Neon signs

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Gary Pfeil, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I'm almost ready to start a project which is a flat backdrop building on which I would like to spell out the company name in red neon letters. Is anyone aware of commercially available lit up letters? Or have a suggestion on how to build same?

  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    There are a couple of ways to do it--electroluminescent wire is available which you can bend into lettery shapes, but it's kind of large for most modeling scales (would look best for O or large scale, or for a very large neon sign in HO.) There are also electroluminescent panels which can be "masked" to create the illusion of a neon sign. Finally, you can paint the letters in fluorescent paint, and place a "black light" bulb in front of the factory so the UV light makes the fluorescents glow.
  3. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Someone here...

    ...(on the-gauge) did a simple but effective neon look-alike using just markers on plain paper. No fuss-no muss. It might have been 88. I'd do a search for you but I am at work and taking a moment to respond.

    Mark announce1

    LOOK in The ACADEMY- Neon scratch in N, by Farnk G.
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Gary check with spitfire i think she had a line on neon signs.
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Hi Gary

    If you want to buy ready-made here's two places:
    Miller Engineering I designed several of their "Multigraphic" Signs

    Only disadvantage is that you are limited to the names they already have. The electroluminescent panels Jetrock is talking about are available from Miller Engineering. That's what they use for their multigraphic. You simply print on transparent adhesive backed material (from Staples?), or I guess a stencil would work too. Black is where you don't want light. The light will shine right through the colours, although it has a definite blue cast. Solid colours works best, tints don't look good - no matter how great they may look onscreen. So use combinations of 100% Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. When making your black here's a trick of the trade. It should be 100% of all the colours combined. Then it will be nice and opaque for your signs.

    Hope this helps. Neon is awesome in a city scene!!

  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Thanks to all, the electroluminescent wire Jetrock mentioned turned out to be perfect for what I wanted, thanks! Here are a few pics of how it turned out.

    Attached Files:

  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    The difference between the wire the way it comes and with a bit of dark grey chalk applied:

    Attached Files:

  8. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Fantastic Gary!! You've threaded it thru the building I would guess - great idea.

  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Wow...very impressive looking sign.:thumb:
  10. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Gary, this looks fantastically real. :thumb::thumb::thumb:

    I never heard about electroluminescent wire before. Where do you get it and how does it work? And can you bend it to any radius?

  11. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    That's great! Nice effect! How do you power it?
  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Thanks everybody. Val, yes I threaded it in and out of holes drilled at the ends of the letters which I had printed on the brick paper. Here is the flip side.

    Attached Files:

  13. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Ron, I had done a search for electroluminescent wire and actually found a couple places selling one variation or another. The one I wound up with is here:

    I first bought a 5' length and a 2000hz driver. Brightness wasn't what I wanted, so I then bought a 4000 hz driver and the super bright wire. The super bright wire has some orange tint to it, while the other is more red. When I attached the regular red wire to the 4000 hz driver, it too was bright. However, the 5" I bought was a few inches too short for my sign so I used the super bright, which I had bought 6' of. The driver runs on a 9 volt battery, tho I may connect a power supply to it. The driver (there are several to choose from) also has a position for providing a flashing sign.

    The radius you can bend to is fairly tight, considering the wire is pretty stiff, and wants to straighten itself out. The letter N in my sign shows the tightest bend you can get. Bend too far and the wire will no longer glow beyond that point. I wound up using a font with rounded letters for this reason.

    Here are two shots with my under construction 4 track Northeast corridor "module" in place in front of it. Weathering and application of high tension wires are basically what it still needs.

    Attached Files:

  14. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Thanks, Gary. These glow wires are really interesting stuff! jawdrop


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