3D Insructable Sign




heres a step by step to constructing your own 3D sign with out a laser engraver/cutter

Step 1: Patterns

the first step is making patterns. I downloaded the images of the logo by doing a screen capture
then traced them in coreldraw, but you could probably do this in most graphics programs or do it by hand and use a projector if you need to enlarge it. I then sent it to my plotter to draw the pattern on paper, again you could do this by hand also.

Step 2: Cutting Substrates

I then glued the paper patterns by first spraying the backside of the paper the letting it dry so as not to melt the styrofoam then burnish it on to the styrofoam, went to the bandsaw and cut it out. The foam is just the pink (or blue or gray) insulating foam found at most hardware / lumber stores. the acrylic is available at sign shops and plastic stores such as Tap Plastics or online.

Step 3: Carving

This foam is very easy to carve basic tools would include a bread knife, x-acto, and sandpaper.

be very easy with the sandpaper, if you get to aggressive you start pulling out chunks, and finer grits are usually better

After carving is done put two to three coats of waterbased primer on the foam and let dry well,
you should then be able to paint with just about any paint without affecting the foam, but to absolutely
use water based paints throughout this portion of the project

Step 4: Cutting the Acrylic

now this part is where we could use a laser cutter, if we only had one. Again glue your patterns to the acrylic and take it to the bandsaw.

Then get some vinyl scraps from your local sign shop and put it in you laser cutter (oops) plotter and cut it out. if you dont have a plotter or laser engraver get a sign shop to cut it for you or print it out full size carefully cut out with an exact knife after lightly misting the paper pattern and adhering it to the vinyl.

Step 5: Finishing Up

I didn't have any orange acrylic for the background so I painted some yellow acrylic orange using krylon
spray bombs. I then positioned the smaller acrylic pieces and used silicon to glue it down. I then glued down the carved hand to finish off the sign.

Step 6: Some Examples

Heres a few signs I've done using these techniques. The Juice Co logo on the brown wall uses EL wire around it and glows at night. The Klassy Ragz logo has a background spayed with same coating used to spray bedliners.

See more of my work at http://home.budget.net/~signjon/Home.htmwww.jpgrapicsdesign.com



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    32 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Step 6

    tools can be as simple as an electric carving knife for foam and some sandpaper to smooth it. paints are just acrylics and you can use house paints as most of these are.

    you could do a couple layers of primer and then coat with spray on bedliner in a can if you need a more durable surface

    you can get a scrollsaw for pretty cheap at the pawn shop, I paid less than 60 bucks


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Step zero: aquire a $7000 laser cutter.

    Ive used a laser cutter before to etch my iPod. But that was at TechShop Durham in NC. About 400mi away from my house. Techshop was a side trip. But where else does one have acess to a laser cutter? Preferably an epilog.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 2

    "Did you Dharma makes spray glue." >> ""Did you know Dharma makes spray glue?"


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I think with this same method, you could make the Left 4 Dead Hand On the Box. ( Runs to try it out ). Great Instructable.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    England mate, could use the info but i need a 16ft by 2ft sign and it would look great by somebody that knows what their doing ;)

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I can probably get you hooked up if I know what city, Theres several guys I can get you hooked up with that live in the UK including England


    9 years ago on Step 6

    I need a shop sign but think it's 2 far to post and would cost a lot to send it :( Yaour great at what you do .... keep it up

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    You inspired me...I had my hand on hand from a previous project. I actually made several of them by pouring plaster of paris into regular latex medical gloves. You can form them somewhat by manipulating the full gloves before the plaster sets up. the letters are cut from EPS foam with my hotwire. All mounted on cardboard....thought you might enjoy seeing this, and thanks for your ible. Cman