Cutting out the alphabet
#11
  
I have an up-coming project in which I will need to cut out several large letters (about 30" H). I will probably use 1/2" MDF or MDO for the letters themselves. Then I'd like to edge the letters with about 3" something to give them a 3D effect The edging to be at a right angle to the letter , sort of like a marquee sign. My problem is what to use for the 'wrap' material. It will have to bend easily to follow the contour of the letters. I've thought of metal flashing, 'bendy plywood' or seeing if I could just wet and bend thin plywood. The whole thing will be painted and lit, probably with LED strips, when finished. I don't love the idea of flashing because it's a little too thin and easily damaged. I have no experience with bendable plywood except to know it exists and would no doubt have to be special ordered. These letters are going to hang from a stage truss and be in place for awhile, so some degree of sturdiness is called for. Anyone ever attempted something similar or have any ideas?
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#12
  Re: Cutting out the alphabet by ed kerns (I have an up-coming ...)
(09-29-2021, 06:54 PM)ed kerns Wrote: I have an up-coming project in which I will need to cut out several large letters (about 30" H). I will probably use 1/2" MDF or MDO for the letters themselves. Then I'd like to edge the letters with about 3" something to give them a 3D effect The edging to be at a right angle to the letter , sort of like a marquee sign. My problem is what to use for the 'wrap' material. It will have to bend easily to follow the contour of the letters. I've thought of metal flashing, 'bendy plywood' or seeing if I could just wet and bend thin plywood. The whole thing will be painted and lit, probably with LED strips, when finished. I don't love the idea of flashing because it's a little too thin and easily damaged. I have no experience with bendable plywood except to know it exists and would no doubt have to be special ordered. These letters are going to hang from a stage truss and be in place for awhile, so some degree of sturdiness is called for. Anyone ever attempted something similar or have any ideas?

Thin Plexiglas and a heat gun?

Al
Some people are like a Slinky. Not really good for anything but still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

A dead enemy is a peaceful enemy. Blessed are the peacemakers.
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#13
  Re: Cutting out the alphabet by ed kerns (I have an up-coming ...)
Some letters are easier than others.
Big Grin

For letters that big that you are going to hang, I would suggest making 2 sets of letters with the front/top set having the insides of the letter stroke removed.

Since you are going to paint them anyway, that would let you put the joints in each layer wherever they are convenient.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
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#14
  Re: RE: Cutting out the alphabet by Allen ([quote="ed kerns" pi...)
(09-29-2021, 07:42 PM)Allen Wrote: Thin Plexiglas and a heat gun?

Al

Not a bad thought. Thank you.
I also notice that I've posted in "power tools" instead of woodworking. Oops!
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#15
  Re: RE: Cutting out the alphabet by ed kerns ([quote="Allen" pid="...)
(09-29-2021, 08:02 PM)ed kerns Wrote: I also notice that I've posted in "power tools" instead of woodworking. Oops!

fix't
Smile
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
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#16
  Re: RE: Cutting out the alphabet by iclark (Some letters are eas...)
(09-29-2021, 08:00 PM)iclark Wrote: Some letters are easier than others.
Big Grin

For letters that big that you are going to hang, I would suggest making 2 sets of letters with the front/top set having the insides of the letter stroke removed.

Since you are going to paint them anyway, that would let you put the joints in each layer wherever they are convenient.

Hmmm. I think I'm being dense here, but I'm not sure I follow you. Are you saying cut out the front side letter completely and then back it with a second letter with just the outer shape cut out - so it would look like a relief rising against the flat background? If I'm understanding properly I'd like more of a dimensional effect, as though the letters were 3" or 4" thick. Stage designers probably do this sort of thing all the time, but it's a first for me.

You are right that some letters are easier than others. I'm spelling GOLD and then painting/lighting it to appear ...er golden. Right now, I'm cursing the 'G', but I suppose it could be MISSISSIPPI!

(And thanks for the fix!)
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#17
  Re: RE: Cutting out the alphabet by ed kerns ([quote="iclark" pid=...)
(09-29-2021, 08:47 PM)ed kerns Wrote: Hmmm. I think I'm being dense here, but I'm not sure I follow you. Are you saying cut out the front side letter completely and then back it with a second letter with just the outer shape cut out - so it would look like a relief rising against the flat background? If I'm understanding properly I'd like more of a dimensional effect, as though the letters were 3" or 4" thick. Stage designers probably do this sort of thing all the time, but it's a first for me.

You are right that some letters are easier than others. I'm spelling GOLD and then painting/lighting it to appear ...er golden. Right now, I'm cursing the 'G', but I suppose it could be MISSISSIPPI!

(And thanks for the fix!)

You are welcome.

I did not describe it well.

I meant that the front letter was just the outline of the letter. That outline is then glued to a solid letter as backing.

If you make the front and back letters the same size, you get the effect that you described of wrapping an edging around the letter.

I am not sure, but the 3D effect might be even more enhanced if the rear letter is a little larger than the front letter.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
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#18
  Re: Cutting out the alphabet by ed kerns (I have an up-coming ...)
(09-29-2021, 06:54 PM)ed kerns Wrote: I have an up-coming project in which I will need to cut out several large letters (about 30" H). I will probably use 1/2" MDF or MDO for the letters themselves. Then I'd like to edge the letters with about 3" something to give them a 3D effect The edging to be at a right angle to the letter , sort of like a marquee sign. My problem is what to use for the 'wrap' material. It will have to bend easily to follow the contour of the letters. I've thought of metal flashing, 'bendy plywood' or seeing if I could just wet and bend thin plywood. The whole thing will be painted and lit, probably with LED strips, when finished. I don't love the idea of flashing because it's a little too thin and easily damaged. I have no experience with bendable plywood except to know it exists and would no doubt have to be special ordered. These letters are going to hang from a stage truss and be in place for awhile, so some degree of sturdiness is called for. Anyone ever attempted something similar or have any ideas?

To be clear you are wanting something that looks a bit like this?

   

You said you wanted to cut out the letters but this is sort of screaming for CNC where one could either do a two layer (background + outline) glue-up or a pocketing operation. A glue-up would probably be a bit stronger. 

Do you happen to know anybody in your area with a CNC? Perhaps a local woodworking club or guild could help make the connections.
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. -- G. Carlin
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#19
  Re: RE: Cutting out the alphabet by iclark ([quote="ed kerns" pi...)
(09-30-2021, 03:01 AM)iclark Wrote: You are welcome.

I did not describe it well.

I meant that the front letter was just the outline of the letter. That outline is then glued to a solid letter as backing.

If you make the front and back letters the same size, you get the effect that you described of wrapping an edging around the letter.

I am not sure, but the 3D effect might be even more enhanced if the rear letter is a little larger than the front letter.

Gotcha. That makes sense. Thank you!
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#20
  Re: RE: Cutting out the alphabet by Rob Young ([quote="ed kerns" pi...)
(09-30-2021, 08:33 AM)Rob Young Wrote: To be clear you are wanting something that looks a bit like this?



You said you wanted to cut out the letters but this is sort of screaming for CNC where one could either do a two layer (background + outline) glue-up or a pocketing operation. A glue-up would probably be a bit stronger. 

Do you happen to know anybody in your area with a CNC? Perhaps a local woodworking club or guild could help make the connections.

That's a pretty impressive illustration you have there! Yes, that is pretty much exactly what I had in mind. I think I'd like the outer edge to be maybe 3" in thickness. Will a typical cnc cut that thick? I know of a couple of hobbyist guys nearby that have them. Maybe I'm underestimating the capability?
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