Start background panel: 3 hours We glued the panels together with the epoxy face down, then glued and screwed pressuretreated 2x6s across the back for support.
Finish background panel: 1.5 hours The next day we turned it over and glued on the lower portion. That dried overnight, then we masked off the black raised area and sandblasted the half circle background, which gave it a stucco effect.
Prime and paint panel: 3.5 hours We primed the entire panel then painted the semi-circle background yellow. I added the orange fade with a spray gun.
Paint outline portion: 30 minutes We rolled the black portion of the background, and painted the edge of that black as well. All the paints were enamels.
Mark letter position: 30 minutes We put the 1-in. PVC board letters on the panel and marked their position. The PVC letters were mounted using studs and epoxy.
Install studs and letters: 4.5 hours Scraping the paint off around each stud allows the epoxy to bond to the raw HDU board. The hole in the letter was slightly smaller than the stud. Epoxy was used in the hole and on the stud.
When I took the job, I explained that I couldn’t install it. It wasn’t a problem, though since they have their own maintenance crew who would handle that with a lift and a boom.

What’s it cost to produce this 12-by-16 entrance sign?

HDU and PVC board make a durable solution

By Braun Bleamer

Posted on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

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4 sheets 2-in. HDU board: $1600
CNC cutting/routing: $660
1-in. PVC board: $240
2X6 pressure-treated stock: $150
Paint: $100
Hardware and miscellaneous supplies: $80
Total materials: $2830

Design/sales: 1.5 hours
Cut/assemble panels: 4.5 hours
Cut/install letters: 1.5 hours
Prime/paint panels: 4 hours
Mount letters: 4.5 hours
Total labor: 16 hours
They call Country Junction the world’s largest general store, and it may well be. People come from all over to shop there. They sell everything from craft stuff to building materials—it’s a pretty unusual place. They came to me for a 3D sign to replace the flat sign above their entry.

I designed it to use the materials as efficiently as possible, so it ended up being 16-ft. wide and about 12 ft. tall. The main panel was made out of four sheets of 2-in. thick Corafoam HDU board and the letters were cut from 1-in. PVC board. They provided a print of their logo, but it was a “copy of a copy of a copy.” It was getting distorted so I had to clean it up.

They wanted a textured background, and I knew I wanted it to have some depth because of the viewing distance. I had the company that does my CNC work cut the panels to shape then rout the yellow background area down ½-in.

The PVC letters were mounted on studs using epoxy. We sanded the backs slightly to break the glossy finish for better adhesion, painted the edges black then applied red high performance vinyl to the faces. It will hold up for years in the sun.

I don’t like to use epoxy over paint, so we used a paddle bit to scrape off the finish where each stud would be installed. You can see that in the photo of Paulo installing the studs. The studs were 4-in. deck screws that we screwed into the background then cut the heads off with a bolt cutter. We cut the smooth portion of the deck screw shaft off so that we have the threaded portion going into the back of the letter.

It was a big job to handle in the shop—it took four people to pick it up. I was glad that the client was handling the installation.

Braun Bleamer’s shop, Jet Signs Inc., is in Palmerton, Pennsylvania.

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