Instructables
Picture of Road Sign Coffee Table
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Road signs are a great material -- strong, durable, weatherproof, and graphically interesting.  I made this table out of two old signs; the legs came out of a sign that was 1' x 7', and the top was made from a sign that was 2' x 5'.  Each of them are about thirty years old, which made the aluminum kind of brittle and prone to cracking on the bends.  This project builds on techniques I began experimenting with here:www.instructables.com/id/Foreclosure-Bowl/  and here:  www.instructables.com/id/Nine_Square_Chair/

Basically, I drilled holes in the sign to weaken it, then hit it with a hammer while holding it against an edge to effect the folds.  Again, because these signs were quite old, and not in the best condition, some cracking and breaking occurred.  I also was pushing the bending radius and tightness of the folds, which obviously was pushing it a bit too far in some cases.  Lastly, these older signs are considerably thicker than newer ones, which I suspect also contributed to the deterioration of the seams.

However, I still think the Instructable is valuable, in that this table is an experiment that enabled me to learn a lot about the material and the aesthetic possibilities of road signs.

I got the signs for free from some friends who inherited them with their apartment; other possible sources are junkyards, recycling centers, and eBay.  Don't steal signs.  Road signs are in place to protect people on the road; removing them illegally could have serious consequences, whether or not you get caught.

Since the signs were free, the only costs were drill bits and #8 machine bolts.  I estimate the whole project was between $10-15.  However, this method is pretty time-consuming.  Fortunately, it is the sort of thing that can be broken up over a series of weekends or nights.  I took me a month of working in my spare time to make it, roughly 25 hours.

Dimensions are all approximate, as I understand you may be trying to replicate this with different-dimensioned signs.  The important thing to keep in mind is the over ergonomics and human scale; a coffee table should sit no more than 17-18" off the ground, and be at least 18" wide by whatever length the couch is.

 
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Loopstyle2 years ago
Like like like!!!
bishopdante3 years ago
looks like those edges would cut a person
Sasha09084 years ago
this is awesome, ive got a couple street signs i've found in old lots around my house. cant wait to try thiss.
triumphman5 years ago
Be careful getting signs! There are morons out there with little to do but look for someone to hastle! I know from experience. I found an old sign and made some cool picture frames from it. A local (serve & protect) moron saw the scraps and threatened to arrest the person who destroyed the sign, even though it was mangled by a truck! Luckily he could not proceed dur to the signs condition. So beware they are out there eating donuts, coffee, and looking for you! 
 this is such a cool idea but i think it would look much nicer if it had a nicely finished wood framing and legs and you just used the top of the sign with a glass panel over it
Salsa7665 years ago
where do u get the street signs?
I would also like to know this...?
wholman (author)  tyeo0985 years ago
 fourth paragraph, guys.
Coooooool!
Kaiven5 years ago
You might want to fix the intro... All of your paragraphs are one big link! Haha, it's  a great instuctable though :)
wholman (author)  Kaiven5 years ago
 Yeah, I tried and tried to fix that; the Instructables editor is wacky on Safari and I didn't have better luck with FIrefox, so finally I just went with it anyway.  Besides this specific issue, the editor has been very buggy on me, freezing up and doing weird formatting things.  Maybe my OS is too old, or I'm missing some updates, I don't know . . . .
Kaiven wholman5 years ago
Oh, well I use Windows, so i usually have no issues. (hehehe...)
sam5 years ago
Hey awesome table! That would go along very nicely with the stereo I made out of road signs. There are some pictures on my website if you want to see it. samroesch.blogspot.com/2009/10/big-orange-boombox.html
Quite cool, and very good design.  It's nice to actually see the concept-model-work-finale process laid out too.  Drilling holes for a bend axis is interesting - I'm used to heating and bending metal, but I can see where this would save aesthetics - plus the hole pattern kind of matches the rivets you see on in-situ road signs.