Category Archives: Signs

Soon: Biodegradable Foamed Styrene


Boffins develop novel approach to make polystyrene biodegradable

From our ANI Correspondent

London, Sept 5: Chinese scientists have developed a novel approach to make foam polystyrene biodegradable. Foam polystyrene is used as a protective packaging for all sorts of products, but it is not biodegradable.

Previously manufacturers have tried making it more environmentally friendly by incorporating cellulose and starch, which microbes can break down, or by adding light-sensitive polymers that degrade in sunlight.

However, as, Shanpu Ya and colleagues at the Polymer Science and Engineering College of Quingdao University of Science and Technology in China found, all these methods have serious disadvantages.

In particular, it took too long time for polymers to break down in these ways, they said.

The team has now developed a new approach that involves embedding water-absorbing resin particles about five micromeres in diameter throughout a chemical like styrene before it is polymerised to form a polystyrene-like material.

When the resulting solid comes into contact with water, the resin particles expand, reducing the polymer structure to a powder that should then biodegrade.

The team says that by altering the ratio of ingredients, it is also possible to control the rate of disintegration.

A crucial factor, the scientists say, is that the resulting foamed polystyrene is cheaper than conventional materials and should therefore be readily adopted by cost-conscious companies that also want to be environmentally responsible.

The team has applied for a patent for their water disintegrable polystyrene foam, reports New Scientist.


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Posted by on September 5, 2007 in R&D, Recylcing, Signs


Xerox’s Spin On Electronic Paper


Electronic Reusable Paper
Electronic reusable paper is a display material that has many of the properties of paper. It stores an image, is viewed in reflective light, has a wide viewing angle, is flexible, and is relatively inexpensive. Unlike conventional paper, however, it is electrically writeable and erasable. Although projected to cost somewhat more than a normal piece of paper, a sheet of electronic reusable paper could be re-used 1000s of times. This material has many potential applications in the field of information display including digital books, low-power portable displays, wall-sized displays, and fold-up displays.Electronic reusable paper utilizes a display technology, invented at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), called “Gyricon.” A Gyricon sheet is a thin layer of transparent plastic in which millions of small beads, somewhat like toner particles, are randomly dispersed. The beads, each contained in an oil-filled cavity, are free to rotate within those cavities. The beads are “bichromal,” with hemispheres of two contrasting colors (e.g. black and white, red and white), and charged so they exhibit an electrical dipole. When voltage is applied to the surface of the sheet, the beads rotate to present one colored side to the viewer. Voltages can be applied to the surface to create images such as text and pictures. The image will persist until new voltage patterns are applied.

For applications requiring more rapid and direct electronic update, the Gyricon material might be packaged with a simple electrode structure on the surface and used more like a traditional display. An electronic reusable paper display could be very thin and flexible. A collection of these displays could be bound into an electronic book. With the appropriate electronics stored in the spine of the book, pages could be updated at will to display different content.

For portable applications, an active matrix array may be used to rapidly update a partial- or full-page display, much like what is used in today’s portable devices. Gyricon displays don’t require backlighting or constant refreshing, and are brighter than today’s reflective displays. These attributes will lead to Gyricon’s utilization in lightweight and lower-power applications.Research into electronic reusable paper and its applications is continuing at Xerox PARC. Xerox is also pursing commercialization opportunities through the Xerox Venture Laboratory.
A Gyricon display, prototype printer and sheet of electronic reusable paper from Xerox PARC.
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This electronic reusable paper printing device may one day be small enough to fit into a purse.
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Small bichromal beads can be black and white or other contrasting colors.
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The paper pulp of the future.larger jpg Bichromal beads are at the heart of Xerox’ electronic reusable paper.larger jpg Xerox’ partnership with 3M means electronic reusable paper can be manufactured in large enough quantities for commercial applications.larger jpg

Xerox PARC researcher Matt Howard demonstrates an active sheet of electronic reusable paper in the laboratory.

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Nick Sheridon, Xerox PARC inventor of electronic reusable paper, and Fereshteh Lesani show off the first roll produced by 3M partners.larger jpg An electronically charged pencil rotates the bichromal beads in a sheet of Xerox’ electronic reusable paper.
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Posted by on August 23, 2007 in R&D, Signs


Polycarbonate Covering Up MacDonalds EU


Fen Systems / Vista System International’s sign system chosen for McDonald’s Oslo branch

Modular Curved Frame Technology.

