Most sign shops that offer engraving on special substrates have it figured out already, so let’s move on to another challenge. In this case, how do you process a large metal panel that has a ton of small and large text that will not fit the working envelope of your equipment? Or if you can do it, how do you mask it off for paint filling after it is engraved? Many projects we work on incorporate a variety of metals such as aluminum, bronze and stainless steel and usually the metal surface is in its raw form with a mill finish. The final finished surface is sometimes an afterthought for some.
If you’ve tried paint filling individual letters by hand with an eye dropper and needle and end up with a perfect result, well then you are a true master. Unfortunately, some of us are not that talented nor have the time. Many are setup to handle the engraving and spray painting, but on the metal finishing side, it’s another story. This is when you hit the proverbial “Brick Wall” because without the proper equipment, it is going to be nearly impossible to achieve a perfectly brushed surface finish.
Engraved Metal & Paint Filling – the JIT Companies Way
So what’s the easy way you ask? This is how you do it. First, pick your metal of choice depending on what the project calls for. If you have the ability to engrave, we suggest a minimum depth of .025” for paint filling. Deeper is always better depending on the material thickness. If tooling marks are an issue after engraving, use a sandblaster with 150 grit silicon carbide or aluminum oxide to remove them. This will also give the surface more tooth for the paint to adhere to and prevent tool marks from telegraphing through the paint finish. You can then paint the panel surface but use a 2-part catalyzed paint. Matthews paint is usually the standard for this. Do not use a rattle can paint as this does not harden like a 2-part and gets soft due to heat buildup during metal finishing causing other issues. There is no need to be concerned about masking any of the text as this is addressed in the next step.
Metal Artisans at JIT Companies
Once the panels are painted and fully cured, the next step is wide belt finishing. This equipment is referred to as a stroke sander and it takes a very talented operator to handle this final step of the project. If this equipment is not available to you, don’t worry. JIT can help you get this done in record time. Just send your material to JIT and have one of our talented Metal Artisans put the finishing touches on it for you.
If you have questions or need assistance with your next engraving project, let JIT help you bust through that “Brick Wall” and on to the finish line. Contact us at 952-777-0022 – You’ll be glad you did!