Tips & Tricks
Timesaving shortcuts from SignCraft readers
Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
Have a tip to share?
Be a part of SignCraft! Share your favorite shortcuts, gadgets used in your shop and other time-savers. Email them to email@example.com, mail them to SignCraft, P.O. Box 60031, Fort Myers, FL 33906 or fax to 239-939-0607. SignCraft, of course, cannot assume responsibility for the validity of reader submitted tips.—Editors
Add tabs to your Sign Pricing Guide for faster access
I used to get frustrated trying to flip to the page in the Sign Pricing Guide for the category I was looking for. Now I print vinyl tabs and stick them on the appropriate pages. What a time saver!
Rusty Gibbs, Gibbs Graphics, Leavenworth, Washington
Rusty also sent us the design files to share with readers. (Thanks, Rusty!) They’re ready for you to download at www.signcraft.com/downloads. Print them on your digital printer and add them to your Sign Pricing Guide to make it even faster and easier to estimate sign prices. —Editors
The ultimate portable sign easel
Here’s a very useful tool that I developed during many years on the road, signwriting around Australia. Their simplicity belies their usefulness. They are light, very strong and can be bolted together for easy transportation. They convert any wall, trailer side, caravan side, etc. into a very stable and height-adjustable sign easel. The triple contact points combined with the rubber ends make them extremely stable. With additional bolts they can even support multiple signs.
It’s made of 25mm [1-in.] OD round aluminum tube with a 3mm [1/8-in.] wall thickness. The holes are 10mm [3/8-in.] in diameter and are 150mm [6-in.] apart. The first hole is 200mm [8-in.] from the top of the tube. The curved tubing at the bottom is welded to the upright.
The signs are supported by 120mm [5-in.] stainless steel coach bolts and wing nuts. These can also be used to bolt the two stands together for transportation. There are two 25mm rubber chair leg protectors on the bottom and one at the top.
The drawing shows the construction details should anyone desire to make themselves a set. If you travel a lot as a signwriter and work on-site, they are very useful. They were developed over 15 to 20 years, and I call them “The Final Stand” because you need no other after you make a set of these, LOL!
James Dobson Revolution Signs & Graphics Lake Macdonald, Queensland Australia
We converted the metric dimensions to US. —Editors
Try this two-part automotive clear overcoat in a spray can
I recently wanted to paint some PVC signs for exterior use and came across a very cool product: SprayMax 2K high-quality automotive paint in an aerosol can.
My local paint retailer offers SprayMax in custom colors, including Pantone Matching System colors, for about $25 to $35 a can. You can find this product online as well.
This is a two-part automotive paint. The paint is in the can, and the hardener is in a separate container inside the can. It is activated or released with the push of a button on the bottom of the can and mixed with the paint material.
I usually reach for 1 Shot enamel paints for my signs. But lately I have been making more signs from PVC board. I have been using standard “rattle can” paints on this type of signage. Spray painting with rattle cans is not optimal, but not having a spray booth, I’ve found it can be done with great results. To give the spray paint finish on PVC board a hard, durable automotive finish, I decided to give the SprayMax 2K Clear Satin a whirl.
I’m impressed with the spray nozzle on the SprayMax cans. The spray has a very wide pattern and really fine atomization. It’s not at all like the spray nozzles on cheap rattle can paint.
Obviously we want to prep out the sign to be clear coated. Since I do not have a spray booth, I get the garden hose out and hose down the area around where I will be painting to keep the dust particles down.
These cans have an adjustable spray nozzle much like a commercial spray gun. I adjust the nozzle to my liking. Then I shake the can for two minutes, then activate the hardener by pressing the red button on the bottom and shake it for another two minutes.
Now we are ready to roll—or make that “ready to spray.” I apply three or four light coats of clear, waiting 10 minutes between each coat. I allow 24 hours for it to dry completely.
If you haven’t tried it already, I think this is a product worth checking out. It sells for about $25 to $35 per can, but for a shop without a spray booth, it’s a great protective clear coat for small 3D signs.
I also seal the edges of my PVC graphics using PVC cement. It works great and only takes a minute.
Dennis Stanworth, Stanworth Signs, Walnut Creek, California