Sign Letters F A Q
Some helpful information we're often asked about. If you still have questions try us at (877) 294-8717.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: The two most common types are Flexible and Rigid. The number (.030, .060, .080, .090) designates the thickness of the plastic. Flex letters are .030 which allows them to bend or “flex” to be inserted into the Flex Letter Sign Track (Flex Track picture). Flex track has the same depth slit in the track, top and bottom.
Rigid letters are thicker (.060, .080,.090) and do not need to be bent or bowed to be inserted into the Rigid Letter Sign Track . Rigid letter track is a 3 component track consisting of a Top, Mutual (or Dual), and Bottom (Rigid Track picture). The top of the letter goes into a deeper slot, allowing the letter to be pushed up, then in towards the sign, and dropped down into the track below. (illustration). Part of the top of the panel will still be into the top slot so the letter does not fall out of the track. Remove the letter the same way.
When measuring for size, measure the height of the letter, the height of the plastic the letter is printed on, and the thickness of the plastic. Let's take the height first, and we'll deal with the thickness next. For example, 8″ on 8 7/8″ clear back (panel) means that the letter itself is 8 inches high and the clear plastic (the actual piece that fits into the sign) is 8 7/8 inches high. The 2nd measurement is the most important since that's what actually fits into the sign.
* Note - If you acquired a sign with no letters, look at the pictures (Flex Track picture) and (Rigid Track picture). Compare the track on your sign to the pictures. Flex track is approximately 1 inch high, rigid letter track is 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches. Next, cut a rectangle out of cardboard (like a cereal box) and cut it to fit into the sign. Measure the cardboard and this should be the height of the plastic you need to order. If you are not sure, call us - (877) 294-8717
A: Thickness is measured in 1,000ths of a inch. The letters you will find on our pages for the typical changeable letter sign are .030, .060, .080 and .090. A Flex letter that is .030 is 30/1000ths of an inch thick. That's the same thickness as a credit card. Lay your letter on a flat surface with a credit card next to it. There should be no difference in thickness between the two. If you put two credit cards together it makes .060, a Rigid letter and the next in our letter thickness list. A Rigid letter that is .080 is about the same thickness as a nickel, which is about 80/1000ths thick, or .080 (an 1/8″ is .125). The .090 letters are, as you might have already figured out, 3 credit cards thick.
A: The obvious being the .090 is thicker! Other than that, the .060, sometimes referred to as an “econo” letter, is less expensive. The only problem, albeit only an occasional one, seems to be under certain wind conditions the .060 thickness can allow a letter to move, or “walk” in front of another letter. They don't come out of the sign, and it's not a common occurrence, but just be aware that this can happen.
A: The acrylic that most rigid letters are printed on (all that we carry) is a higher quality with additives that protect them from weathering, turning yellow and getting brittle. These are often designated DR (Rohm & Haas). Another obvious reason is because the rigid letter plastic is thicker, but it's the type and treatment of the acrylic that accounts for most of the added expense. The cost is more, but the result is a letter that lasts 10 times longer. Rigid letters are more often used in overhead signs, out of reach. This, combined with the different track configuration, means they probably won't need replacing very often, which justifies making them more durable. There are Flex letters (.030DR) made from this same type of acrylic, and they are also more expensive than the regular pvc type plastic. The .030DR (Flex) letters have the same durable qualities that are found in the rigid letters. If you are replacing letters for a sign that has doors on it (plexiglas or glass), whether they are flex or rigid, you will definitely need the “DR” designated letters to withstand the intense heat build up that occurs in an enclosed sign. If not enclosed, the standard flex letters should last around 3 to 5 years, and sometimes longer depending on care and how often they're changed. Because they are used in ground level signs, the lower price makes them more attractive when replacement is needed due to other than age.
Click here for .030DR flex letters.
A: The track that holds flex letters allows you to put the letter in the bottom track, then flex it to get it into the top track, or vice versa. The track for rigid letters is a little different, you must put the letter into the top track, push it up then drop it down into the bottom track. A flexible letter will bulge out in the center, between the upper and lower track, a rigid letter should stand straight up and can slide in the track. Examples of each can be seen at the bottom of our Sample Letters page. Pictures of flex track and rigid track. Rigid letters are used in overhead signs (as well as some ground level signs) and can be changed with a “change pole”, flex letters must be inserted by hand. Rigid letters are usually done on a better grade of acrylic and last longer then flex, although flex letters are available on Hi-Impact (DR) acrylic for longer life.
A: Size can be a problem here, back height between Flex and Rigid is not always the same. If the same size is available, a flexible letter will fit into a rigid track (a rigid letter is too thick to go into a flexible track). A Flex letter is “gripped” top and bottom when inserted into the proper track, but is often very loose when used in a track meant for Rigid letters. Because they are thin, a flex letter can fall down behind the rigid track and not stay in place. And when not used with the proper track, they tend to blow out in the wind, or to be blown together and bunched up. Another factor to consider is that flex letters WILL NOT work with a change pole. For these reasons it is not recommended.
A: Track is usually “pop” riveted onto the sign face, and is replaceable. We carry both Flex letter track and Rigid letter track. In addition, the sign face itself can also be replaced. Sign faces can be purchased with or without track already installed on it, in several different sizes.