Justice League Edge Lit Sign with Laser Foil


#1

Are you getting ready for this movie?? I’m hoping it lives up to its hype. I wanted to try an edge lit sign with some “blacked out” portions so the design is more visible in daylight and thought this was a good graphic to try. I used gold toned Laser Foil that I got from Johnson Plastics (link at the end of the post). It was mostly successful. I just had an issue with applying the foil to the acrylic without bubbles. Here are some of the steps and hints if you try it, or something like it.

Here it is in the bed just after cutting. I removed the masking from the acrylic by marking the size of the design on the masking material and then tore it off only for the section of the design. TIP: Draw a cut box around your light board graphic when designing and just cut that box out out before peeling the masking and applying the foil. TIP: Use paper mask again after applying the foil. Smoke was pretty easy to clean up, but you can see some cleanup would have been needed around the shield at the top. Here’s where you can really see all of the bubbles I had when applying the foil. I’m terrible at this even with vinyl decals I make on my Silhouette. The foil is even more unforgiving when applied to acrylic. It sticks as soon as it touches. Will have to practice. :grimacing:

Here are all of the components after peeling off the excess foil. I used Medium Proofgrade Acrylic settings for all the passes. The gold text was deep scored, the outside of the shield was deep engraved, and the JL in the shield was cut out for some added interest. I wanted to see how interior cuts affected the lighting. They didn’t diminish the light much, at least when done near the top of the light board. I used a cheap battery operated LED base that I got online a long time ago. The material that came with it isn’t cast acrylic, so I did set that aside and used Proofgrade. TIP: If adding anything extra to cut through, slow the automatic cut setting speed down a bit. Settings for Proofgrade cuts are very precise. Even the addition of the slightly tougher foil caused the laser to barely cut through. I had to use some force to pop out the JL. If I’d had another layer of masking, it may have adversely affected the cut. TIP: The slot in the sign base was a little bigger than the Medium Acrylic. Instead of using thicker Acrylic and having to engrave for a tight fit, I cut the Hobby Lobby peel and stick felt and applied it to the bottom. The photo shows it already applied and it made for a snug fit. I cut the extra one also in the photo, but didn’t need it. Saved on laser time and material cost.

OK, Here it is when not lit. It was actually lighter in the room, but photographed against a black TV screen with window light reflecting off the foil. Note the bubbles. Must find a way to get better at that. :thinking:

And finally, here it is lit up. Looks good even with the foil on it and the interior cut out. If I can get over the issue of applying the foil without bubbles, I’ll be making a lot of these.

You could use anything that’s laserable to black out the letters. I don’t think that removing the mask on the letters and painting them would work though. I assume that paint would get in the score and not light well. Anyway, here’s a link to the Laser Foil.

http://www.johnsonplastics.com/engraving/engraving-supplies/laser-foils/bright-gold-6-x-25-engravable-laser-foil


The New and Improved Laser Foil Sign - May the Force be With You
#2

That foil looks fantastic! (Bubbles and all.) :grinning:
(Might have to snag some of that!)


#3

Holy cow, that’s awesome!!! Nice write up, I’m now inspired to make an acrylic sign today.


#4

Thanks, I was pleasantly surprised that it lit so well with areas being covered and with just the score around them. I thought I might need to a thin engrave to get a good glow, but the letters in this graphic were too close together to try that. Maybe next one.


#5

It’s awesome, both lit and dark! Very nice job!


#6

I am impressed, that looks awesome. I really like the effect you managed!

:clap:


#7

Edge lit signs with just scores look great when lit up, but are hard to see when off in daylight. Engraved areas are very readable in daylight, but give a different look when lit. This is a little more work, but is the best of both worlds. And - the sigh would have taken a lot longer to run with a large engrave area.


#8

Yeah, I can imagine it would. I just love seeing people come up with things I haven’t thought of yet. I really like this idea and it looks great.

Please post if you decide to go bigger now that the concept is proven :smiley:


#9

Oh snap. :heart:


#10

Maybe bigger when I learn how to apply foil better!


#11

This is great! Appeals to my love of acrylic, edge-lit signs, and also shiny blingy stuff! I’m sure you’ll figure out the bubble thing. Great job, Bill!


#12

:clap: :clap: :clap: that is very cool.


#13

Puncture the bubbles with a needle to remove the air, not the best solution but it will look even better!!


#14

As my old pal Zaphod would say… That’s amazingly-amazing!

I remember seeing a video about this about a year ago back when Laserbits still existed and the woman basically squeegeed the foil first. I just got my foil last week and haven’t tried it yet.

Oh, here… Looks like I’d bookmarked that exact video…


Interestingly-enough, the 1st comment states “the correct way to minimize bubbles is to peel one end to expose the sticker abd fold back the backing. line up the sticky edge then stick and rub flat on the surface. then while using the other hand to pull the remaining backing and then the other hand to rub it down. just like how they install large format stickers.”


#15

I kind of half used that method. I don’t think I was patient enough. Will keep working on it. There is also a “wet” method of installing vinyl decals that I’ll try on acrylic. You dampen the surface with a wetting solution before attempting to lay the vinyl, that makes it not immediately stick and gives you a chance to work out the bubbles. Then you squeegee out the water underneath and let it set up a bit. As the water is displaced, the bond takes hold. Don’t know how this will work with this foil, but I’ll give that a try. It may even work on Proofgrade wood because the finish would keep the wood from absorbing the wetting solution.


#16

We float our PEI sheets onto the borosilicate when prepping them for the 3D printers - it’s a good technique. Gives a lot of extra time…definitely worth a shot.

That stuff looks awfully wasteful though - that video makes me cringe at how much of the foil gets tossed. It’d have to be one heck of a need for glam before I’d spring for it. (Yes, I’m a total tightwad on my maternal grandfather’s side.)

Beautiful results though.


#17

Yeah, no kidding. And the stuff’s not exactly cheap. I’m thinking when I do use it, maybe I’ll cut it, with the backing still on, to the approximate shape I want, and then stick it on. I don’t think the laser’s actually doing anything to help it adhere to a surface… I think it’s just cutting it.


#18

I was originally going to use less. I cut it at just the height of the lettering, but the width of the roll was about the height of the design and I wouldn’t have had a lot left if I put it sideways and saved the cut off. As I was going to put it on, I also thought that I might leave some on the top shield in gold. I decided against it after cutting.


#19

I was thinking about the price of the laser foil as I was cutting my first LED sign tonight. (You inspired me with the foil and the smart felt idea :slight_smile: ) I really love the look of the foul, but it is a bit pricey. I’m thinking of trying some of my specialty vinyl instead. Since I already have the SVG ready to go, it shouldn’t be too hard to fire up the vinyl cutter. I’ll let you know how it works out.


#20

A slightly cheaper source of laserable foil is Oracal 352, such as this available from Signwarehouse.com. You get about twice as much (15" wide by 30 ft long) for about the same price as the Laserbits foil which is 6" x 25 ft. The Oracal 352 is a polyester based foil. I’ve tried it and it works great in the Glowforge.