We were asked to produce a number of bespoke acrylic fabricated sections for the new Ferrari garage in Belfast in conjunction with a local sign firm, these acrylic components where to be housed in the display walls around the showroom to show of various components of the cars like alloy wheels steering wheels, colour swatches etc as well as general lighting, as it was for the new Ferrari garage in Belfast quality of product was the single most important factor only the highest craftsmanship would be excepted.
We had quite a few issues to solve which made this project very complex, first of all the components had to be evenly illuminated with no shadows on the acrylic, they had to have no visual fixings like screws or glue lines. Most of the components need to be moulded to fit the actual curved walls. The panels needed to have access so they could replace any bunt out lights in the future.
The main straight acrylic sections we straight forward to manufacture we simple used a special 5mm white acrylic with a satin finish in total we made about 30 meters of straight section. The main problem with this was how do we mount the acrylic to the wall without screws and shadows lines but also leave it with access to the internal light source, so we made some polished acrylic mounting rails which we fusion glued the back of the acrylic this created very littler to no shadow line on the front of the acrylic. We then embedded some small but power full magnets to these rails, this gave us the fixing we needed without any visible screw or any use of glue so they worked out perfect for the long straight sections in the showroom.
The curved sections where quite complex in the fact that each one had to be manufactured to an exact template of the wall. We were given the templates via the construction company who was building the curved walls, once we received these templates we had to make a master mould or a plug so we could mould the acrylic around to give the final shape and size, the process for this is complex and time consuming and you need to factor in a number of things in making the mould, once the moulds were ready it was time to heat and form the acrylic around them.
This process is hot and dangerous and you need the right equipment and experience to do this correctly to much heat the part could be ruined not enough heat a the part will not form to its final shape, it's a bit of a black art to get this right and something that only comes with experience lucky at trade made we have 20 years in dealing with acrylic and making CNC and fabricated acrylic components. We used are large melamine heated press to heat the acrylic to the correct temperature once the acrylic is heated and ready it was then formed over the mould and clamped into position and left to set, after the component was cooled it was removed from the mould we then need to add a back to these components and an outer acrylic rim for fixing to the wall itself these components we very difficult to manufacture but worked out great once done. I would just like to thank ascot signs and the Ferrari dealership for this complex but exciting work.