Fen Systems / Vista System International, a fast growing pioneer and world leader in Modular Curved Frame Technology (MCFT), with Australian exclusive distribution centre at Sydney

N.S.W. recently supplied a system for a Norwegian Sign manufacturer, Euro Sign AS, for installation at a McDonald’s branch at Jernbanestasjonen train station located in Oslo. This project demonstrates the flexibility and stylistic design of Vista System’s Modular Curved Frame Technology.

The customer required a flexible sign system that would allow them to create unique double-sided pylons compatible with the special architectural characteristics of the area. They chose Vista System because its MCFT (Modular Curved Frame Technology) concept provides flexibility for the customization of products.

The pylon and front covers supplied from Vista were delivered to Oslo within 2 weeks, to the satisfaction of Euro Sign AS. Euro Sign AS attached transparent polycarbonate and installed the lighting. Menden Buchstaben in Germany made the M logo that is floating inside the pylon.

According to a spokesperson at Euro Sign AS, “We were very excited to discover the potential of Vista’s MCFT concept. The result was very good. This project is a good sample for other branches”


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Posted by on August 21, 2007 in Polycarbonate, Signs


PVC Foamboard/Styrene – Bender Costume


Note: the author refers to Sintra which is a particular brand name for foamed PVC. There’s three preferred brands in the marketplace: Sintra, Intecel, & Komatex. For everyday hobby type projects any of the 3 will appear similar. Sintra is recognized as the best for commercial printing because it takes ink better, however die cutters find the edges don’t finish as well as Komatex. Intecel is the middle of the road for both printers and die cutters.


Here are some pictures of the Bender costume I made. I made the costume initially because I was inspired by the large scale costumes I saw in the 2003 Comic-con masquerade. I was able to finish it in time to give him a test run at the Las Vegas Comic-Con on Halloween weekend.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know how it would turn out when I started, and I never took any pictures of the progress. But here are some details on the construction of the costume:

I was originally going with the silver duct material (like on a dryer) for the arms and legs I even had it bought, but when I found this rubber stuff (quite on accident) I took all of the aluminum foil looking stuff back.

For the head I made 2 circles from sintra and made several vertical supports between them to make the basic cylinder shape and covered it with a skin of thin styrene. I then made another circle, cut it in half and notched the 2 haves together to form an X for the basic structure under the dome. Then after some styrene strips over the top, some fiberglass underneath, and lots and lots of Bondo for the gaps and seams I had the head and dome.

The eye socket is heat shaped sintra covered with a skin of thin styrene. The eyeballs are 4″ clear hemispheres from Micheals (fill it yourself Xmas ornaments) I painted them white, but finding the balance of enough paint to cover but not be too opaque was not easy. This was my third attempt.

The antenna is a threaded rod covered with bondo and sanded to the final shape.

For the mouth shape I cut out the basic hole from the styrene skin and then made a sintra framework covered with white fabric and black paint lines for the teeth that velcros in from the inside. This is where I will see out of the costume. I also cutout a portion of the lower jaw in the center and re-glued together to form a slight overbite.

The cigar is a novelty cigar from the Halloween store with some hot glue for ash and an LED and switch inside. There is a magnet on one end and a mating one behind the teeth.

The beer labels I made myself one from a screenshot and the other I just made-up

The body is constructed the same way as the head, styrene wrapped around a sintra framework and the arms and legs were originally painted but it kept flaking off, so I stripped all of the paint off and covered them with smooth gray vinyl tape.

the foot bowls are split up the back and snap back together, and also have a little semicircle in the toe area to hook under my boot to keep them from wobbling.

The shoulders I poured from grey flexible expanding foam into the same bowls I used for the feet, and spray painted the inside of the bowl first to get the grey “skin”.

I also ran nylon webbing up the insides of the legs and arms with a snap on the ends to snap into a belt for the legs support and inside the shoulder area for the arms.

other than that it’s alot of hot-glue, superglue, grey primer, and bondo. I also practiced with poster board before I started cutting shapes out of the styrene since it took almost 2 full sheets of styrene. I got a little bit thicker gauge like the thickness of the ABS armour out there for the body and also a little bit thinner gauge like a for sale sign for some of the outer skins since it is much more flexible.

