Back Lit Signs

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Fred_M, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Back Lit signs can be made with a printer and overhead projector film. First you need to make your sign in the correct size to print and make it. This was made with a greeting card program and measures a shade under 3 by 2 inches. Smaller than this and they get too hard for my fat fingers. Also cut out a piece of white plastic (.030 or so) a piece of foamcore. Cut the foamcore as shown.

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  2. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest


    Next tape it all together into a sandwich as shown with box tape. Then cut the opening in the foamcore back open with a knife. You will also need a piece of metal tube and a small 12v lamp. I used K&S 8100 Aluminum and a Radio Shack 7219 bulb

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  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest


    I next cut the tube in ½ and mounted them into the foamcore with hotmelt. The bulb then just pushes in the tube and friction holds it and allows it to glow. Bend the bulb slightly towards the back so it doesn’t touch the plastic so it will not melt nor show as a real bright spot.

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  4. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest


    Next cut and tape a piece of Aluminum foil to the back and band the sign with a strip of tag glued on with hotmelt. Paint and make it as nice as you want.

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  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest


    Here’s a lights on view.

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  6. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Beacon in the Night

    Here’s a night view. Feel free to ask any questions…DASH

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  7. Lemur

    Lemur New Member

    Looks good. I'll have to give that a try. I am just getting in to adding more 'night scene' accents on the layout.
  8. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    This is almost exactly how I plan to make my Chevron street sign. (the one with the pricing) except instead of using a piece of styrene, I was thinking to paint the backside instead. A light coat with an airbrush should allow a decent amount of light through... I still haven't gotten to that part yet, I'll let you know how it turns out. At least I know I have this as an option. :D
  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I did the same as you're suggesting, Arlaghan. I just painted two coats (with a brush) of white on the back of the transparency. Should work even better with an airbrush.

    I think I might try something different next time just to compare the results, but I was very pleased with the end result.
  10. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Just watch what you use for paint. Last time I painted on this stuff with spray paint it shrivelled up. DASH
  11. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    That's a neat "how to " Dash10
  12. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    That's great! I nominate this "how to" for the Tutorial Forum.
  13. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Very neat. Wonder how hard it would be to make signs in N scale. Robin?
  14. Wayne

    Wayne New Member

    :cool: Thanks! This could look great on any layout. Gonna give this a try for sure. :D
  15. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    In the past I have made some really small signs for HO. After a certain point you hit a snag with the resolution of your printer and/or software. An example is, with the Print Artist program I use the smallest font it's capable of rendering is about a foot tall in N. It just won't go any smaller. A hint is to do small signs as address lables as this gives you a bigger screen to work on in the printing software. DASH
  16. George D

    George D Member

    A couple of years ago I picked up QuickCAD for designing structures. I discovered I could make great signs with it. You can scale the lettering down to any size you want. I can print words so small I need my reading glasses to read them - OK, a bad example since I use reading glasses to see anything up close.

    Here's a sign I did, the bottom rows of lettering are 0.11" tall, and I could have easily made them smaller.

  17. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Your sign looks good. But .11 is about 18 inches in N. Here is an example of the smallest I can print with a HP 660C on #94 Brightness paper. The caracters are aprox .060 which is around 10 inches in N and are not really acceptable to me. DASH

    Attached Files:

  18. George D

    George D Member

    I made some "NO TRESPASSING CB&W Railroad Property" signs for our club layout. The letters are 0.02 high, but I don't have any photos of them.

  19. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member glad you joined the forum, you have much to contribute.

    1 question:

    Is the aluminum tube the conductor for the light or do the wires go all the way thru it?

    OK 2 Q's-- If the alum. is the conductor, how did you attach the wires the the alum.?
  20. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    The tube is the conductor. The bulb I used has aprox. 2 inch tinned solid wire leads. I bent a small hook in the end and shoved them into the tube. The tubes then press through the roof in drilled holes into a piece of foam glued to the "floor". They are then connected to the wallpack with alligator leads. I use those small plug in wall packs to power my lights. I have a source where I get them used for a dollar each. One could use brass tubes and solder, but that's more work with solder and painting and all. DASH

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