How To Make Neon Signs

Neon signs

If you're in the city, look around. You're sure to see a lot of lighted signs. Did you ever consider learning to make neon signs? They are always in demand and it doesn't matter where you live. All you need is somewhere to place your fires and processing station, store your patterns and materials, and the raw materials themselves.

Making neon signs starts with the pattern maker and ends with the processor; the glass bender follows the pattern, then the finished product is processed. You don't need a staff; you can operate the entire business yourself, but you may have to turn business away. Glass bending is the hardest part, but processing the lights is more important.

If you know how to make neon signs, finding orders is not hard. There are neon companies in every major city. You can either apply to work at one, contact the companies, or tell them you are looking for work. If they have any, they will provide the pattern(s). Those who make neon signs wear many hats, and it is not unusual for a single person to make and tweak the patterns, bend the glass, and process the units. Those are all the steps to making neon signs. Of course, if you decide to go it alone, you will also be responsible for handling the business, which can cut into your time spent working.

To make neon signs, you need a set of fires. The most important is the crossfire. While neon signs can be made with only these, there are other fires which aid in bending glass. As for the glass bending, it simply takes practice; if you blow too hard, the glass bubbles or breaks - but if you don't blow hard enough, the glass will droop and it will be ruined. Because your job is to follow the pattern, once you become familiar with blowing the glass, the rest is easy. A single pattern may consist of several units.

Once done, the lights have to be heated until white-hot, then cooled and reheated. Once it has cooled completely, the processor fills it with the right gas (there are only two types; the color of the glass also determines the color). The unit is then moved to a "burning" station and left lighted for several hours. This process is called "burning-in." If the unit "drops" or "fades," the electrodes must be replaced and the unit reprocessed.

One person can handle all the steps in making neon signs, but it is more productive with at least two to three workers.


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