Fablab sign?

Yup, 1/2" or less. I’ll update the top post.

@Teya no worries, take your time! We’ve got six letters to make and they’re not even all claimed yet, I will probably only really harass the LAST person.

In the meantime I made a vinyl cutter letter A, on laser cut acrylic. I’m not a perfect vinyl cutter applicator I hope this looks okay in the hallway. Per request it does not require power to light up, but it does glow in the dark!


I love it. I do. Colors, size, shape, font, texture mix…

But it brings up Font topic.

Was I thinking of giving the Eff a hammer head on top bar and wrench end on the mid bar? Umm yeah. But not necessarily decided. Creative play required between these ears. Even though those adjusted font details [hammer head and wrench end], might be more woodshoppy or metalshoppish. But their eventual signage doesnt have any EFFs. Neither will any other
… oh wait. I forgot about fotography dept and their heavy use of tiny hammers and tiny wrenchrs. /s

Also, while it may not matter to us creatives if we have a hump top A and also a pointy top A in the same word, will that detract from readability? Im not judging. Just asking.

We dont have to SET or require a font. But I do wish to go thru an approval step. And even tho there is a part of me that wants to say “Just try and tell me no”… i really am a team player first. This community of givers is way ahead on the topic of giving to me, and im racing to try and give back in meaningful bucketfulls. If I can. Knowing I dont HAVE to. I want to.

And thanks for the thickness specification. I was (dum dumpt dee dumb) headed for an inch thick, with 2 half inch layers. Its no trouble at all to adjust to the obvious compatibility with door style requirement. I hadnt even looked at the wall to determine where we were hanging it. And I doubt if vertically stacked is in the plan …based on the picture. Maybe i can make the raised portion outa teflon. [Im funning ya. No teflon in laser or 3d printers, right? ]

The next slipperiest polymer is UltraHighMolecularWeightPolyEthylene. UHMPE. But you cant print with it. I didnt stutter. Any meltable version isnt really UHMPE. And the high heat and smell would require a vented box if we could. And a well heated box [oven?] would be required too, due to sky high Coefficient of Thermal Expansion. [ it would just release itself during printing if using a moving bed.]

I have more to think on other signs. Our building is sign poor, but getting better all the time.

Is it a decision that we dont have outdoor signage? Just wondering.
I recently DIDNT bring leftover [preserved] wood to give away after our remodel project. Because I know its not allowed INSIDE the building. Doesnt mean a few of us tailgate carpenters cant slap sumpm together with our battery powered tools. No routering of course.
I can see it.
“MakeICT” in presreved and unpainted [boring] wood.
Or in colored plastic decking material?

Maybe a 2x6 preserved wood plank with our weblinks routed in at somebody’s home garage?
Im sure im the first person to talk about this. /s

Ok I think I’ll volunteer to take the second B, as it is the first letter of my last name. and I really really like that color scheme.

However I am not yet authorized on the vinyl cutter, I do have access to one here at home which can handle a 9in by 5.5in, but haven’t used it in a long time.

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Here’s some reading about that: MakeICT Sign and Monument


Outdoor signage is on the short list of items the board is trying to do this year. We have signage, handicap parking and AC on this short list.


The vinyl cutter doesn’t require authorization, so feel free to use it whenever! All of the vinyl on the shelves is free to use. The wiki instructions are here: https://wiki.makeict.org/wiki/Graphtec_FC2200-90/EX


I’ve done some machining of UHMWPE. It’s seriously difficult to achieve precise final dimensions.

A way to think of it as a single long molecule that is twisted and folded back on itself and that the resulting twisted portions are also twisted and folded back, and so on. So, severing the molecule results in a process of untwisting from the newly created ends and a reduction of density that propagates as time passes. Effectively it grows in a measurable way for several minutes after cutting/drilling/grinding/etc.

Weird stuff and that’s aside from the temperature coefficient of expansion, which isn’t close to linear and has weird hysteresis type effects.

