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Manufacturing technique of acrylic letters

Manufacturing technique of acrylic letters

2020-01-08

Acrylic characters are divided into three categories according to their shape, namely flat drum letter, pointed drum letter, and round drum letter.


Other shapes have basically evolved from these three styles. For example, the pointed drum letter can evolve into a diamond shape, and the round drum letter can evolve into a arc shape. The different choices of the tool and cutting depths may lead to completely different shapes of letter.


A: The production and requirements of the flat drum letter:

Depict the desired letter patters on the MDF with copy paper with a margin of 5cm on each side. Use the manual engraving machine to install the corresponding straight knife, and open the mold along the outer line of the letters. After the mold is opened, the mold is flattened with a file. Then grind the sides and corners of the letter mold into an arc shape with a file and sandpaper until it is smooth and even, and finally smooth with sandpaper. You can also use a computer engraving machine to engrave the mold, and polish the parts with angle after it is built.


B: The production and requirements of the pointed drum letter:

First, the production method of the pointed drum letter is the same as that of flat drum letters, except that the sides and corners are not ground into an arc shape.

Second, add materials for molding and shaping. According to the size of the word, the width of the stroke (assuming that it is the widest stroke, draw a middle line from the second layer to see whether the slope of the two sides is a 90 degree to determine the proper height), and then install the appropriate 45 degree angle cutter into the multi-function milling machine. And the pointed drum pattern is made on the letter. Apply 502 glue or 3-second super glue on the sharp parts of the letter until it is solidified so that it will not be damaged when pressed. If there are no sharp parts, the letter sign should be heighted and repaired in place .As the letters in large size cannot be processed by tools, their trimming can only be completed by manual operation.


C: The production and requirements of the round drum letter:

The first step is the same as the production method of the flat drum letter, except that the sides and corners are not ground in an arc shape.

In the second step, add materials for molding and shaping. The material height should be proportional to the size of the letters so as to achieve a beautiful shape. The following steps are the same as the pointed drum letter with a rounded knife being used.

There are some production requirements for acrylic light box bottom plate. The four sides of the male mold of the bottom plate should be polished and the four corners should be ground into a circular arc shape and inclined shape (i.e., narrow upper corners and wide bottom corners) to facilitate demolding. Also, the bottom of the female mold of the bottom plate can be slightly ground with sandpaper at a small angle, so that the gap between the two bottom plates can be reduced.

The calculation methods of acrylic light box bottom plate mold are quite easy to understand. There are two ways to calculate the acrylic light box bottom mold which are for the bottom plates which are divided into several pieces in equal parts.


In the first case, the calculation method for dividing the mold into several blocks laterally or vertically is as follows:

1. The total length minus the margin width of the both side of the bottom plate is equal to the total length of the mold to be made.

2. The remaining total length of the mold to be made divides the number of block is equal to the size of the bottom mold.

3. The total width minus the margin width of the both side of the bottom plate is equal to the size of the bottom mold

4. The value calculated through step 2 minus 5 mm is the loss of the gap when the two bottom plates are put together, that is, the loss caused by loose splicing. 

5. The final length and width of the mode is calculated by splicing together the formed acrylic bottom plates on both sides of the bottom plate.

In the second case, the calculation method when the whole mold is divided into several blocks in both horizontal and vertical directions is as follows:

1. The total length minus the margin width of the both side of the bottom plate is equal to the total length of the mold to be made.

2. The remaining total length of the mold to be made divides the number of block is equal to the size of the bottom mold.

3. The total width minus the margin width of the both side of the bottom plate is equal to the total width of the remaining mold to be made.

4. The remaining total width of the mold to be made divides the number of block is equal to the size of the bottom mold.

5. The values calculated through step 2 and step 4 minus 5 mm is the loss of the gap when the two bottom plates are put together, that is, the loss caused by loose splicing. 

6. The final length and width of the mode is calculated by splicing together the formed acrylic bottom plates on both sides of the bottom plate.


The margin of acrylic letter after molding and the bottom plate is quite different due to some reasons. There are three cases of the margin size of the molded acrylic letter in different cases. When the letter is spliced with the bottom plate, it will leave a margin of about 3 mm. When the letter serves as a box, it will produce a margin of about 1 cm. After the letter is made undergoing pressing, it is required to manually surround the letter creating a few centimeters trim, and the margin size of the letter is about 5 mm. The margin size of the bottom plate is about 2-3 cm.


