the abrasive out a nozzle.

Photo: ron jelinek.

so plain.


andblasting is a simple and inexpensive way to transform a clear piece of glass into a beautiful and elegant artistic creation. One can decorate windows and glass doors, sidelights, decorative booth divider panels, and even drinkware. Once you’ve applied a stencil onto the glass, the sandblasting process is relatively simple. Under air pressure, a sandblaster directs a stream of hard abrasive material at the glass, lightly chipping the surface and creating a frosted appearance. Using overlapping strokes (similar to spray painting), the tiny particles of abrasive collide with the surface of the panel and chip off little pieces of glass. In its finished form, the panel looks as if it has been etched. If the sandblaster is directed in one place for a while, you can actually carve into the glass, creating a three-dimensional sculpted image in its surface. This type of sandblasting is called “sandcarving” or “staged carving” (referring to the technique of using multiple staged maskings). For the enterprising sign maker, a minimal


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Of course, the blaster won’t work without compressed air, so you’ll need to have a compressor. In addition to the air requirements of the blaster, you must consider two critical factors: volume (measured in cubic feet per minute or cfm) and pressure (measured in pounds per square foot or psi). For etching and carving glass, you’ll typically need a compressor that can deliver 5- to 10-cfm at 30-psi. Frugality does not pay off here. Always buy a compressor that exceeds equipment requirements by 25 to 30 percent. “Don’t skimp on the compressor,” agrees Cincinnati-based glass artist Linda Roederer. “It’s really exasperating to wait on air, when you’re working on a larger piece.” In selecting the compressor, picking an underpowered compressor can result in two problems: (A.) You may not reach the blast pressure required, and (B.) You overwork the compressor, and it prema-

Photo: calibrated surfaces.

These four glass panels measure 48-by-96 inches in total and feature a fourinch border that’s cut in deep with frosted letters.

turely fails. (Note: Also consider all of the different possible uses for this equipment other than sandblasting, such as spray painting.) For a standard pressure blaster, you’ll generally need a compressor with an output of at least 5-cfm at 30-psi. If you buy a cheaper siphon blaster, be aware you’ll need a compressor with a higher capacity (a 10-hp compressor with an output of 38-cfm at 40-psi). So what you save in the cost of the blaster will likely be offset by a more costly investment in a compressor. “If you plan to do any deep carving, you really need a pressure blaster,” says Roederer. “With a siphon, the best you can do is frost the surface of the glass.” Buy a system with a pressure pot blaster. Both a siphon blaster and a pressure pot blaster need pressurized air to operate. Compared to a pressure pot blaster, the air requirement for a siphon blaster

is significantly greater in terms of cubic feet per minute. And because the nozzles used with a siphon blaster system have orifices twice as large, they require twice the air pressure. You’ll also need a good filtering system, so the air supplied to the blaster is clean and dry. Moisture in your air (especially when weather is humid or during the rainy season) will cause the dust to clog filters. Roederer recommends having moisture separators at the tank and at the pressure pot. “The moisture separators keep your abrasive dry,” she says, “so you’re not blasting with something that has the consistency of oatmeal.” How you equip your shop will depend on which market segments and applications you intend to pursue. For smaller signage, a blast cabinet will suffice. If you intend to work on large glass projects though, you’re going to need a bigger cabinet. “Many of

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

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our commercial projects are on a grand scale,” says Cliff Leasure of Calibrated Surfaces in Chesterton, Indiana, “so we build a makeshift blasting room.” When working on projects of a larger scale, Roederer says that blasting cabinets can limit your ability to see what you’re doing. “With a blasting cabinet, you’re working at arms length from your work,” she says, noting that she likes to work with plenty of light. “I get up close to my work. That way, if I’m carving, I can see how deep I’m going and not break the glass.”

pieces. But because it’s less aggressive, it’ll take you longer to etch a piece (lowering your productivity). Two types of aluminum oxide are available: brown and white. Brown aluminum oxide is contaminated with iron, while white is not. (Note: White is is also filtered more.) So while brown abrasive is priced cheaper, be aware that the iron in it could potentially stain your piece. White abrasive causes no staining and is less dusty, but

it’s also more expensive. Silicon carbide has no silica in its dust, produces very little static, and can be reused. However it’s the most expensive abrasive available, though its higher cost is offset since it can be reused almost 60 to 100 times. It’s slightly harder than aluminum oxide, so it will easily cut through the glass faster. While this means you can speed up your productivity, you have less room for error.

prEparing thE StEncil You don’t need a heavy-duty rubber sandblast mask for etching the surface of glass. Instead you can use a calendered vinyl masking film. The type of masking that you should use will depend on a variety of factors—type of abrasive, grit size, and blast pressure. (Note: I’ve used paint mask film for etching the surface of glass prior to applying animal hide glue when making glue-chipped panels. For these applications, RTape’s ProGrade™ works fine with sandblast medium in a 100- to 180grit size at a blast pressure below 40-psi; but if you’re going to be sand-carving at high pressures, use a sandblast mask such as Hartco’s S310 or S425.)

SElEcting abraSivES For etching the surface of the glass prior to glue chipping, there are a variety of different abrasives on the market. Silica sand is typically much coarser than you’ll need and isn’t suited for glass blasting jobs. Also its grit size isn’t very consistent and can vary within a batch. But more importantly, breathing silica sand dust can cause silicosis (a very dangerous and debilitating lung disease). The two abrasives commonly used here are aluminum oxide and silicon carbide. Whichever abrasive you use is a matter of personal preference.) Aluminum oxide is a very hard medium and etches glass quickly, but it can generate a lot of static, which can give you a little shock. The static charge can also make the dust cling to the back of your glass panel, making it difficult to see what you’re doing. Aluminum oxide is also a less-aggressive abrasive, so it’s more forgiving—polite talk for saying that you’ll screw up fewer

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Sandblasting can be used to elegantly decorate glass, windows, doors, and many more items.

sandblast etching Variables choosing grit size The grit number indicates the size of the abrasive particle. As the grit number becomes lower, the size of the abrasive particle becomes larger. As the grit number increases, the size of the abrasive particle decreases. For example, an abrasive with a 100grit size is coarser than a 160-grit abrasive. (Note: Using a coarser grit will produce a

coarser finish on the surface of the glass.) “For etching the surface of glass, all that you need to do is to lightly blast the surface with a fine grit,” says Leasure, noting that 100- to 180-grit works for him.

cutting the sandblast Mask If you’re plotter-cutting the stencil after you cut and weed the paint mask, be sure to laminate an application tape

When blasting onto glass, you’ll need to concern yourself with: (A.) The distance between the nozzle and the surface of the glass; the size of the nozzle orifice; (B.) the blasting pressure; and (C.) the time or duration that you’re blasting. Simple, isn’t it? Of course, if you change one of these variables, you can compensate by altering another variable. For example, the nozzle typically should be held at a distance from the

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Photo: ron jelinek.

to it and then apply the stencil over the glass panel. If you’re hand-cutting the masking, apply the masking to your glass panel and then transfer your design to the sandblast mask or paint mask. You can either pounce the design or trace it onto the masking using Saral Transfer Paper. (Note: Saral paper is similar to carbon paper but comes in several different colors.) Using a #11 blade in your X-ACTO® knife, cut the mask and weed those areas that will be sandblasted and subsequently glue-chipped.

