A Custom Animated Sign

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By Rick Wade – Sourced from MRHMAG.COM

I wanted to jazz up my newest building using Miller Engineering’s #65812-R “Arrow Series” animated sign. Since my buildings have ‘personal’ names none of the included peel-n-stick graphic overlays fit the bill. A custom overlay would be costprohibitive but the folks at Miller said I could make my own using an inkjet printer and transparency film. I used my scanner to scan the sign overlays supplied with the kit. This gave me a template for the exact shape and size of the overlay. Next I used my graphics editor “mask” tool to draw an outline around a sign and delete everything within the mask. This left me with an hole the correct size and shape for my graphics and text (figure 2).












Fig 2.

I spent about 15 minutes coming up with the design in figure 3. Hint, use dark colors for the background and white or a very light color for text. I made extra copies of my design before printing to have extras in case of accidents during cutting (they came in handy!)










Fig 3.

Test prints on plain paper are a good idea – I needed to adjust the size a bit. Instead of transparency film I used Avery’s #4383 “Clear Sticker Project Paper” for the final output. After printing, I cut out the overlay using sharp scissors – I get a cleaner edge with them than with a hobby knife.













Fig 4.

I carefully stuck the overlay to the sign. The label is movable until firmly pressed in place – helpful during alignment. Figure 5 shows the Miller sign with my custom graphic overlay.









Fig 5.
I made a slot in the building with a cut-off disk in a motor tool to mount the sign (figure 6).









Fig 6.

I marked a piece of masking tape where the slot would go as a guide and added more masking tape and a piece of metal to protect the wall in case the cutting wheel ‘jumped’. I cleaned up the cut with a small hobby saw and added an ‘angle iron’ frame around the sign made of .060” styrene.

Figure 8 shows the sign after painting and weathering, installed in its angle iron frame. A custom animated sign really helps personalize your layout adding a little extra class. I spent a few hours and cost was reasonable. Give a sign a try on your layout!











Check out the video below.



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