Product Line 8 - Flat Printed & Painted Aluminum and Engraved Corten Weathering Steel Metal Signs
Welcome to our photo Gallery 8 , which shows examples of our signs in Product Line 8. This page shows photos of two types of long-lasting low-maintenance outdoor signs: (1) flat 2-D painted or digitally printed (either direct printed or covered with a printed vinyl applique) aluminum signs , and (2) Corten weathering steel metal signs (un-painted) , which have text and artworks cut-out (incised) from the sign board.
We also have 45 photo galleries of various applications on this website, a few of which (e.g., Gallery 16, National Park and campground signs, and Gallery 28, Commercial Signs), contain Corten weathering steel and aluminum signs & plaques. These can be viewed by by using the slider to scroll down the gray box in the left margin and clicking on a numbered title.
Fig 1 - Large double-sided painted black Aluminum sign with carved and sandblasted HDU panel on bottom of sign
We make other flat 2-D engraved and incised signs from Color-Core HDPE and Fiberglas-reinforced HDPE plastic wood, some of which are considerably lower in cost than aluminum or Corten weathering steel. Our HDPE Color-Core and plastic wood signs are shown in Gallery 9. Our signs and plaques carved in 2.5-D multi-level, engraved and 3-D bas-relief are shown in Gallery 1 (2.5-D & engraved HDU) , Gallery 1A (faux-wood HDU), Gallery 2 (3-D bas-relief HDU) , and Gallery 3 (2.5-D, 3-D and engraved Cedar, Redwood, Mahogany, Oak and Maple wood). Bronze, Brass, and Aluminum plated signs and plaques are shown in Gallery 7. These are all generally more expensive than flat 2-D signs.
.If you have just entered our website and you want an overview of our company and all our products or other informational web pages such as our Home page, you can view these by clicking on a title in the gray box in the upper left margin. Other Product and Application photo galleries can be viewed by using the slider to scroll down that gray box and clicking on a numbered title. If you are using a cell phone, you can click on the 3 red bars on the top right of your screen to see this menu.
Fig 2 - Full color painted Aluminum sign with Corten weathering steel posts for Channel Islands National Park
FLAT 2-D ALUMINUM SIGNS
Flat (i.e., 2-D) dmooth aluminum signs have the advantages of long life, low maintenance, and simple processes to manufacture. Most traffic , street name, parking , and real estate/for sale signs, and many commercial signs are made of aluminum . The thickness usually 0.08 inch thick for smaller signs, but for large free-standing aluminum signs that may be subject to high winds, thicknesses of 0.25 inch or more are common. . Aluminum is bought in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets and cut by a water-jet or laser cutter to size and shape. We normally use a 6061 aluminum alloy for most signs, but sometimes we use a 5052 alloy which is stronger for very large signs. Aluminum must be lightly sanded and chemically etched before coating with primer and a top coat. It can also be left bare, with a brushed surface, which gives it an attractive appearance.
Aluminum signs usually have direct printed text, borders and artwork for most applications, using 3M UV inks. The printing is done with a large flat bed printer (see Fig 2) on the powder coated or painted white surface of the prepared aluminum blank. A protective laminate is applied after printing the UV ink.
Fig 3 - Full color direct-printed Aluminum signs
Alternatively, for large signs, too big for flatbed printers, we paint the background , lettering and artwork using a computer cut mask. We first clean and etch the aluminum to remove any dirt or surface contamination, spray the sign with an aluminum primer, and then spray paint a Matthews MAP color top coat. The borders, artwork and text are then spray painted using computer cut masks. After all the painting is done, the sign is spray painted with two coats of clear to provide further protection against UV, scratches and graffiti.
A third alternative is to digitally print very detailed artwork on long-lasting outdoor cast 3M vinyl using a wide format printer and adhere it to a painted sign described above. Photo M8010 in the gallery below shows a digitally printed vinyl applique (the NPS arrowhead logo) mounted on a painted sign.
We no longer make aluminum signs with solid color vinyl cut-out text and artwork because it tends to peel off the aluminum substrate after a few years. This technique, once used extensively in the sign industry, has been replaced with digital vinyl printing or flatbed printing.