glass of ten to twelve inches; if you’re blasting at a closer distance, lower the blasting pressure. “Before working on a project, always test your system and air pressure on scrap glass that you can pick up inexpensively at a dollar store or resale shop,” advises Chicago Brushmaster Ron Jelinek. Another variable is the angle of the nozzle to the plane of the glass. Generally you’ll want to hold the nozzle at a 90-degree angle or perpendicular to the surface of the glass. But if you’re adventurous and try glass carving, you can cut the glass at various angles to create special visual effects. Whether you’re etching or carving, Jelinek cautions to always pay attention to what you’re doing. “If you blast too close, too hard, or too long, you can actually burn or melt the stencil and ruin a piece of glass,” he says. The pressures required to etch glass can vary, depending on the type of glass you’re using. When sandblast-etching crystal (a softer glass), typical blast pressures range between 20- and 30-psi. Float glass (for glue chip projects) is harder and requires higher blast pressures. According to Roederer, frosting a large piece of glass can require as much as 80-psi. “Take your time when blasting so you frost the piece evenly,” she advises, “and carefully inspect the job when you’re finished working.” When engraving glass, Jelinek keeps blasting pressures as low as possible. Excessive blasting pressures can prematurely wear out the blast hose, nozzle, and other system components. Nothing lasts forever, and nozzles will eventually wear out. So regularly check the size of the orifice on the tip of the nozzle. “Eventually the threads on the coupler start to wear,” says Jelinek. “When that happens, air starts leaking through the threads. As the nozzle wears, the orifice enlarges. When the orifice becomes larger, the required volume of air increases, putting a greater burden on the compressor. And with the larger orifice, more abrasive abrades the stencil mask, which can cause the mask to break down faster. “As soon as [the nozzle] starts to fail, replace it,” says Jelinek. “If you don’t, the nozzle could shoot off the end of the blaster and shatter the glass.”


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October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013


Wall Wraps

A “Coarse” in

A sign company is at the head of the class on wall wraps.


hanks to advances in vinyl film and adhesives, nearly any wall surface is a possible canvas for vinyl wraps. And it doesn’t matter if the wall is indoors or out, as PrintWorks Group ( proved on a recent job for Valparaiso University.

Founded in 2000 as a filmhouse for a printer, the company has been using its HP 5000 printer to branch out into outputting more large format jobs for customers—everything from design to branding to printing to wrapping. PrintWorks Group has worked frequently with Valparaiso University over the years on banners and other graphics. Originally the school approached the company about a paint job. “They wanted us to make a stencil or a decal so the painters could come and paint the cement block,” says Eric Verbich, prepress and large format technician for PrintWorks Group. Instead PrintWorks Group pointed out the flaws in painting the surface (including inconsistency in texture and coverage) and told them about MACtac’s IMAGIN® RoughRAP™ material, which could be applied to the wall in place of paint. The university saw a sample, liked it, and decided to opt for the wall wrap instead. Valparaiso officials provided PrintWorks Group with two different logos—one that would be installed on a brick column and another that would be applied to split-face cement block in a softball dugout. PrintWorks Group received the logos on white backgrounds, so they asked the college if they wanted the logos cut out or printed with the background. The college opted for the cut-out logo. “That was actually the first time we ever did a cut out of a logo for anybody,” says Verbich.

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


All Photos: Printworks grouP.

Course 101: Design

PrintWorks Group output the logos onto the RoughRAP material using its HP 9000 solvent/eco-solvent printer and HP-recommended Seiko inks. It then laminated the graphics on a SEAL laminator with a high-gloss laminate. “Some customers like matte lam, but when a graphic is [going to be placed] outside like that, I recommend that they use a gloss instead,” explains Verbich, “because it looks like a highgloss paint and seems to reflect the sun a little better.” The logos were each designed and printed as two pieces— with each logo divided vertically in half. To cut out the graphics, PrintWorks Group created a cut path in Adobe® Illustrator®. Then using FineCut software, the shop cut out the logo pieces on its Mimaki GC series cutter.

Course 102: Prep Before on-site installation could begin, PrintWorks Group had to make sure the wall surfaces were cleaned and prepped. “On the rougher brick, all we could do was take a stiff hand broom and sweep it off,” says Verbich. “ But the [cement block of the] dugout was kind of dusty, because it looked like they had just mowed around it. “So we just wet a rag with Rapid Prep and wiped the painted block with it to remove any silicone or any oils. Since it was in direct sunlight, it dried real quick.”

Course 103: Install With the surfaces prepped and ready, installation began. One of the first challenges PrintWorks Group ran into was the lack of a pre-mask. “When you cut out letters, they tend to put a pre-mask on there,” says Verbich. “There was no way to put a pre-mask on here, because a pre-mask doesn’t stretch at the same rate as the vinyl. “So we [took it slow] and peeled back the paper backer a lit-

PrintWorks Group used a combination of heat and rollers to ensure the vinyl properly adhered to the rough surface.

The logos were printed as two vertical halves. PrintWorks Group attached the left side and then lined up the right side before completely adhering the graphics into the surface. 30

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

tle bit at a time and loosely tacked it like [the manufacturers] recommend.” The windy day also posed some difficult challenges, but PrintWorks Group ultimately was able to get the graphics onto the walls. They applied the left side of each two-piece logo first and then attached and lined up the right side to the left. “When we loosely tacked the left side, we didn’t melt it into the brick at any point until we came and attached the right side so as not to distort the graphic,” says Verbich. “It was really no more difficult to line up than a typical wall mural on a painted wall. We were very surprised how well it went.” When both sides were lined up, PrintWorks Group went back over the graphics with heat and rollers and popped any

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air bubbles. “We went over every square inch to make sure it adhered properly,” says Verbich. “We used the 3M™ roller with the heat gun where you make the initial setting. Then we went back over it with a pie-shaped roller and another hand roller.” The dugout logo on the painted split-face cement block took a little over an hour to apply. The logo on the brick column took about two-and-a-half hours to install, because it was larger and required a little more work to ensure the vinyl adhered to the rough, textured surface. (Note: The RoughRAP vinyl has a durability of eighteen months outdoors, but Verbich says that time depends greatly on the weather conditions and how much sun exposure the graphics receive.)

Master’s Course: The Final Product When the installation was finished, the wraps mimicked the appearance of a paint job. “It was actually a very rewarding process to see it stick to that brick and that cement block as well as it did,” says Verbich. “We showed it to people, and they thought it was painted.” In general, Verbich has seen more and more clients gravitate toward wall, windows, and floor wraps as a unique way to brand their businesses or to get a message across. “We’ve noticed a lot more customers wanting to do different things,” he says. “So we’re seeing a lot more floor graphics and a lot more wall murals. “We’re also seeing an increase in the different types of wall surfaces that we’re putting graphics on.”

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Photo: mutoh.

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premium educational program. Educational tracks will be conducted by industry experts October 23 and 24 and include topics like: “Strategies & Opportunities in Wide Format Inkjet,” “Digital Decoration of Dimensional Objects,” “Pricing the Print,” and “How to Send Customers to Your Competition and How to Get Them Back,” among others. Meanwhile Golden Image, Product of the Year, and ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Competition winners will be on display as well. Exhibit floor show hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday (October 23) and Thursday (October 24) and 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday (October 25) For more information or to register for this event, visit

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


D e c a l s / By J e f f Wo ot e n / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Messages on the Open Seas Decals and banners cross the Trans Pacific finish line. Sean McGinn victoriously sailed Daisy Cutter, his twenty-one-foot-long Mini Transat boat, from Marina Del Rey to Hawaii last July, becoming the winner of the first-ever

photo: pat reynolds.