I shaped most of the parts over the stove burner, but used a heat gun here and there too whenever I was trying to keep something from flexing back from the shape I had glued it into.

Click the thumbnails to see bigger pics.

From Bender’s Scrapbook Bender on TV!

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Posted by on August 16, 2007 in DIY, Recreation, Signs


Electronic Paper From Plastic


One page closer to electronic paper

Last Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2003 | 5:32 PM ET

Researchers are one step closer to developing the flexible computer screen, also known as electronic paper.The screen is so flexible it can be rolled into a cylinder without losing its image quality and so thin it can fit under a door.

“I think it’s a major step forward. We have cleared a big obstacle in electronic paper development,” said Yu Chen, a research scientist with E Ink Corp.

Joanna Au and Yu Chen
Electronic text image shown on the bent displayCourtesy: Joanna Au and Yu Chen

Massachusetts-based E Ink is one of several companies working to develop electronic paper.In order to make the display screen flexible, the E Ink research team developed a stainless steel foil topped with a thin layer of circuits that control an overlying film of “electronic ink.”

That “ink” was developed by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist.

The ink contains millions of tiny capsules that are full of an oily substance. Negatively charged chips float in the capsules and when signalled, form the text or image.

Currently, information and power is fed to the screen through a wired hook-up. But Chen’s team is working on a self-contained system that could receive data through a wireless connection.

Although e-paper is being touted for the next generation of e-books and e-newspapers, futurists and industry experts speculate e-paper could be sewn into garments for users to use on the run or could be used for a credit card that could display the balance or recent purchases.

“It’s very hard to predict where this thing may go,” said Aris Silzars, former president of California-based Society for Information Display.

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Posted by on August 14, 2007 in R&D, Signs


The End Of Printed Signs?

New electronic paper displays video

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 | 4:48 PM ET

A new generation of electronic paper could bring the movies to a foldable screen near you.

Various companies are developing wafer-thin foldable screens to display static type. A Dutch project takes the technology one step further.

Print image uploaded to plastic film

Scientists at Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, have invented a prototype system to display high-definition moving pictures.The images can switch quickly from one colour to the next, according to researchers Robert Hayes and B. J. Feenstra.

The technology, called electrowetting, takes advantage of how oil and water don’t mix. In each pixel in the device, coloured oils can be manipulated quickly and accurately to produce video displays, the researchers say.

The oil spreads over a water-repelling coating on a transparent electrode. When a voltage difference is applied to the paper, the oil moves to reveal a white sheet underneath.

“The reflectivity and contrast of our system approach those of paper,” they wrote in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

“In addition, we demonstrate a colour concept which is intrinsically four times brighter than reflective liquid-crystal displays and twice as bright as other emerging technologies.”

The technology works at low voltage and is light weight and flexible, the researchers say.

Plastic Film Displaying Print & Video

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Posted by on August 14, 2007 in General Knowledge, R&D, Signs


Illuminating Sign Ideas Using Acrylic

We’ve been getting a lot of traffic on the article talking about a new polycarbonate illuminating sheet. Thought this might be of interest to y’all.

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Here’s an acrylic solution from our partners @ Cyro/Degussa . It’s pretty slick and easy to use, especially with led’s. Functionally, it takes ambient light coming in through the ends and distributes it throughout the sheet illuminating what’s ever underneath (i’m sure their product engineers cringe at that explanation but it gets the point across). Click on the logo to go the site for lots of technical stuff.


ACRYLITE® EndLighten acrylic sheet is designed to perform uniform illumination and neutral color presentation throughout the sheet. ACRYLITE EndLighten sheet conceals light sources such as LED lighting inside the frame even in ultra slim applications while producing extremely bright signage. Applications include thin profile signage and poster panels for airports, malls, gyms, restaurants, bus stops, mass transit and outdoor applications.


Warehoused Plastic Sales is Cyro’s largest distributor in Canada so call us first with your next project…

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Posted by on August 9, 2007 in Acrylic, Signs