The center panel is 3mm aluminum composite material on a 5-in. arc with cut-out ¾-in. PVC letters, mounted on an oval panel of 2-in. thick 18-lb. SignFoam high density urethane board. The secondary copy is incise carved lettering with a carved outline and finished in 23K gold leaf. The shirt is an actual shirt encapsulated in epoxy and finished with latex paint. The sign is 42-by-72-by-8-in. overall.
The main panels are on an arc and were carved from 1½ SignFoam high density urethane board that was laminated to ½-in. overlaid plywood with epoxy to form the arc. The star is raised 3D and set into a pocket on the face. The tooth is made from 10 layers of 2-in. 18-lb. HDU laminated with epoxy with a tubular steel frame through it. The sign is 42-by-68-by-20-in. overall.
How about using cut-out gilded letters on an arc?
The curved aluminum composite panel at the top carries the cutout PVC letters, and the image was hand painted on the aluminum composite panel. The spun .100 copper background panel was clear-coated then isolation mounted to the tubular aluminum frame to prevent contact between the copper and the aluminum.
The ampersand is copper sheet on aluminum composite material, mounted on a curved panel of perforated stainless steel over a ¾-in. overlaid plywood panel.
The Veterinary panel uses cut-out letters on a curved aluminum composite panel with LEDs behind it. “The ‘wood’ on the base of the pylon,” says Peter, “is a synthetic decking material from the local lumber yard, which comes in a wide range of beautiful colors.”
This sign was done using the cold forming method. Two layers of ¼-in. plywood and one layer of SignFoam high density urethane board were laminated together over a mold using epoxy. Once dry, they were removed from the mold and retained their shape.
Court Street Vet 1
Court Street Vet 2

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tubing bender

Put a little curve on it

By signcraft

Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2019

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You see a lot of flat signs, and you see a fair amount of 3D signs with flat layers—but you don’t see very many signs with curved panels or curved faces. It’s a great-looking effect Peter Poanessa, Keene Signworx, Swanzey, New Hampshire, uses very successfully to add extra visual kick to an already appealing layout.

“Most signs are flat,” says Peter, “so a curved face is immediately unique and interesting to the viewer. When you couple that with other dimensional elements, you can create something that is really appealing to look at. And that’s the critical task of a creative sign.”

There’s a little engineering involved, of course. Today’s materials and assembly methods, though, make curved faces easier. At first, Peter made curved faces using “cold forming.” He built a form, then laminated layers of material over it.

Once the glue dried and the material was taken off the form, it kept that shape. He often used this approach to form SignFoam high density urethane board over two layers of ¼-in. plywood using epoxy to laminate it. He also did a few by cutting curved PVC supports and laminating the HDU board over that.

“As time went on,” he says, “I moved towards using a curved thin-wall tubular aluminum frame with aluminum composite material over it. I bond the face to the frame with Lord adhesive, which chemically welds it to the frame. It’s very strong.

“I now have a Baliegh R-M7 radius manual tubing bender. I run the aluminum tubing through it and get nice consistent long arcs. It’s a fairly inexpensive tool that uses a hand crank to feed the tubing between rollers to bend it. Once I have the tubing bent into the arc that I want, I just laminate the aluminum composite material over it. It’s super rigid and super strong.”

Simplifying the production method makes creating curved sign faces a practical option. Whether it’s a simple curved panel that carries all or part of the primary copy or the entire sign face is curved, the added dimension and drama make it another tool in the sign designer’s bag of tricks.

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