Mini 650 Pacific Challenge.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013


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McGinn had sailed single-handed for seventeen days—just himself, his boat, and his set of brand-new vinyl decals and banners made specifically for this brandnew race (inspired by the popular Mini Transat boat race held yearly in Europe). Adam Wodka is the owner of Signs Now in Marina Del Rey, California, and his shop was responsible for creating and installing these sponsor decals and banners for McGinn’s boat, as well as the other four vessels prepared to race in this inaugural event. Wodka was brought onboard this project through Open Sailing Inc., a company owned and operated by Nik Vale and Jerome Sammarcelli (co-creators of the Mini 650 Pacific Challenge). This company designs and builds boats, as well as trains others on how to sail them. They’ve been regular clients of Wodka’s for a while, as Signs Now has applied numbers and letters to their boats and wrapped land-based vehicles for them. Open Sailing approached Wodka last fall to inquire if his Signs Now would be interested in sponsoring their race idea and donating the time to print graphics. His five-employee shop does all types of in-house sign work—wide format printing, electrical, dimensional

signs, etc.—so being able to fulfill this request wouldn’t be a problem. Thinking of the publicity, Wodka leapt at the opportunity. “Open Sailing is a pretty big operation here in Marina Del Ray,” he says, “and showing that we were helping out would be another way of getting our name out to the boating community. “And we also wanted to do it because it sounded like it was going to be a really neat event.” All five boats entered for the Mini 650 Pacific Challenge featured the same graphics package installed by Signs Now—two primary sponsor stickers on the upper right-hand part of both sides of the sail, and the name of the race on the major vertical-oriented portion of the sail. A vinyl banner with “Mini Pacific 650 Challenge” and all the sponsor logos was also added along the sides of the boats. Wodka always specifies for his clients to send vector art or EPS files, and his shop then works with the imagery in Adobe® Illustrator®. “We did have to tweak one or two of them here to get them just right though,” he says. Wodka selected 3M™ Scotchcal™ Graphic Film IJ35 vinyl (his shop’s “goto” print material), for use on the sails

and banners. But Wodka and his 3M rep weren’t sure if this material could handle the waves, squalls, and other oceanic elements. “While there are other materials with a much higher level of stickiness, we didn’t have enough time to test them,” he says. “And we weren’t as experienced with the adhesive-back fabric materials.” Signs Now Marina Del Rey printed out the decals and banners onto 3M IJ35 via their HP L25500 latex printer using latex inks. Because this was a short-term race and longevity wasn’t an issue, Wodka didn’t laminate the decals or the banners. After doing a few test applications inshop, Wodka and his team headed out to the Open Sailing boathouse where they worked on large, flat tables. “It was just a matter of having enough of a flat surface to work on,” he says, noting they only used plastic squeegees (no extra pressure or heat) for this relatively straightforward dry installation. Wodka also needed to have enough space for the large sail to lie as flat as possible for decal application. “It was a matter of applying the sticker and putting enough pressure on the sailcloth material,” he says. “Our biggest concern was how well it would bond, but the IJ35 made it all the way across the


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

photos: signs now marina del rey.

Signs Now Marina Del Rey printed the decals and banners on 3M IJ35 vinyl film. The graphics were able to withstand the oceanic elements and made it all the way across the ocean.


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October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


ocean with no trouble!” Signs Now Marina Del Rey spent half a day printing and cutting the decals down to size and then parts of two other days applying them. (Note: The race started on July 6 and Signs Now

finished installing the graphics the last week of June.) Unfortunately two boats were ruled ineligible before starting because they ended up not having the necessary qualifications, while another racer

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

photo: pat reynolds.

Signs Now installed sponsor decals and banners on five racing boats.

backed out pre-start thanks to a bout of cold feet. (Note: Sammarcelli also raced but had to retire after a day, due to an unforeseen health issue.) Sean McGinn ended up being the only competitor remaining to finish the 2,300-nautical mile race, and his decals and banners still looked good crossing the finish line. Open Sailing was excited they made this race happen, and the outlook is high that the two boats that didn’t qualify this year will be eligible next year and that even more boats will enter. “If this race grows bigger over the years,” says Wodka, “it’ll be fun to [point out] how we were involved at the entry level.” Given that this was the first race, no one had any real expectations how the decals were going to perform. Wodka says they learned a little bit along the way to get a better idea what to do next year. “Through natural process, we figured out ways to speed up the application next time,” he says. “We also learned that if any vinyl is peeling off, we’ll cut the loose edge off immediately. This will ensure that it won’t continue peeling off anymore.”

C h a n n e l L e t t e r s / By J e f f Wo ot e n / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Making Waves

Reverse-lit color-changing channel letters hit the open waters. Patrick Fowler, a skilled hand painter who does work for the boat yards in the Tampa, Florida area, recently brought Gary Lucke, owner of FASTSIGNS of St. Petersburg, an illuminating challenge: Make the name on the backside of an


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// //////////////////////

with Halo-Lit LEDs Italian-made mega yacht legible at night. all photos: fastsigns of st. petersburg, florida.

Fowler had been doing some vinyl work for the owner of this yacht and learned from him that he’d seen another boat in the Fort Lauderdale area using halo-lit letters. The yacht owner wanted something similar. So Fowler contacted Lucke, knowing that he’d worked on plenty of LED projects. (Note: Lucke also has a good wholesale relationship with Fowler.) Lucke realized it

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


One can read the “Razorback” name legibly from as far as seventy-five feet away.









must’ve had a poor LED installation, since the name was hard to read. Instead Lucke thought it would be better to borrow some elements from a recent LED-accented monument project his shop had built. (Note: For details, see page 80.) Fowler and Lucke met with the captain of the yacht, who told them the owner had only two definite requests: The letters had to be polished stainless steel, and glow red and white (the school colors of the University of Arkansas). This client was a big Arkansas Razorbacks fan, even naming his boat “Razorback.” Initially Lucke conceived of “flat” 1/4-inch-thick letters with LEDs mounted to their backside. So he contacted architectural sign wholesaler Steel Art Company to supply them. The stainless steel “Razorback” letters ended up being 3/16-inchdeep and feature a polished face and matte-finished edge. All together, they measure fifty-six inches wide. The tallest letters stand 18 inches and the smallest 8-3/4 inches. Lucke originally selected Stainless Steel Alloy 304, but after speaking with his Steel Art rep, he switched to the higher grade Alloy 316. “Because of salt water’s effect on metals, I didn’t want any wear-and-tear to show for as long as possible,” he says. During renderings, Lucke drew up a red letter with a black outline with a 1/2-inch relief around it. But he realized that em42

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

With a dMX master controller, fastsigns programmed eleven different color scenes for the letters. bedding two strands of LEDs behind the letters wouldn’t work, since they weren’t big enough. So what would fit structurally? The answer: Allanson StormTight™ 1-3/4-by-1-3/4-inch LED RGB modules. Halo illumination is created by the spacing and intensity of the LEDs; also important is having a side return on the letters. Lucke crafted a 3/4-inch return for the “Razorback” letters. “This would keep the letter thickness-to-letter height proportion within a nice aesthetic range,” he says. “We studied the deflection angle of the light and determined we needed that side wall for the halo lighting to be effective.” (Note: The returns also hide the stand-offs from people peering down from above.) Steel Art suggested a variety of letter mounting styles, and Lucke ended up attracted to their “on the edge” method. “This is where they weld the edge of the letter to the return—almost

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013


like an L-bracket with a thread,” he says. Lucke and his team used white gloves supplied by Steel Art when handling the polished, mirrored letters. They didn’t want to leave any easy-to-see fingerprints on the highly reflective surface. To attach the LEDs, they flipped the letters upside-down onto a soft cloth placed on their work table. Clearance was tight. “We had to center the 1-3/4-by-1-3/4-inch LED modules, but in some places, we only had a two-inchwide stroke,” says Lucke. The yacht owner also wanted fadeable lighting, so Allanson specified the use of one DMX master controller and two sub-controllers. Lucke would learn that the number of sub-controllers gave him flexibility with what he could do visually. (Note: More on this later.) FASTSIGNS performed the letter installation onto the area just above the swimming platform, while the yacht was in dry dock. Because bench seating was located behind where the letters were to be placed, Lucke had to remove the cushions and physically cut into the boat to create access for the later wiring. “We custom-made a white acrylic cover for that and remounted it to the access panel afterwards,” he says. When it comes to halo illumination, letter stand-off distance is critical. Due to a slight curvature in the boat’s surface, these distances varied (3/4-inch to 1-inch). “We built in the ability to vary the distance for each letter by using a very small stainless steel washer hidden up underneath the letter return,” explains Lucke, noting that they used 3/16- and 1/4-inch sleeves from Steel Art over the stand-offs. FASTSIGNS pin-mounted the letters, but they had to be careful not to interfere with the LED modules. They also had other considerations. “We had to make sure that the pins were outside the 1-3/4inch area of the aluminum spar right behind where the fiberglass came together,” says Lucke. “And inflatables were right behind where we’d be installng.” Lucke drilled fives holes per letter, with an emphasis on “precision.” He first made sure the paper pattern supplied to him by Steel Art was leveled and centered. Because the thickness of the fiberglass on the yacht was 3/4-inch-thick, Lucke used plastic-type bits that wouldn’t chip the edge when drilling through the gel coat on the boat.