There are two steps for producing hollow design for the letters after the letters stick to bottom plate. Firstly, put the glued bottom plate on the female mold and place a fluorescent tube on the bottom. Then after the light is turned on, you can see the hollow part of the letter. Drill a hole slightly larger than the diameter of the trimming knife with a hand drill, and then install a trimming knife into the wood trimming machine. Place it in the middle of the drilled hole and the depth of the knife is slightly larger than the thickness of the plate. And finally perform the hollowing.


The optimal number of fluorescent lamps and LEDs installed in the cabinet and the installation method will be discussed in the next paragraph.

1. There should be 4-5 fluorescent lamps installed per square meter, and the lamps on both sides of the cabinet should be placed as close as possible to the cabinet as the reflecting capacity of both sides of the cabinet is weak.

2. The standard distance between the LED lights is 8cm*8cm, and the lights can also be appropriately placed at a distance of 8cm*10cm or 10cm*10cm. As there are a large number of LED manufacturers in the domestic market now, the inconsistency in the selection of materials results in different product quality. Therefore, please consult with the purchaser or our company's consumables department for the specific height of the cabinet and installation instruction. The above contents are for reference only.

As for the installation, after fixing the LED light in the appropriate location of the bottom of the cabinet, first apply 502 glue or three seconds glue to stick the LED light, and then apply quick-drying glue or glass glue to the both sides of the LED light.


LED performance and precautions


LED light has the advantages of low power consumption, high brightness, vibration resistance, high reliability, long lifespan, no pollution, and color brilliancy. It is a true green lighting with a service life up to 100,000 hours.


LED light can emit lights in colors like red, yellow, blue, green, white, orange, amber, blue-green, red-green, yellow-green, pure green, emerald green. The light color can be turned into red, yellow, blue, green, white, and purple through numerical control.


The LED light source module enclosed by the metal casing has two types of ZLS-PMB and ZLS-PMBC. The ZLS-PMB type light source panel realizes side illumination, and is suitable for being mounted on the side wall of the luminous letter, uniformly illuminating the surface by reflection. Its installation is quite simple, requiring the inner wall of the letter to be coated with a reflective material. Generally, it is fixed with a distance of 3cm from the light box. And the height of the box is generally 7cm or more. ZLS-PMBC type light source panel realizes front illumination, which is suitable to be installed at the bottom of the luminous letter directly illuminating the light surface. The width of the letter slot is required to be 4 cm or more, and the height of the box is 4 cm or more. The contact between the light source panel and the light box should be equipped with heat dissipation device. The center distance of each light source board is generally 10 cm.


When the letter slot width is less than or equal to 10 cm, generally only one side can be installed with ZLS-PMBC type light source panel to ensure sufficient brightness. When the width is within 10-20cm, the light source panel should be installed on both sides and staggered as much as possible. If the letter slot width is 20cm, the ZLS-PMBC type light source panel should be installed at a distance of about 10cm in the middle of the groove.


The standard package of the light source board is 5 sets for a string, and the red light source board can be set with up to 6 strings (30 pieces). The excess 30 pieces should be looped separately. And other color light source boards can be set with up to 10 strings (50 pieces) and 50 pieces should be added separately. In the circuit, the power supply is connected to the power supply, and the distance between the power supply and light source should be as small as possible.


Connect the letter sign to the power supply with a connector. The wire ends do not need to be stripped but be peeled to the bottom of the connector and pressed with pliers. The end of wiring terminal of the last light source panel should be wrapped with waterproof tape. The above content is for reference only.


Tool selection when making molds


The tool is selected according to the thickness of the acrylic sheet. There are several cases as follows:

In the case of molding by manual operation, if the thickness of the mold is less than 3.5 cm, the cutting knife should have the same thickness of the sheet. If the thickness of the mold is 3.5 cm or above, the tool should be 1-2 mm larger than the thickness of the sheet, and the specific value is based on the thickness of the mold.

When a computer engraving machine is used to make molds, if the thickness of the mold is less than 3.5 cm, the cutting knife should have the same thickness of the sheet. As the knife size is slightly different from the plate thickness are slightly different, a knife with similar thickness of the sheet can be used. If the thickness of the mold is 3.5 cm or above, the tool should be 1-2 mm larger than the thickness of the sheet, and the specific value is based on the thickness of the mold.

The relationship between the size of the letter and the thickness of mold:

1. The thickness of pointed drum letter can be adjusted within the range which can be achieved by the machine according to the sharpness.

2. The thickness of round drum letter can be adjusted within the range which can be achieved by the machine in the case of the letter size and thickness being harmonious.

