How to Determine the Type of Letter for Your Sign
Changeable Letters are letters used to display custom messages on changeable letter signs. Signs that have changeable message boards include outdoor signs, marquee sign, portable signs, church sign,school sign, sidewalk sign, reader boards and restaurant signs. These signs have letter tracks or rails to hold letters on the sign. Changeable letters are available in a variety of types and sizes. Changeable letters signs are designed to use a specific type and size of letter so before ordering changeable letters you need to:
Determine the type of letter you need for your sign
Determine the size of letter your sign uses.
How to determine the type of letter for your sign
Most changeable letter signs use flat plastic letters. Older marquee signs or new signs built using classic architectural marquee theater design may use classic 3d or dimensional letters.
Flat plastic letters can be catagorized in two basic types. Flexible plastic letters and Rigid letters. These letters use different types of Sign letter track for mounting the letters on the sign and are not interchangeable. One of the most common mistakes made buying flat plastic letters is buying flexible plastic letters for signs that require Rigid Letters.
Flexible Plastic Letters
Flexible plastic letters are thin with a thickness between .025 mils to .030 mils depending on manufacture and can be easily bent from end to end by hand.
Note: 1 mil = 0.001 inches. .030 mil plastic letters are often compared to the thickness of a credit card.
Flexible plastic letters are also know as Flex-Change Letters or Copy Change Letters and are used on portable signs and ground level signs where the letters can be inserted by hand. The Flex letters bend to insert into the grooves of the signs track. Flex Change Letter track is also called "Flex Track" or “Texas Track”.
Flex Change letters are less expensive than rigid letters and is a very cost effective lettering choice for tight budgets and are inexpensive to replace. They are ideal for portable signage and ground level signs where messages can be changed by hand. Flexible letters are not well suited for overhead signs and cannot be used with a sign letter changing pole. For outdoor signs where the letters are enclosed behind a Plexiglass door, vandal or wind cover the DR acrylic flexible letter is recommended.
Flexible plastic letters are available in the same size in height as Pronto, Zip-Change and Rigid Letters . A common mistake made buying sign letters is purchasing flexible plastic letters that match the size and height of letters to use with a sign that uses the rigid style letter.
Placing Flexible Plastic Letters into Flex Letter Track
Rigid Plastic Letters
Rigid Plastic Letters are on a harder and thicker acrylic plastic with a thickness between .060 mils to .080 mils thick (.080 mills is about 1/8th inch). This can be compared to the thickness of 2 to 3 credit cards together. Rigid letters are often called by the manafactures brand name. Gemini Sign Letters, Wagner Zip-Change and DR Acrylic Rigid Letters are common brands of Rigid Letters. These letters all use the same type of sign letter track and are interchangeable and can be used on the same sign. Rigid letters cost more than flexible letters and offer several advantages.
- Rigid letters are printed on a higher grade acrylic plastic that is very durable, non fading and will last for many years.
- The harder rigid plastic will not blow out of the sign track and can be use with a letter changing pole for elevated signs.
- Available in a wide variety of fonts and colors.
Rigid letters are held on placed on the sign buy pushing the top of the letter under the top track, then pushing the letter flat against the sign and letting it drop into the bottom track.
The sign track used to hold rigid letter on a sign is often called “Push Up Drop Down Track or PUDD”. Depending of the manufacture it may also be called Zip Change track, Pronto track or 3 component track.
If your signs letter track looks like the track in this picture
your sign uses Rigid, Pronto or Zip Change Letters
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