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Because of a slight curvature on the boat’s surface, letter stand-off distance varied from 3/4-inch to 1-inch. Getting the right-sized bit was another concern. With the sleeve around the pins, there was only a 1/32- or 1/16-inch variability. “I used two sizes of bits because I needed precision where the pin on these letters would go,” he explains. “When the sleeve was secured and tightened up around the surface, you couldn’t have any hole space visible outside the face.” Lucke began with a smaller bit first and then followed it with a bit that was “just a hair’s bit” larger than the pin itself (but not as big as the sleeve). Before dry-fitting the letters, Lucke had to figure out exactly where the final hole would go that would have the pigtail for that letter’s modules. “Then we would put the sleeve over the module,” he says. Everything needed to be watertight, and Lucke and his crew found themselves staring at hundreds of exposed wire strands for each of the RGB modules on the letters. They connected them by putting them through their own stand-off tubes. They wired every other letter (one, three, five, seven, and nine) and rated it back to one sub-controller and the other letters to the other sub-controller. So with the DMX controller, Lucke could make the odd-numbered colors glow a strong red and the even ones a strong white or even reverse them on a slow fade. Wires also went through spacers, so Lucke had to make sure they exited the letter at a certain place. “Pattern-wise, we had to be really careful to measure twice and only drill once,” he 46

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

According to Lucke,” I knew the customer was going to be happy— and that’s the key!” says. “We ended up going behind it and soldering, bleeding, and shrink-wrapping every single wire so that they’d be watertight.” (Note: Because the LED modules were large and the letters not that thick, Lucke found it “quite a job” to cram wires and silicone behind the letters.) To make sure everything penetrated was sealed, Lucke used silicone adhesive in some spots (such as where the pins went through). Lucke wasn’t familiar at the time with the DMX master controller, as it’s something associated more with stage lighting. “It’s something that you’d find instead controlling a Justin Timberlake concert,” he says. However he eventually got up to speed and used his laptop and software interface to program eleven different color scenes that can be activated at the push of a button by the yacht owner. “It glows red and white,” says Lucke, “but there’s also a patriotic theme, a rainbow theme, etc.” Lucke now has an idea of how many sub-controllers he’ll need when it comes to designing lighting projects in the future. “Maybe some projects will benefit from three or some with just one,” he says. He’s even more excited to play with DMX controllers again. “You can do literally hundreds, if not thousands, of color scenes and sequences with them,” says Lucke, noting that, since a degree of technical prowess is involved in programming them, this is another opportunity for him to interact with the customer after-installation.

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October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


S e r v i c e E q u i p m e n t / By M i k e A nto n i A k / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Maintain that Crane

OSHA’s delay on operator certification doesn’t defer responsibility to ensure crane safety. 48

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

PHOtOS (tHiS SPreAd): lAuretAnO Sign grOuP.


if you’ve postponed certifying crane operators to comply with OSHA’s 2014 deadline, you’ve got a bit of a reprieve. the Federal agency has extended the deadline another three years until 2017 (, as it works with representatives of the sign industry and other heavy equipment users to refine its certification standard. For right now, it’s not an issue of “if,” but “when” crane operator certification will be the law of the land.


any states already have their own requirements, but in others, a share of sign shop owners have already pursued certification in their total commitment to safety as top priority in installation projects requiring the heaviest lifting. “Even with OSHA’s deadline, we’ve certified more than 140,000 crane operators in the seventeen years we’ve been doing it,” reports Graham Brent, executive director of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) ( “Owners recognize that there’s a safety benefit gained from ensuring that those who operate cranes are trained and certified.” Certification validates training and knowledge; however what it does not do yet is address whether an individual is a fully qualified operator. “Certification is a tool, but it’s only one tool for determining if a person is qualified,” elaborates Brent. “We don’t test for experience, safety record, experience on (any specific model) of machin-

ery, or for history of substance abuse. “It’s the employer’s responsibility to make certain that those factors are taken care of.” In light of OSHA’s delay, the International Sign Association (ISA) has temporarily suspended its training program ( and is closely monitoring developments, according to Director of Education Matt Rumbaugh. “For now, sign installers don’t need to be concerned about Federal law, but they may still have requirements on their State level,“ says Rumbaugh. “We recommend members check with their state officials and locality and see if they have laws requiring crane operators to receive some type of certification.” Rumbaugh reports that his office is pulling together resources to inform members about what’s required and what’s available to help them meet those standards on the State level. He expects the information will be available on ISA’s Web site ( later this year.

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated




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Safety First

Photo: wilkie manufacturing.

As the equipment brought out for the biggest installation projects, cranes can also post the greatest potential risks on the job. While that raises liability issues, the primary concern is always safety for the company, the client, the crews, and all others in the work area. “One injury is always too many,” notes Mike Lauretano, safety advocate and owner of Lauretano Sign Group (www. in Terryville, Connecticut. Lauretano’s company has implemented a safety committee that meets regularly to address issues and concerns about potential risks in all aspects of the business. “It’s important for our industry to put our safest foot forward with proper training and instructions and constant monitoring of projects to ensure safety,” he asserts. “It’s hard and costly, but it’s important, because it’s the right thing to do.” The sign company has a fleet of big service trucks and cranes, including several from Elliott Equipment Company ( “Whenever an installation requires lifting something higher than one hundred feet, we bring in the appropriate crane,” notes Lauretano.

Chief Technology Officer Rob Mulcunry outlines some of the company’s best practices, refined over years of safe installs by experienced, qualified operators and crews. For example, equipment is inspected against a safety checklist before it’s dispatched to the site. It’s also thoroughly assessed and maintained (as needed) on a semi-annual basis. “We want to make sure it’s in top shape,” says Mulcunry. “Once we’re out at the site, [our crew] makes sure it’s properly set up. “They’ll begin by putting out the cones and warning signs, so that the work area is adequately secured.” Lauretano adds, “The first thing we always do is look up and see where the power lines are, check for any other obstructions, and notice who else is moving through or working in the area. These are basic things we do every day. “The conditions on every job may be a little different than what we planned for, and we have to take all that into account to make sure we can get our job done safely.” Crane safety also requires heeding the recommendations of equipment manufacturers. “When you buy equipment,

When setting up a service truck out at a job site, you can begin by setting up cones and/or warning signs to secure the work area. Then be sure to check the surroundings for power lines and other obstructions, as well as notice who else may be moving through or working in the area that day.

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


you want to make sure you’re dealing with a respectable, responsible company,” says Lauretano. “They can provide you information and advice about the capabilities of their equipment and its limits. Listen to their advice and utilize their expertise.”

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Any reputable supplier is eager to share that information. “We’re pretty thorough in providing customers with guidelines for the safe operation of our equipment,” says Bryan Wilkerson, vice president of Wilkie Manufacturing (, a supplier of ladder trucks, aerial platforms, and cranes. “We include checklists for daily, weekly, and monthly inspections.” Regular inspections are protective measures. “When you do a daily inspection on a crane truck, you’ll catch most maintenance and safety issues before they become a problem,” says Wilkerson. In addition, Wilkerson recommends a yearly inspection and maintenance, as required. “An annual inspection should take care of anything that might become an issue,” he notes. “The goal is to address potential problems before they can become real problems. “If there’s ever a safety issue, the first thing an inspector will do is make sure the crane is properly maintained and up to date. We can only do and provide so much. The rest is up to you.”

