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  • Acrylic sheets for signs buy in or make?

  • Daniel Evans

    October 17, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Afternoon everyone

    How does everyone make their acrylic signs with the vinyl lettering on for offices / hotels etc?

    I normally buy the sizes I want online with the holes pre drilled then make them up here. This seems to take ages and I’m wondering whether it’s worth buying the acrylic in, cutting it and then buffing the edges myself.

    What do you all do, do you have a suppliers online that offers a faster turnaround at a reasonable cost?


  • David Hammond

    October 17, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    We do the same as you.Order in cut, polished and drilled.

    Lead times aren’t a problem 1-2 days typically.

    I’m not sure we could achieve the quality of the cut without a CNC, them there’s the mess, and when considering the time & effort, compared to firing an order off.

    Not sure which suppliers you’re using, but perhaps look at alternatives?

  • Chris Wilson

    October 17, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    MDP are very quick with there acrylic.

    If we have a fair sized job on I tend to order a full sheet of and cut out of that and use the off cuts until they are gone.
    But as David says it is messy. We had to buy a blade for the table saw so it doesn’t shred it. Then we flame polish each edge. It does take time. It is also fairly expensive for a full sheet that can sit for a while.
    I think if I had a job of 30 small signs for a doors I would just suck up the cost and use MDP and get on with other jobs till it arrives

  • David Rogers

    October 18, 2019 at 7:48 am

    I do a lot of acrylic ‘plaques’ and signs with cut vinyl and print on the back and it’s all in house for quality control. Half a dozen plaques a month…and some other stuff for photos and businesses.

    Buy the panels from local supplier (5 min drive) in usually 6, 8 or 10mm clear cast acrylic with instructions to make them ‘neat sides’.

    Then i remove all of the saw marks with a carbon steel scraper/shaver. (Side of a stanley not the blade).

    Remove the coatings and flame polish. Recoat one side with app-tape.

    Apply graphics.

    Mark out hole positions (8 or 9mm for our studs). I-spi. Do not pilot them. Use standard metal working HSS bits.

    The get PERFECT holes, put some scrap acrylic under the panel, clamp it down (speedclamp) and drill with a high speed, low pressure so you just get a dusty ribbon / fluff. You’ll break out of the back if the panel lifts…keep it flat and the drill will pass from the good panel to the scrap without so much as a blip.

    I’ve had panels lasered out before. Never impressed and the steps are always visible.


  • Daniel Evans

    October 18, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Thanks everyone.

    Dave, thank you so much for the detailed instructions. What flame polisher do you use?

    The issue I have with suppliers is I don’t know what hole sirs their cutting without actually calling up. I’d rather just email my requirements or do it online and within the next day or two receive my order, just not getting that service.

    I’ll have a look at MDP as I didn’t think about them

  • David Rogers

    October 18, 2019 at 8:03 am
    quote Daniel Evans:

    Thanks everyone.

    Dave, thank you so much for the detailed instructions. What flame polisher do you use?…

    Been using one of these for the last 15 years.

    Slide open the air valve on the top to soften the flame by 20%…set gas flow…and with practice it’s as good as any MEK powered unit.

    I’m the only one in my place that does it…a lot of potential to set it on fire if you go too slow or back up over hot areas still out gassing. 5 fires in 12" was the record by…let’s just call him ‘Steve’.


  • Kevin Mahoney

    October 18, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Where do you source your cast acrylic David? Pyramid only seem to stock extruded.
    I tend to just order in from Cherwell when needed. I’ve got one of those mini gas torches with a doming kit, had a go at flame polishing with it but I guess all the offcuts I have were extruded so loads of time spent achieving an only ok finish. Cherwell have a laser now & the finish is better than my efforts with the torch.

  • Pane Talev

    October 18, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    I think about this regularly but always comes down to dust and doing what I do best. Still outsourcing this kind of work. Best results have always been diamond polish with little flame polish to get rid of the sharp dimond polished edge/ corner.

  • David Rogers

    October 18, 2019 at 12:15 pm


    From ages ago…rush job so not as glass clear as normal.

  • Daniel Evans

    October 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Decided to outsource, put a little markup on it and move on.

    Thanks everyone

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