LEDs have revolutionised illuminated sign manufacture in recent years due to their small size, low voltage, energy efficiency, long life and low heat output. As a result, effects that were not possible in the past are now becoming mainstream, allowing creative freedom at reasonable costs.
For this reason, Signbiz uses LED-based systems in all of our Front-lit, Back-lit, LightBox and Neon Signage Projects.
Front Lit / Channel Letters (Acrylic)
Once the Face (Front edge) and Return (Sides) of a channel letter have been cut on the laser or router, the returns are heated and bent into shape. They are positioned carefully against the face, taped into place and sealed with specialised acrylic glue. LED lighting components are attached within the letter to shine through the surface.
Care is taken when positioning these lights to avoid hot spots forming; this is when the LED bulb shines brighter in a particular area, producing a dot on the face of the letter, and should be avoided.
Light-Boxes and Cabinet Signs
Light-boxes are constructed by making a rigid casing from aluminium or steel and adding a single or double semi-transparent face. These faces are made from translucent, opal acrylic, which diffuses the light as it passes through it. Then, cut vinyl graphics or translucent digital prints are applied to the face. The acrylic has size limitations, and therefore, for larger signs, a product is known in the industry as Flex-face is preferred. It is a type of PVC banner which is printed, then stretched over the face of the casing. It allows more sizeable signs to be fabricated without visible joints or seams on the front of the sign.
LED lighting is carefully installed. The position and angle of the LED bulbs will depend on the size and elevation of the light-box itself and must be considered before installation.
Custom made light cabinets can also be manufactured if desired. Lettering is cut through an opaque aluminium sign-face using our computer-controlled profile cutting equipment. When illuminated at night, it gives an effect similar to individually formed channel letters.
Backlit or Halo Signs
LED Components are attached to the back of a 3D Sign mounted off the wall or substrate using spacers. When illuminated, the light is directed at the surface behind the letter and filters around the outsides, producing a halo effect. These signs are also sometimes referred to as reverse channel letters.
For Our Neon signage, we use a product called LED Neon Flex. Neon flex is produced from flexible PVC, which houses an internal, flexible circuit of LED lights. It emits a constant colourful glow, which can be even brighter than a traditional neon tube.
This is a way more affordable product than traditional glass neon tubing as it is is easier to work with, easy to replace, requires less power and needs way less maintenance. Neon Flex lighting is gas, lead and mercury-free, and there is no glass to break, making it safer to handle and more versatile to use. In addition, it comes with all the advantages of LED lighting mentioned above.
A fabricator will cut Neon Flex to size and connect the internal, exposed wires to a power pin. This connection is achieved by centring the pin over the exposed wires and pushing until they can’t be pushed any further. Once this process is complete, the exposed end of the power pin is connected to the female end of the power cord. When the Flex is the correct length and connected to power, you bend and shape it into position, securing it where necessary.a