No Room To Compromise Wilkie customer David Onken, president of General Lighting and Sign Services ( in Oklahoma City, takes that advice to heart. With several Wilkie boom trucks and cranes, he accepts his responsibility to ensure their safe operation. Onken has safety policy and procedures in place and has had his operators certified well before OSHA’s original deadline. “It’s expensive, but it’s made them feel better about their abilities and gives them more confidence in what they can do,” he says. According to Onken, safe crane operation involves a lot of common sense and some preventive maintenance. In addition to regular inspections, he parks his trucks inside at night to protect them against the weather and moisture. 52

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

PHOtO: lAuretAnO Sign grOuP.

Daily, weekly, monthly, and even annual inspection checklists can ensure that a crane remains in safe operating condition. The goal is to address potential problems before they become bigger headaches for a sign company. “When a crew heads out for the job, they have a pretty good idea how it’s set up,” continues Onken. “But once there, the operator needs to go through a mental checklist to visually size up the load, the wind conditions, the weather, and the ground for setting up the rigging.” Onken sees installation as a working partnership among the crane manufacturer, the installation company, and its customer. “They all have to do their part on safety,” Onken explains. “But in this relationship, the crane operator is the managing partner, the one directly involved.” And that operator should have final say on safety. “When you’ve got an experienced operator out on the job, and he determines that there’s an unsafe situation for whatever reason and needs to shut the job down,” says Onken, “you have to have confidence in his judgment and trust that decision.” As examples, Onken cites weight loads and intangibles like wind speeds. “Every piece of equipment is limited, and you have to know what those limitations are,” he says. “If we get to a job and decide it requires a bigger crane, that’s what you have to do, no matter whose schedule that interferes with. “It’s not something you can anticipate all the time, but you just can’t compromise on safety.”

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October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


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Covering Homes & Businesses


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

photo: John panElla/


EvEryonE has thEir opinion of what constitutEs a “custom awning,” but chris butlEr, co-ownEr of classic awnings & signs ltd., in wynadanch, nEw york, dEfinEs this sign-typE as somEthing you don’t sEE EvEry day. and butlEr’s shop

all photos (unlEss notEd): classic awnings & signs ltd.

has stitchEd quitE a namE for itsElf in this fiEld.


lassic Awnings designs, builds, and installs all kinds of awnings in-house. And they’ll spread the love by even doing trade work for other shops unable to handle awning fabs and installs on their own. Butler and his partner Carolyn have successfully run this five-employee business for the past ten years. (Note: In total, the two have been in the sign and awning industry for almost thirty years.) Through word of mouth, Classic Awnings has accumulated a wide wealth of

clients in the Long Island, New York area. However there’s a chance you might’ve already seen some of their work. The shop was the exclusive contractor for the interior and exterior awnings, signs, and graphics featured on the Discovery Channel’s refurbishment TV series Construction Intervention. Walk into their shop and you’ll notice that they have the usual single- and double-needle sewing machines, as well as binding machines that allow them to put a finished edge on their awnings. An inkjet

printer allows them to print up to five feet wide onto indoor or outdoor media. Other essential equipment includes a fifty-five-foot-reach crane truck, a thirtysix-foot-reach bucket truck, and a couple of pick-up trucks they use for transporting materials out to the job site or performing surveys. And their clients include both commercial and residential markets. Butler always begins the awning process by asking customers what they’re trying to achieve with an awning (advertising, coverage, aesthet-

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


For a beachfront restaurant in Oyster Bay, New York (right), Butler had to access a three-foot crawlspace under the deck to fasten the 250-pound poles supporting the new awning.

ics, etc.), so his shop can guide them to the best decision and product that fit their needs. “We’ll also ask residential customers if they intend to use the awning year-round or just during certain seasons,” he says.

At Home with Residential Butler finds that homeowners generally have one goal in mind: functionality (coverage from the sun, rain, snow, etc.). This is one reason retractables are a popular option for this clientele. (Note: Classic Awnings is also a distributor of AluTex retractable awnings.) “However this doesn’t mean their awnings have to be boring,” he explains. “There are hundreds of different fabrics and styles to choose from.” What has really increased custom awning requests from residential clients is homeowners’ desires turn their home into something more than just a home (the “man-cave” effect?). Butler recently built and installed a two-foot-wide, sixteen-inch-tall dome entrance awning in brown Sunbrella® 56

complete with a scalloped valance for the front of a treehouse in one of his friend’s yards. “This project started out as a goof because he lives in a tight-knit, upscale neighborhood,” says Butler, “but when I found out he wasn’t kidding, I told him I’d figure something out.” People definitely notice Butler’s solution and even get a big kick out of it. “In return, they come to you wanting to do something similar for them,” he says. Residential clients are also more open to influence when sprucing up their pads. One customer wanted Classic Awnings to build and install an awning similar to something his wife had seen in a magazine. The catch: The awning was to be installed on the roof of their brownstone apartment in the middle of New York City. “We fabricated the entire awning in-house, disassembled it, walked up six flights of stairs, and then re-assembled on his roof,” explains Butler. This project also meant the need for custom components. “We had to fabricate our own connectors and hardware

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

because of the way the gentleman wanted this awning built,” says Butler.

At Work With Commercial Meanwhile the custom commercial side is more about awnings that stick out and attract attention. And Classic Awnings has taken the reins here, as well. The owner of a nearby hot tub store asked Butler to fabricate a scaled-to-size awning that looked like a hot tub had been mounted onto his building. Classic Awning ended up building the “hot tub” and the awning out of the same one-byone-inch steel framework. Butler couldn’t find a wood grain fabric for this awning, so he took brown vinyl material and blue Cooley-Brite® and washed it out, leaving him with the white fabric. Then Butler took some high-res digital shots of the interior of a hot tub, its ladder, and its jets and then printed it out onto a clear vinyl and laid it down on top of the framework. Although this “hot tub” awning is illuminated through traditional fluorescent

lamps, one trend that’s taken off with commercial clients is using LED for illumination, especially with the flexibility provided to down-light or back-light an awning. However, through experimentation with module spacing and population, Butler doesn’t think LEDs can properly light an entire awning—yet. Instead Butler finds they’re better suited today for accenting. For an automotive repair shop, Butler used LED components as the secondary light source on the awning. “We ran the LEDs around the back of the black Sunbrella fabric and underneath it to almost give it a reverse-lit effect like you’d see with a channel letter,” he explains. “We placed blue LED on the back of the awning against the wall to give it a really nice halo effect.” Classic Awnings is not just an awning specialist. They’re also a full-service sign shop—working on channel letters, light

boxes, vinyl graphics, and carved gold leaf signs. This means they’re very adept at combining sign components with awning materials. John Estevez, owner of Goodfellas Barbershop in North Babylon, New York, approached Classic Awnings to replace the plain black awning on his tiny storefront with LED channel letters. Butler went one better: He wanted to add these letters onto a new awning for him. The customer provided Butler with his logo and artwork for the channel letter sign; in turn, Classic Awnings superimposed the imagery onto an awning and showed it to him. Estevez wasn’t initially sold on the idea, citing the limited amount of front space. “But he eventually told me if I could do everything within the budget already agreed upon (and not change this figure at any point), then he was game for this unique idea,” says Butler.

