Have you read our Brief History of Acrylic and its’ Amazing Attributes? They’re the perfect lead-ins to this explanation of how Acrylic bends into perfect Sign Holders. Without further adieu, here’s the process in a nutshell…
Let’s say we’re going to make a 5-1/2” x 3-1/2” Horizontal Slant Back Sign Holder. We start with an acrylic sheet 5-1/2” wide by 7-1/2” high. To make that sheet pliable and get it to the desired height of 3-1/2”, we need to mark the line where we want to bend the sheet and create our base, then apply heat along that line.
Bending and forming begins with a Strip Heater and a little mathematical planning. Once the heater’s temperature is set (usually around 300 degrees Fahrenheit), the acrylic sheet is lined up following a guideline on the heater’s “element.” In our example here, the marked line will determine the size of our base…starting with a sheet 7-1/2” in height and turning it into a Sign Holder 3-1/2” inches tall. Of course, the angle of the slant must also be taken into consideration to determine the overall height.
After lining up the sheet’s “bend” point on the Strip Heater, both sides are heated until the acrylic becomes pliable and easy to form. You can actually see it soften along the “bend” line…it takes very little heating time to get the material into a formative state. From there, your sheet can be bent from both sides to the desired angle – the “slant” in our Sign Holder.
To ensure a perfect, consistently uniform slant, the sheet is then “formed” against a triangular shaped block, or Angular Former. Front and back sides are determined and solidified here – no turning back! Then, great care must be taken but once in place, all that’s left is to wait until the acrylic has cooled and again hardened back to its solid state. Just like that, the Horizontal Slant Back Sign Holder is ready for work, or shipment to the workplace.
While the entire process may seem fairly simple, there are several areas where a misstep can turn that acrylic sheet into garbage. Too much heat to start or improper cooling to finish? Big no-no’s. Bending the sheet without great care could result in a crooked stand, weakened structure, or a slightly lopsided base. Every edge has to be clean and straight if you’re an experienced professional!
This is just one in a myriad of acrylic forming processes we use, each being a special craft of its own. Manufacturing Sign Holders en masse and ensuring each is perfectly defect-free takes a high degree of expertise and careful attention to detail. It’s something to think about when considering your order…how each piece begins as a sheet and is transformed into something completely different. Whether creating sign holders, business card holders, donation boxes, or table tents, bending acrylic is another art form courtesy of the ever-evolving Industrial Age! If you’d like to know more about this or any of our amazing processes, stay tuned.