Neon signs are visible all around us these days. A majority of businesses and homes are using the neon signs for various purposes. Some use it as the address indicator; others are simply highlighting the areas of the premise with relevantly designed signs made using neon. Not all neon signs contain neon gas only. The neon gas produces red color which is also the color of Mercury. Other elements can be mixed with neon or can replace it to make colorful signs. But for the sake of simplicity, all illuminated signs which are not LEDs are named as neon signs these days.
The process of making neon signs
Neon signs are jacketed glass tubes filled with neon and other elements. These days, neon has been replaced by the argon, another inert gas or the mixture of neon-argon. Neon is being used only for red and orange lights. Other raw materials that are considered for making neon signs are helium gas, xenon and krypton. These gases are responsible for the lights with special effects.
To make a neon sign, following steps are performed:
- Preparation of tube: a bendable glass tube is used for the process. It is cleaned length-wise thoroughly. It is then placed vertically in a coating machine. The machine fills the tube with liquid phosphor to the point it is flowing back to the machine. Once properly filled, the tube is placed in over for drying so that the coating sticks.
- Bending of the tube: Once coated properly, the glass tube is ready to be made into different designs by bending. To get the design, the mold of the design is placed on an asbestos sheet. The tube is bent into circles and other alphabets fonts by making use of gas-fired ribbons. This is done totally by hand. The makers need to feel the heat to determine the duration of heating or to know if further heating is required or not. If the tube remains soft, it may collapse. Thus, a blow hose is attached to one end and blown into to bring the tube to original width.
- Bombarding of the tube: Once the tube is bent, it is bombarded to clean all sorts of impurities from electrodes, glass and phosphors. The process begins with evacuating the air off the tube completely. Then, air is again blown to maintain pressure in the range of 0.5-1mm Hg. Electrodes are then heated to about 760 degree Celsius and high current is made to pass through to heath the glass tube. Then starts the cooling process followed by pumping of Neon gas into the tube.
- Ageing of the tube: After bombarding, the ageing of the tube is carried out. It is also known as burning of the tube. The aging is done with the help of transformer which is attached to the electrodes. Once the aging is completed, the neon tubes are ready to be transported.
Get more info about the best varieties of neon lights. These are purely handmade products and thus, are precious. These can be reused by touching up the coating and refilling of neon gas too.