For an awning installed on the rooftop of a New York City brownstone (below), Butler had to custom-fabricate connectors and hardware because of its location.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Butler reconfigured the original awning and remodeled almost all the steel framework inside it. Wiring the letters through the awning was fairly straightforward, since all the three-and-a-half- to four-inch-wide channel letters stand up straight. Classic Awnings welded a steel grid framework behind the black Cooley-Brite awning material and fastened the channel letters to this grid via 3/4-inch all-thread. They then cut pieces of 1/2-inch PVC to act as spacers for the letters and painted them black so they would blend into the black awning material. “We ran our low-voltage wiring through there to hide it,” says Butler. The awning featured LED-lit channel letters and a black egg-crate with standard fluorescent fixtures underneath it. “Surprisingly it’s got quite enough light,” says Butler. “The channel letters are a little narrower than standard-sized letters, so they light up pretty nicely.” Classic Awnings built and installed the entire sign in-shop as one piece. “Fortunately this was more an awning install than a channel letter one,” says

Butler. “We didn’t need any patterns. We just placed the channel letters on the awning and went from there.” The end-result is two-fold: “When you drive past the barbershop at night, it looks like the channel letters are just floating there,” says Butler. “And at day or during bad weather, the awning portion provides protection and coverage.”

Awning Paparazzi Probably the most essential stage of any custom awning project happens at the beginning. Butler always starts with a field survey to obtain lots of photos and building measurements, so his shop can give the customer a price. “We’ll inflate this price a little to cover us,” he says, “because things can always change and the customer will always want to negotiate.” There’s another important reason for taking hundreds of photos. “When we get back to the shop, if there’s an angle or a gutter we didn’t notice while out at the site, we can see it in the photo and plan accordingly from there,” says Butler. “This will help us build a better awning.”

Material Needs Like most things in life, everything has its own pros and cons—and yes, this even includes awning materials and fabrics. “Eradicable material is fantastic to illuminate an awning outwardly, but it’s very tricky to work with, since it creases very easily and leaves blemishes,” says Butler. “Meanwhile cloth-type fabrics can be a challenge when adhering graphics to it and/or painting it.” Butler always tries to guide his customers in the right direction based on the application and their needs. (Note: He’ll even employ awning materials not sold for the sign industry, if he believes they’ll work in a particular project.) “If clients are looking for a colorful awning that’s illuminated, I’d use Cooley-Brite in their projects,” says Butler, “whereas a restaurant would likely go with a Sunbrella fabric for its water resistance and deep color, which looks very elegant with goose neck lighting. “We recently used a waterproof and fire-resistant cloth-like material called Herculite™ for a customer who wanted

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October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Since Classic Awnings is a full-service sign shop as well, Butler had the know-how to be able to light and wire the channel letters and cans and then attach everything to the awning material. the underneath of his awning covering the steelwork and any electrical boxes powering the high-hat lighting and ceiling fans.”

brella is a canvas-type material that is treated with a fluorocarbon finish,” he explains. “Power washing removes that finish. Losing this finish means it’s no longer there to help prevent stains or repel water. “We recommend mild laundry soap and a very soft brush. This helps the pores of the material stay open and breathable, just like your clothing.”

Maintaining Care When it comes to advice for end-users about caring and maintaining their awnings, Butler stresses to them to never power wash a Sunbrella awning. “Sun-

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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

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Contact Jeff Sutley (East Coast) at or 212-620-7233 or Kim Noa (West, Central U.S.) at or 212-620-7221 Follow Us On: Sign Builder Illustrated @SBIMag

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V i nyl G rap h i c s //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


Concepts When working with vinyl graphics, sometimes it’s more about the pieces of the puzzle than the greater whole. Take ORA Design Group, for instance. ORA Design (Original Reflective Art) is located in Haysville, Kansas, and the company has found success providing graphics for original equipment manufacturers in the marine, RV, and trailer industries (in addition to individual businesses and retail markets). The company was established by current owner Jason Laub and now-retired Tony Stoddard five years ago, in an effort to help create one-of-a-kind, effective designs for clients. So when a boat or an RV manufacturer gets ready to premier a new line of vehicles, they’ll approach ORA Design to create the necessary graphic components for them.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Photos: jeff santos.

A design group finds a solution for lay-flat graphics.

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ORA Design Group creates concept artwork to show clients what their graphics will look like on their vehicles. ORA Design works up the concept art in Adobe® Illustrator® and Photoshop®. However they’ve learned that not every manufacturer is able to provide the vector files or bitmap images needed. “So we’ll ask them to send us a brochure or a photo, and we’ll scan that in and work from it,” says Laub. (Note: The conceptualizing process normally takes ORA Design about one to two weeks to complete.) After final approval, ORA Design prints the approved graphics and/or artwork onto air-egress vinyls using their Mutoh printer and mild solvent-based inks. Next they utilize their roller laminator to apply either a glossy or matte overlaminate for better graphics protection. Then they set up the patterns onto their Graphtec plotter/printer using Wasatch SoftRIP and cut them out. Finally they’ll move the rolled graphics to their masking station and load

ORA Design Group provides graphics for original equipment manufacturers in the marine, RV, and trailer industries (as well as some retail clients).

Photos: ora design grouP.

The Vertical

The company’s talented roster of designers boasts over seventy years of combined experience, so they know what works and what looks good. “We’ll provide OEM graphics for trailers and standardization letters for boats, for example,” says Laub. “We’ll also provide prototypes identical to production parts.” Once they’ve finished designing, printing, and laminating the graphics, they’ll ship them back to the client for application to their vehicle(s). ORA Design builds conceptual artwork of the graphics from scratch to share via PDF with the client. To create these concepts, the client will provide ORA designers with a profile of their boat, trailer, or RV and (if necessary) give them any stylerelated guidelines (specific colors, patterns, etc.) to follow. “More times than not, we’ll have to do revisions in order to eventually come up with a finished graphic that suits everyone,” says Laub, lauding the importance of interacting back-and-forth with a client to come up with artwork. “But it’s vital our designers be able to match a company’s style.”



Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

them up on the wide format roll laminator for pre-masking. Pre-masking is an essential component of the production process, as it holds the graphic elements in position and prevents the vinyl from stretching during application. However before shipping the graphics back to their customers, Laub was noticing tunneling and channeling on them when using conventional pre-mask, since they wouldn’t lay flat on the exposed air-egress liners. After attending last year’s SGIA Expo last year, Laub came across American Biltrite’s TransferRite® AirMask®, a material specifically developed for partial wraps and cut graphics made with printed or pigmented air-egress vinyls. “It also adheres nicely to a matte overlaminate,” says Laub. Since it’s a clear base material, Laub notices that he’s also able to see the different colors in the products that they’re printing. After finishing this “four-step” process (printing, laminating, cutting, and masking), ORA Design rolls the graphics and ships them to their OEM client. ORA Design Applies American Biltrite's Air ...

Scan the QR Code to view a video of this process.

If the parts are large, they’ll roll them onto a core. “But for smaller parts, we’ll instead wind them with the graphics facing outwards,” says Laub. ORA Design usually puts the graphics in a set package—a port and a starboard package for boats, for example. “Sometimes if it’s only a bunch of logos, we’ll just bulkpackage everything in one bag,” he says. They also apply the TransferRite AirMask to domed graphics as well. Laub says the RV and marine industries always have some sort of dome on their vehicles, whether it’s a model designator or a logo. Laub’s company has found a winning combination involving “high-definition” printing to create domed graphics to make flat decals appear more dimensional. “It’s a little more difficult because it involves another process obviously,” he says, “but we’re able to do the high-resolution printing on different bases and then dome it. “It makes a nice 3-D appearance.”

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B u s G r a p h i c s / By Lo r i S h r i d h a r e / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Are You WrAp

experienced? Designing graphics for the Jimi Hendrix Tribute tour bus.


t takes a love of rock music, a talented graphic designer, and large-size files to bring to life bus wrap graphics for a tribute tour to the legendary Jimi

to Phil Yarnall (, he knew he’d hit the jackpot of his all-time dream project.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

all PHotoS: adnormouS.

