Our dedicated SDOT sign shop staff invited us in to see all the different things they do to help travelers find their way and keep us all going in the right direction.
Meet Robin Ford. He has been the Crew Chief for the City of Seattle sign shop for about a year. Ford’s crew (all three of them!) produces all of the signs in our city. The signs they create range from street name and traffic control, to those custom designed “welcome to the neighborhood” signs. His team focuses on providing the city with a fast turn-around on production.
The old process for manufacturing the signs was to screen print them onto metal or wood. Screen printing was useful for bulk production, but the process took time. Each pigment needed to be laid onto the design one at a time. Once the design was printed onto the material, setting the signs aside to set took about 1-2 hours. Ford hasn’t screen printed in 6 months.
Today, they use digital printers and plotters for a speedier method of production. The digital printers use an adhesive material for easier application. UV coating is then placed over the designs to secure its longevity. These printers also allow printing on reflective material, warranted for 10 years.
Plotters cut designs out of vinyl materials to be placed on the metals.
Here’s a link to our previous post about sign replacement: http://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2014/11/24/bridging-the-gap-2014-signage-work-nearly-complete/.
The next time you’re driving, walking, or taking the bus through our streets, stop to admire the work of our sign shop crew. If you want to view other photos that were taken on this tour, check out out Flickr.
Have you ever wondered what SDOT does with those old street names signs? Wonder no more! As noted in previous blog posts, various street name signs – named and numbered – are available through the City of Seattle Fleets and Facilities surplus warehouse. An updated list of available signs ranging in price from $5 – 15 is posted on the web. Please see details and contact the warehouse directly if you are interested in purchasing a sign. Holiday shopping? The signs are great gifts for the person who has everything in life or is looking for a new creative project!