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You are correct. It IS a single massive molecule. But the “springy” effects are a part of HOW it is made into this one big molecule.
And you are right, it is chockablock with internal stresses. That ARE actually halfway predictable.
The recipe [if you care] is pretty close to this process ;
Take the highest molecilar weight MELTABLE polyethylene you CAN manufacture. The higher the MW you make it, the harder it is to handle the granules in the liquid suspension where it is made. But the granules and pellets are handleable AND meltable. Too high a molecular weight and the only place you can use it is on jupiter. But before you put it in a hopper to mold into slabs, angles or other sellable structures, you are going to mix in some crosslinking peroxides. But they arent heat labile peroxide linkers. It takes radiation to set them off.
Then out of the supermixer and into the
hopper of a giant extruder where it gets molten and quickly turned into rods, slabs, and other shapes an extruder can make.
Then its cooled down and has all the native stresses of a polyethylene. Predictable ones. It has a pretty high CTE as polymers go as its not yet densified. The molecules have more freddom to reptate. Reptation means a long molecule can wiggle like a snake. And even at room temp, polyethylene has some tiny amount of molecular wiggling going on. And this contributes to its properties as a soft [ish] solid.
Now irradiate it. Expect the crosslinking to grab nearby snaking molecules, and pin them from reptating. You didnt stop all reptating, but you did reduce it a lot. And in this step… the material actually shrinks from the reduced rotational freedom of the molecules. But the shrinkage induces a new stress that manifests as a released spring when you cut the plank.
3 sets of stresses combine to confuse the F out of ya.

  1. Normal CTE shrinkage stresses
  2. Extrusion stresses in the direction 90 degress to the extrusion length. [Counterintuitive, i expected them higher in the long direction, but ive heard they depend on wether you are “more pushing” or “more pulling” the bar out of the extruder as it cools.]
  3. Crosslinking shrinkage stresses.

Should I have asked if you WANTED to know all that? You were more than halfway there so I could tell you pay attention to internal stresses.
Composites stresses are typically more complicated. But the same automated programs are applied to try to predict them.
I have machined a number of plastics and composites [not here] and you do always have to be ready for the surprises of relieving stresses you didnt know lurked inside. Sometimes you can just anneal it beforehand. But not UHMWPE. You will likely get a permanently curved rod or plank.
But you can do a near net machining, then anneal it and see if its still in tolerance. And finally, do a final finish machining. Must users dont do much more than cut to length, then drill holes to mount it. The vast majority of it winds up in conveyor belt lines [airports AND mines] as well as use in front loader bucket liners, like in Canada’s tar sands mines. Nothing lasts as long. Teflon isnt nearly as tough or strong.

If MakeICT used it to make our outdoor sign, it would last longer than steel. And very few spray paints can stick permanently so if we have tag artists in the hood, wipe-off is easy.
BTW, i know of a $$$ coating that may help with that on a vinyl sign too. A nanoceramic coating. Wait, it works best if you can heat set it. Vinyl film cant be heated that much. It shrinks when you heat it… a lot.

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I’m happy to help you on the vinyl cutter for this too, message me! Another thought - I have just re-learned how to put a sharpie in that machine and draw out a cool design, so if you’ve got a dream and an SVG, we can do it, might be a cool other way to show off the fablab.

@teya I almost did NOT post my A because I don’t want to bias anybody. So everybody else… don’t look at it. Do your thing! Make it readable, or barely readable, artistic or not, I want us all to be different. I like the tool EFF idea :slight_smile:


Ok, I’m working in Inkscape during free time at work… and went shopping last night for interesting patterned vinyl just getting ideas right now.


I was going to say that there’s no way I can do that coral color on black that I like from the above image with sharpies cuz no marker would cover black that well… but oooo you have me thinking about a negative image…


This is FUN. I enjoyed playing along and learning on the vinyl cilutter this morning. I got some more much needed inkscape practice, and p9ndered drawing my letter F.
Then adding hammer head and wrench. Object Path stuff I am sure was mentioned in lasercutter training. But i forgot about.
I failed a bunch this morning coz i tried. Oms keep trying.

And i met John Miller and learned that he is helping Gemma with 3D printers. We had a fun moment talking about that and our gratitude to those who train and those who maintain. Wow what a great place.

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I’ve made my SVG for the plotter,

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I’ve got my A done. I did it in accrylic as a two part tile. Basically cut my letter out of blue acrylic and shadowed a backing for it in green acrylic. I glued the two together using contact cement and it didn’t turn out too badly. Pictures will be forthcoming once my phone is charged.



Good going.
I look forward to seeing it. I printed my first F protoptype so there is that progress.