Hendrix’s music. So when this project was presented


When putting imagery together for the bus wraps, Yarnall tries to maintain the Hendrix “vibe.” After several years of working with the Jimi Hendrix estate and Hendrix’s sister Janie on CD graphics and other memorabilia, Yarnall was awarded the job of working on the bus graphics for this long-running “Experience Hendrix” tribute tour. As the tours change every year, so too do the graphics, whichYarnall has the privilege of designing and updating in conjunction with Adnormous (, the Smyrna, Georgia-based print-providing firm that installs them. Yarnall’s main goal: “To maintain the Hendrix ‘vibe’ throughout,” he says. Yarnall has been working in the music and entertainment industry for twentyplus years since his first job at PolyGram Records. In that time, he has become a bit of a specialist in deluxe music packaging—having created unique box sets for artists ranging from AC/DC and Hank Williams to the Velvet Underground and Janis Joplin. “I made many connections at Polygram—the most important being the guy working with the Hendrix family on re-packaging and releasing the entire Hendrix catalog,” says Yarnall, noting that he eventually left PolyGram to start his own studio. During this time, Yarnall graduated to the “design guy” for the Jimi Hendrix Estate. “This has given me many opportunities to create some really cool large format truck and bus graphics for them,” he says. (Note: Yarnall also had the honor of designing Jimi’s gravesite monument,

which consists of three engraved sevenfoot-tall granite panels.) These bus graphics for the “Experience Hendrix” Tour combined imagery from the packages Yarnall had designed with original album art and other photos from the vast Hendrix photo archive. “There’s

not a lot of research involved,” he says. “In fact, it’s more like a puzzle, working with a few key images (usually from new albums or box sets being released at the time of the tour) and blending it all together into one flowing, groovy, moving mural. “And then I have to do a different one

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for the other side of the bus!” Yarnall works closely with Janie Hendrix and album producer John McDermott in coordinating art and content for the bus graphics via back-and-forths with PDFs and JPEGs. The design process is straight-forward, but like most jobs


these days, it’s always a rush, which can be tricky. Especially when Yarnell is frequently dealing with the “biggest damn Photoshop® files” he’s ever worked on. “The Photoshop files for the bus are usually between 1GB and 2GB and take some time to save and transfer to Adnor-

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

mous for final output and application/ wrapping,” says Yarnall. “But they do an amazing job of wrapping the busses and making it all look groovy.” Yarnall generally has a few key images to feature and combines them with the type and logos, avoiding certain areas on

the bus where there are vents and lights and other things that would interfere with readability and visual flow. “There’s nothing worse than having an exhaust vent under some vital piece of information or logo or a person’s face!” he says. When designing graphics on the small screen for later large format printing, Yarnall stresses that the number-one thing to keep in mind is image resolution. “Unless you’re working entirely with vector graphics (Illustrator®, EPS, etc.), make sure you have enough resolution/dpi to your image for large output,” he says. “If you design something on your Mac at five inches

square at 300 dots per inch (dpi) and blow it up to five feet, chances are, it’s gonna look pretty crappy. “I always check beforehand with the guys outputting the files to find out what will work best for them.” Yarnall advises on the importance of paying attention to the scale of the design. “On a computer screen, it may look small; but on a bus, it can end up ridiculously large,” he says. Yarnall stresses another important rule is making sure the graphics are designed well. “A bad design is bad enough, but a bad design fifty feet wide is atrocious,” he says.

One aspect of the process that always thrills Yarnall is seeing the final wrap in person. “Most of the time, I see it on my twenty-seven-inch iMac, so when you see it fifty-three feet wide, it makes quite an impression,” he says. “I’m told there have been a few fender benders from people gawking at the bus.” Yarnell counts the big Jimi Hendrix bus wraps as among his favorite projects and is always thrilled when he sees people taking photos of them and posting them online. “I love the visual impact of a giant, final design,” he says. “It’s larger than life, and it feels great to see it big!”

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October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Fabr ication / By Jim Hingst //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Painting ExPandEd PVC PanEls The belief that you can’t paint PVC is an urban legend.

PhoTo: 3A ComPosiTes.

For less demanding applications, expanded PVC (EPVC) board is a good alternative for short-term outdoor signage, indoor retail signage, P-O-P displays, and tradeshow and museum exhibits, as well as for mounting photographs and digital prints.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

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The key to successfully painting PVC is to properly prepare the substrate, choose the best paint (based on manufacturer’s recommendations) and use a primer or adhesion promoter. Some popular brands stocked by sign supply distributors are Sintra®, Celtec®, and Komatex®. Available in different densities and finishes and in thickness ranging from 1mm to 30mm, rigid EPVC sheeting


also comes in a variety of colors. That color selection is great, but the colors aren’t that durable when used outdoors. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will result in fading. And what do you do if you want a cus-

Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

tom color? The best way to provide your customer with durable colors in the hue they want is to paint it. Latex paints and enamels don’t adhere well to EPVC. But EPVC is chemically compatible with a variety of paints—in-

PhoTos: (LefT) 3a ComPosiTes, (righT) sarah TouPin.

cluding polyurethanes, lacquers, and vinyl screenprint inks. (Note: In some cases, you can improve EPVC adhesion to the substrate by first priming it.) Some of the many different paints and screenprint inks that you can use include: Akzo Nobel Grip-Gard BC Translucent, Matthews Acrylic Polyurethanes (MAP), Spraylat Series 20, Nazdar Solvent Screen Print Inks (9700 Series, GV Series, System 2), and Krylon Fusion for Plastic®. Painting EPVC shouldn’t be too difficult, but people have problems getting paint to stick. The most common paint problems are peeling, flaking, and bubbling. There are several reasons that these paint adhesion problems occur: + EPVC can have a release agent or additive that could inhibit adhesion. + The surface may be contaminated with oils or dirt. + The surface energy of the PVC sheet may be lower than the surface energy of the paint. Then there are some people who’ll tell you that PVC just cannot be painted. If that’s the case, why have some sign makers been successfully doing this? Their secrets are proper substrate penetration, good paint selection, and in some cases, the use of a primer or adhesion promoter.

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When painting on EPVC sheet, you should test the paint system on a scrap piece of m a t e r i a l fo r g o o d a d h e s i o n a n d compatibility before production. There are two ways to do this, and to learn about them, visit

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Here are some steps to take before painting: + PVC foam has a natural static charge that attracts dust, dirt, hair, and plastic chips like a magnet. Briskly wiping down the sheet with a dry rag only creates more static. Instead wash the surface with water and a mild detergent or dishwashing liquid. + An integral component of EPVC is a release agent, which can hamper paint adhesion. To remove any waxy additives on the surface of the sheet or (at the very least) body oils from your hands, wipe the surface with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (IPA). You can also quick-wipe the surface using a rag dampened with toluene or acetone. Don’t overdo it with these chemicals. These solvents will not only dissolve the contaminants, but they’ll also soften up the surface of the sheet slightly (allowing for improved paint adhesion). (Note: Inhalation of toluene and other solvents can be hazardous to your health. Follow manufacturer recommendations; work in a ventilated area; and wear safety glasses, air respirators, and protective latex or nitrile gloves. If you clean with a solvent, perform a second cleaning with IPA to remove any residue.) + If the surface of the sheet is scratched or dented, you can eliminate some of these defects with a heat gun. Failure to treat the affected area usually results in the scratches showing through the paint. Carefully warm the scratched or dented area, moving the heat gun so you don’t overheat and distort the substrate. Magically the scratches will disappear. Be careful not to overheat the sheet or you’ll distort it. The damage that you cause will be irreparable. + One factor that makes PVC difficult to paint successfully is its dyne level (typically about 41). To improve adhesion, painters have tried to overcome the low surface energy by lightly sanding the surface with either 220-grit or 320grit sandpaper or by scuffing up the surface with a grey Scotchbrite® pad. However some contend that the sanding actually increases the dyne level. If you choose to scuff up the surface, wipe

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the surface down with 70 percent IPA to remove any dust created and to kill any static build-up.

