Trimming polycarb on a job site

gnubler

New Member
Multi-tenant backlit directory sign. I've done two different panels on this sign in the past, 10ft wide by 32" tall. New job for another tenant, putting new panels in a different slot on the sign aaaaand... they don't fit. Had to buzz trim about 1/4" off one edge to fit into the retainer. We did it on site with a jigsaw, not pretty but good enough.

Has anyone encountered a snag like this and how did you handle it?
 

2B

Active Member
Yes, unfortunately, more than once

take;
* collapsable horses,
* modular straight edge x 2 (top and bottom of the material)
* c clamps,
* cordless circular saw with a finishing blade.

clamp the cutting edge top and bottom on the substrate. this will give extra rigidity and allow for a cutting guide


We got 6 sets of these to make any length needed
 

gnubler

New Member
That's pretty much what we did. Already had all the above listed stuff in the van, easier to just buzz it onsite rather than haul everything back to the shop.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Just be sure you are dealing with poly and not acrylic. Many people call things by the wrong name, unknowingly.
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
Cutting poly faces is a fact of life on installs. It happens when other people don't measure right or you don't have time to do proper survey and have to guestimate... or sometimes like you said, some slots are slightly off from others. Not a big deal, (unless the panel is too small.. for which I've been know to hack a fix for that too) I have a circular saw and jig saw on the truck, but most of the time I just use the jig saw because it's smaller and easier. I put the sign on the edge of a curb and cut it. Or I usually have spare 2x4s and use that to prop it up... or my boot but be careful. I don't know that using horses would be a good idea for me... it's usually winy here in TX and that poly is floppy. Whatever you do, It's fine if it's not 100% straight because retainer hides it anyway. Lot of times if there is a radius corner or some shape, I'll just make the sign and then while onsite, take the old one, put it on top and mark off the radius and cut in the field. I also have a battery powered jobsite blower that makes cleanup from the cutting easy.

 

gnubler

New Member
Good, then I'm not the only one. I had another one once where I had the measurement right on, but when we went to install it into the cabinet one of the rocks on the base of the monument sat too high and there was no way to slide the panel in without buzzing off 1/4" along the top. Whatever shop touches that one next is going to see my rough cut and laugh, but they'll quickly figure out why.

Tex - what's your hack for short cut panels? We pulled an old face out once that had a like a 1" strip of poly carb attached along the top edge to increase its height just enough to fit into the retainer.
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
Shoot some screws through the bottom of the retainer to prop up the polycarb panel high enough to stay in the top of the retainer. Then fasten it to the retainer so it don't pop out. I will say that is bad way to install polycarb, and it can eventually crack.
 
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