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Old 02-15-2004, 11:25 AM   #15
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signshop letters

The sign shop route does make it easier, as the numbers will be spaced and have an application tape that allows you to put them all on at one time like one big number and they should coach you on a few application tips or even put them on for you.

The different properties of the numbers coming from WBCCI is annoying. The possible problem of sign shop numbers is there are so many different grades of vinyl out there that it is very difficult to know what you are buying and thus the durability of those sign shop numbers may be suspect. Scotch does make some quality vinyl and the feel of my letters is good.

This numbers deal is a crapshoot as far as damage and life of letters are concerned if you exspect them to last for a very long time. If you are so concerned, probably the temp route is the safeway.

Personally I wear my numbers proudly at all times....live and let live....jem
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Old 02-15-2004, 01:24 PM   #16
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baldeagle; I found the water (with just a touch of soap) method works well: it allows time to reposition and squeege the numerals. then, when dry, they stick well.
I know of several folks who have gotten numbers prepared at sign shops and all of them have turned out very well. The one that really caught my eye (pun intended) was a trailer with reflective red numbers. The owner said that it is the same material used for modern stop signs and pretty expensive, but the shop he went to had scraps (from another job) large enough to cut his numbers from, so that kept the cost down.
what's nice about this is when locating his trailer, at a large rally at night, just a pass of the flashlight beam shows the numbers very well.
just a thought.
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Old 02-15-2004, 05:23 PM   #17
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Are you sure you want to do that? When you polish in the future, those numbers are going to get in the way, I think, unless you clearcoat it.
Yep...we will put the numbers on, if they have to be reapplied after repolishing....oh well!

"Just say NO to clearcoat!"

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Old 02-15-2004, 09:57 PM   #18
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Way too much info on sign vinyl

You can get reflective vinyl cut by a sign shop. The reflective is pretty pricey. As for vinyls, the Gerber High performance is very good quality and thin, looks like paint almost when its on but you have to be careful not to stretch it too much as you put it on. But its very easy to work bubbles out. There are other vinyls out there that are very good, ask your sign shop.
You can use soapy water or get some Rapid-tac which is a solution specially made for spraying on and "scootchin" the vinyl around. You can find the stuff online at sign supply sites for around 5-7 bucks for a spray bottle. I think it has a little alkeehol in it to help it dry faster and cleaner than soapy water, this helps when you have small letters as you pull the transfer tape off, but with the big red ones soapy water should work.
"Transfer" or "application" tape is that backing that is on the vinyl letters when you get it from the shop. The process works like this:
Sign shop:
-Roll of vinyl gets put into the plotter (cutter)
-The knife cuts through the vinyl but not the backing
-The Vinyl is "weeded" meaning the stuff you dont want is pulled off the backing paper
-The Transfer tape is laid over what is left, on the non sticky side of the vinyl

Your part (if you dont have the sign place intstall it for you):
-You pull the backing off the vinyl and the transfer tape (on the front) holds the letters in position
-Spray the aluminum and the sticky part of the vinyl wth soapy water or Rapid-tak
-Put the vinyl up against the end cap. Align it: you can scootch it a little if you spritzed enough, and you can pull it off if you havent really squished it down yet, but dont spritz too much if you are using soapy water, because it will take forever to dry and weaken the adhesion.
Alternately you can also align by hinging;
take a couple pieces of tape and tape the vinyl up where you want it before you pull the backing off. Use two tabs of tape, something strong, along the top edge. once its straight, lift up the letters from the bottom-hinging at the top then reach under and peel the backing off-spray a buncha solution and let it down gently
-press the center first then with a hard plastic squeegie move out from the center vertically and while you continue to slide the squeegie up and down (starting each stroke at the vertical center) work your way out horizontally toward the ends
-If you used the Rapid-Tac you can pull the transfer tape off and the vinyl letters will be left, if you used soapy water you may have to wait a bit for it to dry so the letters dont pull up as you pull the transfer tape off
You can get a little squeegie from a sign shop or sign supply, they are about 4in wide and are a hard-ish plastic but they have rounded edges and are made for this, you can also use a creditcard if you have to, or a bondo spreader (auto parts store) Dont use a rubber squeegie- it will pull the transfer tape and could wrinkle the letters underneath.
-Andrew
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:06 PM   #19
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Here in the sunny south I can get a year or two on my numbers. Some start pealing as early as the first year and after two its past time to replace. I am considering just painting the numbers on with lettering paint. Its just as easy to remove as the plastic and should stay on a lot better.
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Old 02-27-2004, 11:20 PM   #20
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Interesting Tarheel...

I'd bet you're right! Painting the numbers on, as long as you don't have clearcoat, would be just as easy as applying a sticker. Then if/when you want to remove them, Aircraft Stripper to the rescue! The surrounding area may have oxidized a bit...but at least the area under the numbers wouldn't have corroded or etched the way I've seen on some old-time former-sticker-wearing trailers have. The corrosion & pits are nearly impossible to polish out...light oxidation, even though it's dirty work, does buff out.

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Old 02-28-2004, 12:03 AM   #21
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Seems Like Old Times

Tarheel, Painting the numbers on your trailer, especially if it is a vintage unit, would be a true nostalgic touch as that's how the WBCCI members did it in the 1950's & early 1960's. Some even painted the names & dates of caravans they participated in on their Airstreams.
As Shari mentioned, they didn't have clearcoat to contend with, though, when/if it came time time to remove the numbers.
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Old 02-28-2004, 06:48 AM   #22
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We had the curling, fading problem with WBCCI numbers. We ordered numbers from a sign shop, one piece. They went on quickly and look as good today as they did two years ago. I think it is the "Airstream way" to have red numbers on your rig.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:38 PM   #23
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OY... we tried putting our numbers on yesterday. Some worked;some didn't. We chucked the project and will order better numbers from a sign shop. In the meantime we're running bald.

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Old 11-03-2008, 12:42 PM   #24
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Lots of folks put their numbers on a board or sign that they set up at events.

Tom
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:56 PM   #25
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The old numbers you had to soak in water and then slide them off onto the surface of the unit. I found I got the best results when I soaked the numbers in warm water and then soaked the surface that I was appying the numbers too with windex. I kept the surface very wet until I was certain it was placed just the way I wanted it then I patted it dry with a paper towel. When wet you can get out the air bubbles. The numbers I had made are adhesive backed.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:49 PM   #26
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Below is a link to an article that appeared a little over a year ago in the Blue Beret regarding a temporary method of applying numbers in a manner that gives the permanent look:

http://www.wbcci.org/documents/Phred...ept%202007.pdf

This allows you to apply them when you want to and remove them when you want to go bald...I guess you could call it a numbers toupee!

Or maybe that should be a WBCCI toupee...

or just an Airstream toupee...

or a numeric toupee...
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:53 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
The old numbers you had to soak in water and then slide them off onto the surface of the unit. I found I got the best results when I soaked the numbers in warm water and then soaked the surface that I was appying the numbers too with windex. I kept the surface very wet until I was certain it was placed just the way I wanted it then I patted it dry with a paper towel. When wet you can get out the air bubbles. The numbers I had made are adhesive backed.
We have adhesive backed numbers and applied them with water like you did with Windex. I have been told that because Windex has ammonia as an ingredient, it shouldn't be used on aluminum. It could lead to more corrosion under the numbers than straight water...

Shari
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:58 PM   #28
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No matter how long we soaked them, some wouldn't come off the paper. Our 8 was especially stubborn (never came off the paper) and the 0 and 1 were difficult as well. The 4 came off without a hitch.

Thanks for the tips, y'all!
We'll take the easy way out and get two sign shop versions.
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