Going Global With Insignia!

With a motto of “Helping you leave your mark on the world,” Orange, CA sign shop Insignia was well suited to tackle the massive 3-D globe project proposed to them by DOW Chemical.

DOW requested the globe be lightweight enough for customers to lift, which was no problem for the creative minds at Insignia. According to owner Joseph Westbrook, “We worked pretty closely with DOW to make a lightweight sculpture for their trade show exhibit. Because it needed to be so light, we decided to use Precision Board Plus PBLT-6, which is lightweight, but would still allow us to retain a high degree of durability.”

With the concept completed, the next step was blueprinting the design and planning the most efficient assembly build process. “The most challenging part of this project was figuring out how we were going to cut and assemble it as a whole,” states Westbrook. “Through collaboration with Dan Sawatzky of Imagination Corporation, we ultimately decided to CNC rout the Precision Board in many different sections – 16 to be exact – which took a lot of time. Our CNC router ran day and night to get all the pieces cut.”

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With so many pieces to assemble, putting the project together was a little like a game of Tetris. “We used Coastal’s PB Bond-240 adhesive to put together the different pieces of the globe. After we assembled the entire thing, we used a combination of FSC-88WB Primer/Filler and FSC-360WB HDU Filler to fill in the joints where it came together.”

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After painting the entire project with 1Shot Paint, it was ready for delivery to DOW. As this picture shows, the goal of making the project light enough to lift was a success – through the use of a hollow globe, the globe weighs only 50 lbs.!


Additional information about Insignia and other creative ventures they have tackled can be seen at: www.leavingyourmark.com.

How To Make A Sandblasted Precision Board HDU Sign

Sandblasting HDU can allow for many more interesting and subtle textures than a wood sign. In addition to sandblasting much quicker than wood, it allows the sandblaster to move much closer to the surface. Because of the low blasting pressure, the detail and shapes can be much more subtle.

This sign was sandblasted and finished by Insignia, a full service sign shop based in Anaheim, CA. Having sandblasted signs for over 20 years, they are sandblasting experts!

Step 1: Masking the Precision Board

Sandblasting HDU is done by applying a vinyl mask weeded from digital coordinates that are input into a plotter, or weeded by hand. All parts of the sign that will be sandblasted are cut from the mask, protecting any smooth surfaces you wish to keep.

Several different types of sandblast mask are available, from low, medium and high tack. Use a medium tack mask for pre-primed HDU, and a high-tack mask for unprimed HDU.

Step 2: Sandblasting Precision Board

Sandblasting Precision Board is just like sandblasting a lightweight wood. Recommended blasting pressure must be approximately 60 psi max. at the pot. This will allow for the unique textures only available with HDU.

Since the blasting pressure is low, the grit moves slower and takes out small pieces of the background instead of pulverizing the surface. This also means that a smaller compressor can be used, allowing almost anyone to make their own sandblasted sign.

Popular types of sandblast grit include clay sand and aluminum oxide. The density of the grit depends on which type of texture you desire. A larger grit will allow for a rougher texture, and finer grit allows for a smoother texture. Joseph Westbrook, owner of Insignia, specified that this sign was sandblasted using a 60/90 blend of Red Ruby Garnet, which is a great media to blast with because it is sharp, cuts nicely and is uniform in size. Background texture largely depends on the size of the medium.

Step 3: Priming the Precision Board:

Since not all paints adhere to raw HDU for the long term, it is necessary to prime Precision Board prior to painting. Coastal Enterprises manufactures FSC-88WB, a single component water based primer/filler. Any primer that is made for HDU will also work. FSC-88WB is a high build primer, able to be used on materials other than HDU and can be sprayed, brushed or rolled. We also have an excellent step-by-step video on priming Precision Board.

Step 4: Finishing the Precision Board

Any type of paint can be used on Precision Board once it is primed with FSC-88WB. Many of our customers use 1-Shot Paints. Coastal Enterprises also offers a complete line of applicableĀ textures and coatings that allow the priming step to be skipped.

This is an example of a sandblasted Precision Board HDU sign:

Step 5: Send Us Photos Of Your Project!

If you send us pictures of your Precision Board project, we would love to feature your company in a blog or a newsletter! You can submit your work here.

Additional Tips:

  • Practice on test sheets. Request a free sample here.
  • Move the nozzle as evenly as possible.
  • Re-using old sandblast media can allow for better control and more detail
These are all Precision Board HDU sandblasted signs by the experts at Insignia: