Making the CboysTV Sign from Metal and Precision Board HDU

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to host guest blogs written by some of the signage industry’s biggest movers and shakers, posted to the Precision Board Blog.  This guest blog is written by Joe McCarthy with Joes Garage, based in Phoenix, Arizona.  Joe shows us how he fabricated a very large metal sign for the CboysTV YouTube Channel using Precision Board HDU on the inside for support and to reduce the overall weight of the sign.


In Joe McCarthy’s own words…


This sign was commissioned by a popular YouTube channel from Cormorant MN called CboysTV.  The Cboys are a group of 7 friends who take motorized sports to the limit. In the process of designing the sign the question got asked “how big do you want it” the answer was “as big as you can make it!”


The design for the sign came solely from a bumper sticker that was sent to me from the Cboys. The logo was a representation of a motorcycle sprocket and chain, along with a motorcycle helmet and the CboysTV lettering. I knew that I would be making the sign from metal and due to the size, I also knew I would need to be concerned about the weight right from the start. My Brother is a sign carver and owns Yankee Woodcarvers in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He told me about high-density urethane (HDU) sign board. I immediately tracked down a local supplier, Glantz & Son in Phoenix, Arizona, who is a supplier for Coastal Enterprises Precision Board HDU.


I began the build by making a digital copy of the Cboys logo and projecting it through an overhead projector onto two full sheets of clean cardboard. I traced the image on to the cardboard to produce a full size 7-foot-tall template. I used this template to do a complete cardboard mock up of the sign. There was a lot of engineering involved in a sign of this size from the frame work, the chain link size, the mounting brackets and how everything was going to bolt together. Remember this sign will taking a 7-day 1200-mile trip from Phoenix AZ to Cormorant MN. In the back of a semi-trailer.

The Frame for the sign was made from 16 sections of 1.5” x 1.5” thin wall mild steel tubing with 1” x 1” reinforcements. I then covered the frame work with 22 gauge cold rolled steel sheet metal for the sign base. The sprocket / chain link sections were made in four equal sections. I cut most of the metal sprocket and chain link parts by tracing a plywood template with my plasma cutter then glued the 32 chain links to a slightly bigger cut out of 1/2 thick 15# (Ed note: PBLT-15) Coastal Enterprises HDU foam. The HDU foam was painted flat black and added to give the chain links added thickness and depth. The sprocket sections were set off from the base using two 2” tall bands of perforated sheet metal, this perforated channel would then become the light box where over 30 LF of multi-color, remote control LED light would be installed. 3/16” round rod with decorative spot welds and chrome acorn nuts were added to the front of the sprocket sections to add more visual texture.

The CboysTV lettering was made in the same manner using 22 gauge sheet steel with a deeper 3” perforated light box and the same decorative tack welded round rod on the front outside edges. I used a thicker, 1” thick sheet of Coastal Enterprises Precision Board HDU, which was also painted flat black, to give the “Cboys” lettering even more thickness and depth. I don’t have any fancy CNC tools in my shop and used a band saw and reciprocating saw to cut out all my HDU parts.

Lastly, the motorcycle helmet was made from a 1” and a 1/2” piece of HDU foam glued together and the sheet steel helmet cut out was through bolted to the sign base using small sheet metal screws.

Being a metal worker, this wasn’t the typical use of Precision Board HDU. Overall the build went well and am very happy with the results. The HDU sign foam was exactly what I need to add to the overall depth of the sign and keep the weight down. Hope someone finds this helpful with their next out side the box sign build.

My name is Joe McCarthy and started Joes Garage, part time in my Garage 4 years ago. I have been working in the sign industry since I was 13 years old. My father, Paul McCarthy is a woodcarver in the Cape Cod / Nantucket area and taught me the art of hand-carving quarter-boards and tavern signs when I was just old enough to hold a knife and a chisel.  Over the years I have worked as a bill board painter, fabricator, metalworker and have always enjoyed lettering and pin-striping. I can be found on Etsy and Instagram.

Coastal Enterprises offers free samples of Precision Board HDU.  Already have a project in mind for our material?  Request a quote and get started today.  Sign up for our monthly blog roundup so you don’t miss any of our informative blogs.  Have a special project fabricated with Precision Board HDU and want to know if it could be featured in a blog on our website?  Give us a call at 800-845-0745 or drop us an email with details.  We’d love to hear from you!