Fig 4 - Large 5 ft x 8 ft Flatbed UV Ink Printer used for direct printing of multi-colors on aluminum sign blanks
Some aluminum signs use digitally printed long-lasting vinyl appliques, whicn provide greater detail than direct printing on the aluminum blank. Traffic signs with text or symbols that have to be highly reflective so as to be seen at night with headlights (e.g., as stop signs) must use long-lasting cast vinyl appliques made by 3M or Oracal, for example. Highly reflective text cannot be direct printed. There are 3 grades of reflective vinyl, define by the MUTD traffic sign manual. These are Engineer Grade, Hi-Intensity and Diamond Grade, with increasing reflectivity and price. The printed vinyl is usually protected against scratches by a clear laminate film.
Aluminum signs have prices approximately 20% lower than 2.5-D engraved HDU signs, but have prices that are 20% higher than Color-Core engraved HDPE signs. However, aluminum signs can have very small text and the artwork can be printed in great detail with many colors, providing much more design flexibility than HDPE signs. However, they do not have the dimensional appearance or thickness than carved HDU signs have, and are therefore usually used for applications that are informational or commercial in nature, rather than decorative.
Fig 5 - Corten steel sign after exposure to weather. Text is cut into front face and the front face is welded to the back Corten face.
CORTEN WEATHERING STEEL SIGNS AND POSTS
Corten Steel (sometimes known as weathered steel) is a group of steel alloys that are often used in outdoor construction, including signs and posts. Corten Steel was designed to eliminate the need for painting and if left outside, exposed to the elements, it will develop a rusted appearance in just a few months.. The increased resistance of Corten Steel to atmospheric corrosion makes this product a great choice for outdoor signs and posts. The layer protecting the surface develops and regenerates continuously when subjected to the influence of weather; the steel is allowed to rust in order to form the protective coating. This sign achieves its color because a surface layer of rust forms because of oxidation and moisture, protecting the steel underneath from further deterioration and eliminating the need for paint.
Fig 6 - Photo of surface of Corten weathering steel showing the surface rust that has turned the gray steel surface to an orange-brown color after 12 months being exposed to the weather and moisture
When the metal gets wet and the dries out, the rust layer becomes a little thicker, while the underlying solid steel becomes thinner. The rust layer continues to take hold of the steel for two or three years before stabilizing. The result is a maintenance-free material with a unique aesthetic.
Corten steel plates are a low cost, low maintenance solution, ideal for park, trail and campground signs. Benefits include:
- Provides natural corrosion resistance
- Requires no paint or weatherproofing
- Exhibits high strength
- Requires minimal maintenance
- Creates a distinctive, artistic finish
OUR PRICES. Aluminum signs are among our lowest price materials. Typical price for a single custom designed 24" x 24" direct-printed sign is $250 to $300. Large quanties of similar aluminum signs have substantially lower prices, typically $150 for a 24" x 24" sign. Typical price for a 3/4" thick Corten weathering steel sign 24"x24" with a Corten backer is $400 in large quantities; a Corten sign 12" x 8" sign is $80. Corten posts 4" x 4" in thickness 6 ft long with welded tops have prices of $30 to $60 in large quantities.
Fig 7 - Full color direct printed Aluminum sign for a National Park
PLEASE CONTACT US - WE HAVE GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. Please call or email us for a price quote on a specific sign or post We will work with you to design and build the exact sign you want. One of our knowledgeable and helpful Customer Service Representatives, Christie, Regina, and Liz, will respond to your request promptly. Call us at 951-698-8484 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can fill out and submit our on-line Request an Estimate form. We take great pride in every sign or plaque we make for our valued clients.
HOW TO NAVIGATE THIS SITE. This webpage has two sections. The top section, beginning at photo M8002, shows photos of some of the aluminum signs we have designed and fabricated. The second section, beginning at photo 8510, shows photos of Cortel weathering steel signs and posts, both at the time of fabrication and after they have been exposed to the weather for several months, when rust has formed, turning the colors from gray to dark orange-red.
You can scroll down the page to see more sign designs by using the slider in the right edge of this page. You can expand a photo and get information on the sign by clicking on the photo. After you expand a photo, to return to this Gallery page, click on "Return to List" at the bottom right of the sign or text.
Business web pages (e,g, prices & design options, request a quote, place an order) and other informational web pages, including our Home Page, can be viewed by clicking on a title in the gray box in the upper left margin. Other Product and Application photo galleries can be viewed by using the slider to scroll down that gray box and clicking on a title. If you are on a cell phone, click on the 3 red bars on the top right of your screen to see this menu.