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Thread: LEVER Sign

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    MA
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    434

    Default LEVER Sign

    I made a giant 16 foot long sign the other day:

    IMG_20180808_154334-01-01.jpg

    It's backed with LEDs that I got from Hafele. It's got a touch on/off/dimmer switch hidden on the back as well. This was it on during the day in full sunlight. It was pretty dramatic at the party it was used at overnight.

    I cut this on my ShopBot using PVC for the front letters, MDO for the back panel, and scrap MDO for spacers. The letters and the spacers had dowel holes in them for perfect alignment:

    IMG_20180726_182704.jpg

    The toolpathing was all done with www.getfabber.com. I worked with the client on the SketchUp model you see below. Then when I got to the shop I just selected the parts I wanted to cut. After putting material on the machine I was able to go from 3D model to toolpathing in just a few seconds.

    2018-08-11 at 9.55 AM.jpg

    The full gallery is here. Let me know if you have any questions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norman, Ok
    Posts
    3,251

    Default

    Erik,

    Excellent sign.That kind of sign isn't too difficult to make and gets lots of praise. Keep up the good work. Show us more.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by joe; 08-11-2018 at 11:23 AM. Reason: addition

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    MA
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    434

    Default

    My name is spelled with a "C" at the end Joe.

    Signs are pretty easy to do, especially ones like this. The main reason I posted this build is that I've used a totally new method for creating the toolpaths:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9Cmrg-lkkY

    This workflow I've created really allows one to work on a design in 3D and go right to CNC fabrication eliminating much of the fuss of manual toolpathing.

    I'd be interested to see what your CNC guy/gal thinks of using this method over their current methods.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Springfield Mo
    Posts
    809

    Default Leds

    Erik & Joe,

    So basically the standoff distance is about 1-1/2 inches ?

    What type of hardware do you use to hold the letters ? are they part of the electrical connection ? Do they just snap on and off to the background ?

    Favorite LED lights & transformer you like for small sign ? Perhaps you have a photo that shows more of the wiring details or a diagram... thanks
    The decimal point seems to be the most important on the z axis... x & y not so much....
    ShopBot... Where even the scraps and things you mess up and throw away are cool....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Pro Signs, Coal CIty IL
    Posts
    293

    Default

    Nice looking sign Eric.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    MA
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    Default

    You are correct Leds the total thickness of the sign is 1.5". The back panel is .5", the spacers are .5" and the PVC letters are in the front are also .5"

    The hardware is pretty simple, I just drilled dowel holes partially through the back of the PVC letters and all the way through the back panel and the spacers. The dowels were 1.25" long and .25" diameter. Installation was just pressing the dowels in the hole and pressing the letters on the front. I glued them and screwed them through the back.

    For the lighting I used Hafele Loox:

    https://www.hafele.com/us/en/product...ze=59&PDP=true

    These systems are really easy to work with. In my setup there are two transformers that power the letters. There's about 75 feet of LEDs here. The two transformers are tied together by one touch dimmer switch. All of the connections are plug and play and pretty easy to do. On larger projects like this I tend to use Hafele lights. They're really versatile, reliable. There's great documentation from Hafele, along with their tech support which is great. I do believe you need to have an account with them to order their stuff however.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norman, Ok
    Posts
    3,251

    Default

    For those starting out with with this kind of sign it's best to stay on the safe side and not use MDO or any other wood products as substrates. It's doubtful there is a UL sign inspector going to give thumbs up on that.

    The question of how much stand-off is best to give proper illumination. That's governed by the size and stroke. For example if you're using 22" letters that are double stroked, you may need a 1.25 stand-off while letters like the "R" in my photo will need only .5". But that's all fun to figure out once you have the LED's on the back of the letters. Also you can specify wide angle units. I use Graphic Solutions Group which is a standard sign supply. You can go to their website and get prices and specs or give them a call.

    https://www.gogsg.com/2325951/Produc...LED_SS1STW-108

    One of the considerations with this kind of lighting are hot-spots. Check out Eric's panel. You want to keep these as even as possible. Some of that can be controlled by how close the modules are place to each other. I don't object to some un-even lighting but it should be consistent. An example is the DeGraff's restaurant sign.

    Another wonderful quality of this kind of sign is how simple the design and tool path. Aspire or Artcam will do the complete job. No need for going into 3d mode. Using SketchUp is much like playing Donkey Kong. Total waste of time. This is the most simple profile routing a person can do.

    After years of making LED signs I have yet to have the first repair call. However, if you make your letters easy to remove it shouldn't be all that difficult.





    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    MA
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    Joe you've misread the application of this sign. MDO and PVC are the correct material here.

    The original intent of this post was to share how the toolpathing was done using a new process. Can you elaborate on how you think that my process is "donkey Kong"? As I remember you don't do any toolpath creation anymore since you farm out all of your CNC work right?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norman, Ok
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    Eric,

    I tool path all my signs in Aspire. That's the only way to make sure the router services will do what's needed.

    Joe Crumley
    www.normansignco.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    MA
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    434

    Default

    Have you ever tried designing something in SketchUp and using the either the built in importer or the one that I've created?

    I'm just trying to get at to the root of the "Donkey Kong" comment. Donkey Kong was a really fun and easy to play game, so maybe this is a compliment?

    I suspect it's not. In either case, I'm building software to ease the process of going from design to fabrication and I appreciate feedback both good and bad so we can improve the software. "Donkey Kong" isn't really something I can take action on however.

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