Cool Stuff Being Made: How Neon Signs Are Made

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You walk past them everyday. They light up signs, bars, and other establishments. But how exactly are neon signs made? How do they bend it into those shapes and make it into all those interesting colors? Welcome to another edition of CoolStuffBeingMade. Today, we are going to Fleetwood, PA to visit L&H Signs where, at the end of this 14 minute video, you’ll know everything there is to know about how they make neon signs.

Signs of all types, whether neon or the ones you see in shopping malls, all begin at an art department. L&H signs uses two graphic programs, Corel Draw to design a logo and Solid Works which is a 3D modeling program that help bring the object to life.

Once the design is set, the actual construction of a neon sign starts with neon tubing, which can be powder coated or pre-colored. An electrode is attached at one end and the glass is heated. In this video, you’ll see that process and watch how the glass bends right before your eyes. They use a wide mouth burner to roll the glass so that the heat is applied evenly which allows it to bend into the right shape on a printed pattern. The type of glass used has everything to do with how effective one can bend it. Traditional powder-coated glass bends well while pre-colored glass (like red or green) does not bend very well.

Later, the gas is added to bring the sign to life. The gas can either be neon (which gives the tubing a bluish hue) or argon (which gives the tubing a more red hue). Used in the right proportion, these two types of gases help to achieve a base of about 150 possible colors.

The bended sign is then re-heated to remove any impurities. Mica strips are applied to prevent the current “jumping” which would cause it to implode. Finally, the product is cooled for about two hours before it is ready to be delivered.

So, now you know how neon signs are made. But you didn’t know this was manufacturing, though? We need lots of artists in manufacturing and if this type of video interests you, check out Dream It. Do It. for more information.

Click here to watch this week’s video: How Neon Signs Are Made and feel the neon manufacturing vibe.