3. As for flat drum letter, a 60-70 cm letter mold can have a thickness of about 4 cm which has a slight inclination. A 90 cm -1 m letter mold thickness can be of about 6 cm width with small inclination. The thickness of 1 m or above height letter mold can be of about 8 cm thick, featuring a slight inclination. The thickness of the 2 m letter mold can have a width of more than 10 cm, and the mold has a slight inclination. The above parameters are for reference only.


The thermoforming requirements for the acrylic letter with a height below 20 cm

1. The thickness of the mold should be 1.5 cm.

2. The mold should be made with an engraving machine.

3. The gap between the male and female molds is the thickness of the acrylic sheet.

4. After the internal female mold is engraved, it should be ground into a smaller size so that the gap between the internal male and female molds is slightly larger than the thickness of acrylic plate.

5. The four corners of the male and female molds should be sanded with the sandpaper. The small or narrow male and female molds should be dotted with a 502 glue or 3 second super glue to harden the surface from being crushed.

6. After the male and female molds are delicately polished, they are respectively adhered to the two density plates with a size slightly larger than the font size. When the platform presses the mold at a high speed, touch the switch to allow the platform to slowly descend to the plate until it is fully pressed. When the mold is released, touch the switch until the male and female molds are detached from the platform to rise or fall steadily. For the small-sized extrusion plate, it is easier to form the mold with an increased height.


Next, acrylic sheet is suitable for what kinds of acrylic light box bottom plates? The 3cm thick plates are only suitable for the acrylic light box bottom plate with a width of about 1 meter. If the dimension is too large with a height over 1.5m, the physical properties such as the load-bearing capacity, the stretch ability and the tensile force of the sheet should be fully considered. 4-5cm thick plates can be selected according to the local weather conditions and the wind power.


Common materials for box edge trim and box

The materials for edge trim include white iron, aluminum, aluminum composite, and so on. While the box is made of steel sheet square tube, spray paint or aluminum-plastic composite panels, aluminum profiles.

As for single-letter box, it is made of 0.8-1.2 steel sheet, which is much cheaper than other materials.

There may be some cooling problems of acrylic base plate and acrylic letter. Depending on the physical properties of the acrylic sheet, the optimum cooling time is 24 hours. In order to ensure its stability, it takes at least 12 hours to use. The cooling method of the acrylic base plate is as follow. After the acrylic bottom plate is taken out from the platform, the bottom of the four sides should be padded with a bracket after reversing the plate, so that the bottom plate does not touch the ground. The middle part of the upper part of the four sides of the acrylic base plate should be placed with a heavy object for shaping. Then use the air blow gun to blow the plate surface and lightly press the surface while blowing. After that, the reversed surface is rapidly cooled and shaped. It can be used after pressing for a while.

The cooling method of the acrylic word: After the acrylic word is taken out from the platform, it should be placed in a flat place, and the four sides are pressed with heavy objects to prevent the bottom deformation.

The manufacturing method for curved-shape bottom plate mold: 

1. First create a curve shape with a wooden board or 1.8-density MDF. The standard radian ratio is 1:3.25 (for reference only).

2. Use a 0.9 or 1 cm thick MDF to cut the required size and place an arc mold respectively on each side of the bottom. If MDF is used, the two arcs should be nailed together to increase their strength. The MDF and the arc were nailed together with a gas nail gun. There should be a few arcs prepared in the middle, while and the other sides can be nailed with a straight MDF.

3. The female mold is made by the same method of the male mold.

4. After the male and female molds are manufactured, polish the four sides of the male mold with sandpaper or a file to make the corners round. The four corners are slightly inclined to facilitate the removal of the mold. Sand the bottom of the female mold with a sandpaper.

5. Regardless of the curvature of the curved base plate mold, try to ensure that the height of the both sides is about 3 cm. If it is too high, the mold will be difficult to form, and the four sides of the sheet tend to crack.

6. Finally, press the mold for ultimate shaping.


Manufacturing method of curved letter mold: Make the same arc as the base plate mold. According to the size of the letter, take a part of the plate slightly larger than the font. The inner and outer arcs should be retained meanwhile. The arc is made into the same mold as the base plate with its bottom nailed with another plate. When using 0.9 cm thick, 1 cm thick or 1.2cm thick MDF for producing curved-shape letter mold, the thickness of the MDF is determined by the size of the letter and its curvature is determined by the thickness, size and material of the MDF. The finished male molds are nailed to the curved plate one by one, and the female molds is also nailed to the inner arc. Because the inner and outer arcs have the same curvature that the male and female molds nailed to the inner and outer arcs are exactly coincident arcs. 


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