Color Selection Selecting a paint system that’s compatible with EPVC is important, but color selection is also critical for exterior projects. Manufacturers will caution against painting the PVC with dark colors. The reason is that dark colors absorb heat when exposed to direct sunlight. As the PVC heats up, it expands greatly. Firmly affixed to the side of a building, the expanding sign board can buckle. What’s worse is that the hot plastic can permanently warp.

Edge Treatment During manufacturing of EPVC, tiny closed cells are created. Using standard woodworking tools, EPVC can be cut using a utility knife or a table saw, band saw, or panel saw. In fabrication, the cells are cut producing a rough edge. To smooth the rough spots, fill the edges with plastic wood filler or 3M’s Bondo® and then sand the area smooth.


PhoTo: jim hingsT.

To improve adhesion of paint to the EPVC board, some, but not all, paints require a primer or adhesion promoter. The job of the adhesion promoter is to anchor or bond the finish coat to the substrate. Some painters have used Bulldog®, an adhesion promoter available in an aerosol can. Bulldog is formulated to bind to a variety of other materials such as aluminum, fiberglass, and other rigid plastics. You can also use a primer, such as Rust-Oleum® Specialty Plastic Primer Spray, which prepares the substrate for a wide range of paints. Some painters also use satin finish Fusion as their primer. Or you can spray the sheet with Butch Anton’s Frog Juice as an adhesion promoter.


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Your Direct Source for Sign Information Quickly find information on any product or service featured in this issue. Simply visit InfoDirect online to request additional information from manufacturers and suppliers instantaneously. Get started: Company


3M Commercial Graphics . . . . . . . 78 Advantage Sign Supply . . . . . . . . . 24 Allwood Sign Blanks Ltd . . . . . . . . 26 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 78 Alpina Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . 78 American Biltrite, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . 13 A .R .K . Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 A .R .K . Ramos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 AXYZ International . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Bitro Group, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Brinks Mfg . (Van Ladder) . . . . . . . 52 Brooklyn Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 CAO Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Cirrus Systems, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Clarke Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Coastal Enterprises . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 DSA Phototech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Duxbury Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Elliott Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Epilog Laser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 EPSON America . . . . . . . . . . .C2-Pg 1 Estimate Software Corp . . . . . . . . . 67 Fastenation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Fisher Textiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Flexmag Industries, Inc . . . . . . . . . 35 Floyd & Associates LLC . . . . . . . . . 68 Gemini, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 GH Imaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Gill Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Gravotech/Gravograph . . . . . . . . . 20 Hendrick Manufacturing, Inc . . . . . 64 ITSENCLOSURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 J Freeman, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Kern Laser Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 L&L Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 LMT Onsrud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Magnum Magnetics Corp . . . . . . . . 15 Manitex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7



Marabu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Master Magnetics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Matthews Paint Company . . . . . . . 71 MBS-Standoffs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Metomic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 MultiCam, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Mutoh America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 ORAFOL Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 Orbus, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Orbus, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Ornamental Post Panel & Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Peachtree City Foamcraft . . . . . . . 14 Principal LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Rapid Tac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Roland DGA Corporation . . . . . . . . 32 Rowmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 ShopBot Tools, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Sign America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Sign-Mart, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Sign-Mart, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Signs365 .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 SloanLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Small Balls, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Southern Stud Weld . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Stamm Mfg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Stimpson Company, Inc . . . . . . . . . 60 SunRise LED, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Tesa Tape, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 TRC Electronics, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Trotec Lasers, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 US LED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Value Vinyls, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 VKF Renzel USA Corp . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Wilkie Mfg . LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C3



Companies in Sign Show 3M Commercial Graphics . . . . . . . 16 American Biltrite, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Channelletterwholesale .com . . . . 12 DaVinci Technologies . . . . . . . . . . 12 EPSON America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Floyd & Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Gemini, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Graphics One, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Keystone Technologies . . . . . . . . . 14 Konica Minolta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 LaserBits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Mimaki USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Outwater Plastics Industries, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Reach-All, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Rowmark, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 SGIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Tex Visions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

October 2013 // Sign Builder Illustrated


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Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

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The Fast Road to


Sign Success

s shown on page 40, Gary Lucke, owner of FASTSIGNS® in St. Petersburg, Florida, made a “reverse-lit” identity for a yacht owner. Lucke credits LED lighting for enabling him to handle these types of projects more quickly and more efficiently. “LED has simplified the channel letter world dramatically,” he says, “and eased the sub-contractor management of doing electrical projects.” Lucke cites an eight-foot-tall monument sign his shop had recently built (pictured) for convincing this client that his shop was the right one for the job. It featured a marble slab, a brushed aluminum cabinet, a granite base, a glass tile “fin” accent, LED edge-illuminated tempered glass face, and transparent logo/address graphics. “We embedded white LED behind the twoinch brushed aluminum perimeter retainer all the way around and on the back of the can’s surface,” explains Lucke. “The 3/4-inch tempered glass matched the shape of the retainer and was inset about three inches.We stood the glass off the surface about two inches with one-and-a-half-inch brushed aluminum standoff mounts on all four corners. “Then we put the reverse translucent secondsurface graphics on the glass base. The perimeter LED behind the ‘invisible’ retainer glows across the back of the tempered glass.” And Lucke’s shop does more than just lighting

projects.This FASTSIGNS is located in the “backyard” of Tropicana Field (home of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays), and they’ve been doing sign and graphics work for the team and its vendors since 1998. They’ve also installed wall wraps onto LP Field in Nashville and Continental Airlines Arena in Newark, as well exclusive sign and graphics work across the country for a rent-to-own furniture store headquartered in the St. Petersburg area. Believe it or not, Lucke was actually not involved in the sign industry prior to opening his store in 1997. Even though he had majored in graphic design at the University of Dayton in Ohio, he first opted for the more financially secure world of software writing and computer management. But seeing his brother’s success with a FASTSIGNS in Clearwater, Lucke cashed out his 401k and stock options, exited the corporate IT world, and returned to his graphics roots by heading down to Florida to open a FASTSIGNS. He’s definitely come a long way since. Lucke started out with only another graphic designer onboard. Today the business has five employees (not including himself). Since all sign shops have access to the same equipment and materials, Lucke theorizes that there are two ways owners can distinguish themselves: “The quality of your design work and the way you treat people are extremely important.”


Sign Builder Illustrated // October 2013

Photo: FAStSIGNS-St. PeterSburG.

How a monument job led to a luxury yacht.

The Road Ahead   

Times have changed, so has  the Sign industry and the way  we do business. With new  government regulations  Wilkie helps you keep ahead  of the curve with the new  Wilkie innovative products  with the sign professional in  mind.  The Wilkie Model 52XLR is a  prime example of this  52’  two man rotating platform  with a storable jib winch in  the basket and a mainline  winch that stores when not in  use mounted on a non CDL  truck, Wilkie helps you keep  ahead of the curves in life  that come your way.   Wilkie Mfg., L.L.C.  405‐235‐0920 Phone  405‐236‐3324 Fax 

Typical application examples for ORALITE® Series 5650ra

Photo courtesy of | Ugly Signs Macon, GA

The Next Generation of Reflective Film with RapidAir ® ORALITE® Series 5650ra Fleet Engineering Grade Reflective Film with RapidAir® Technology is an exciting new addition to ORAFOL’s family of technologically advanced reflective films that combines printability AND RapidAir®! Ideal for fleet applications over flat surfaces, rivets and simple curves. Now available in 11 colors total! Join us at SGIA Expo 2013, booth #2208 and try a sample of Series 5650ra! 888.672.2251

Sign Builder Illustrated October 2013  

This issue features articles on vinyl graphics, wall coverings, channel letters, service trucks, awnings, premasks, and more!

Sign Builder Illustrated October 2013  

This issue features articles on vinyl graphics, wall coverings, channel letters, service trucks, awnings, premasks, and more!