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Need Help Aluminum sign ink, what's in it?


New Member

I use aluminum signs in a way that's probably a little unusual. I'm an artist and I've been using them in my art. Basically, I do my black and white line art on my computer, then I have it printed on aluminum signs. Then, I sand it lightly and paint over it with acrylic paint. It works really well, the line quality and detail is excellent and I actually find it to be a nice surface to paint on.

So, here's my question. What's in the ink? What is it made of? I've been sending out to a few of the suppliers that come up when you google "aluminum signs". I've asked them for a little more info about their inks but I guess it's like asking for the formula for coca-cola because all they tell me is "we use UV resistant inks". Specifically, I'd like to know if the black uses carbon black the same way laser print toner does. If it does, then I think it's very stable and isn't going to fade any time soon. I haven't printed any color signs because I'm pretty sure that would fade pretty quickly (in a few years). Any further info that anyone here could give me would be greatly appreciated.



DIY Printer Fixing Guide
I would assume it was printed on a UV curable flat bed printer. Most UV curable inks are rated at 3 year outdoor durability without laminate. Depending on how much exposure they get they can last much longer. The manufacturers do not report the pigments used however so there isn't really a way of knowing which ones they use. As far as what it's made of, essentially the same thing a modern tooth filling is made of. It's a polimer that hardens when exposed to UV light.


Active Member
typically the aluminum has a baked enamel coating on it.

if the current source for signs if printing directly to the material (no vinyl), they are using a flatbed printer or a variation. here is where you can get a wide range of options, most flatbeds are either a UV ink, latex ink, but there are many other options for inks, solvent, eco-sol, plastisol, etc.