Freeman plastic pattern letters

Discussion in 'Pattern making' started by HT1, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. HT1

    HT1 Silver Banner Member

    826B6EC2-A160-48C0-827B-BCA721C129A8.jpeg I purchased a set of Freeman’s plastic pattern letters and was incredibly surprised rather then one of each letter and number I received 30 of each... and excellent deal. Pictured is the 1/4 inch size... at just over a penny a letter
    joe yard likes this.
  2. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    30 times cheaper than you expected? What a bargain, great score!

  3. HT1

    HT1 Silver Banner Member

    the really big question is why dont they make that clear, we would all buy them, they are very good, the draft is so nice I had trouble picking them up with tweezers and started using an eraser
  4. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Yah, you do have to read their description pretty closely but it does indicate qty and price per package and that varies from 10-40 pieces per character depending upon character size. The aluminum characters are a bit confusing too but the two prices are for lots/multiples of 10 and the higher price for individual qtys not divisible by 10. It must be tedious packing those individual letters. I'm guessing the metal letters may come attached to the gate in lots of 10. Is that how the plastic letters came? Plastic is a good value if you keep them out of hot molding sand and take care not to smack them with the rammer. Since I buy from them I got upgraded to a 360 account which allows me to see pricing without requesting a quote....which used to be a real PITA!

    Try a little clay ball on the end of a stick.

  5. HT1

    HT1 Silver Banner Member

    you can see the pic at top, there is three of each letters, very much like a plastic model... but they sent me ten, with each order, I ordered 4 sets, so i will never run out of 1/4 pattern letters again... But though they where described as sharp faced gothic, what i got where Flat faced... which is my preference in the smaller letters so I'm double good

    V/r HT1
  6. Petee716

    Petee716 Silver Banner Member

    What kind of adhesive do you use to stick them on?
  7. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Silver Banner Member

    I stuck mine on with 5 min epoxy. I clean off excess while it is still soft with various pointed or tiny (like miniature screw driver) bladed tools. I did sand the back of the letters on 80 grit sand paper to provide tooth---not sure if is needed. Have not had one come off despite something like twenty molds made in green sand on the pattern. Since the glue is quite viscous you can coax the letters into perfect alignment as it sets up.

    Added note: I was having some dissatisfaction initially with crispness of the letters when cast. I then learned to blow off the applied talc parting prior to ramming a mold. Too much talc was blurring the print. It was still ok but blowing out the talc made them crisp. Never have had a failure of the sand sticking and not drawing from a letter. 1/4" is the size I use.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
    _Jason likes this.
  8. HT1

    HT1 Silver Banner Member

    I use elmers school glue, As I often water them down remove and reuse them
  9. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Silver Banner Member

    3E658283-511D-46ED-AA62-F139D0FDC7DB.jpeg 0B9D8670-9912-4DD5-BFC4-25BC2D6C40A0.jpeg BF2BDD53-2289-4783-9293-E1F39A0E1DE5.jpeg I thought I would add a few recent observations concerning pattern letters:
    1) I think it is easier to first add the letter to a “plate” and then attach that to the pattern rather than put the letters directly on the pattern. Tweaking these little letters into something resembling a straight line of vertical letters properly spaced is a bit of a challenge for me. Working on some odd bit of a pattern is often awkward.
    2) Holding the letters prior to gluing is not easy either. The letter are slippery. So, tonight I slightly modified and repurposed a Tig welding gooseneck grounding tool to stabilize the unglued letter. That is that weird looking bent rod with a sharpened nail taped to it. OK, it is not elegant, but I really like how it helped me. Any weighted arm like a simple short wood rod or bar with a nail would function similarly. It allows the letter to be tweaked with slight pressure but exerts no unexpected scooting pressure as is often accidentally applied if you try to use something to press down on a letter by hand.
    3) I found a small pair of dividers handy for spacing, of course, but they also make a nice tool to be used to “crank” a letter sitting not quite vertical. Just place a point on each side of a letter element and torque it gently a few degrees.
    4) A sharp chisel slices the letter off the sprue without leaving a little sloppy-looking tag.
    5) Thin cyano wicks under the letter easily. However it tends to climb the edge of the letter end similarly likes to fill in the hole in O’s, G’s, and so on. A twirled corner of a paper towel wicks out the excess quickly. I have previously used epoxy but it required more mechanical cleaning off of excess whereas the cyano just wicked into the paper towel.
    6) A neat little Starret pattern-makers square is a sweet tool for this scale of work.
    BTW,that aluminum plate is taped parallel temporarily to the board I am working on.

    I would love it if someone would post some tips and tricks they have come up with.
    Jimmy Cogg likes this.
  10. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    MS, try a piece of clear packing tape stuck sticky side up to your bench or board. Stick the face of letters reading backwards to the tape. You can use a marker to draw guidelines on or under the tape and pull the tape up and read from the front as you tune it up. When you get them positioned satisfactorily, apply glue to the backside of the letters and the then use the tape to position the whole sha-bang. When the glue cures remove the tape. I paint the surface with shellac, let it get tacky and use that as the glue because you cant touch up excess glue with the tape in place.

    Melterskelter likes this.
  11. cire Perdue

    cire Perdue Copper

    Its been a couple of months since the last posting on this thread- but you may want to try a trick I learned from an older blacksmith to mark out sections... I have used it for striking letter positions on arcs and curved surfaces. it is a "rough" and bit down and dirty, but it gets you in the ballpark without a lot of math.
    1. get a stout rubber-band or piece of white elastic.
    2. lay it along a ruler of whatever division you need (I use an Engineers scale so there are 10 spaces to a foot- keeps the math simple) and mark along the length.
    3. use fine point sharpie and mark out divisions along rubber band
    4. now if you need something divided into- lets say 6 letters just count out 8 and stretch it between the start and end points (the #1 mark/notch is on the starting point and the #8 mark is on the end point) This gives 1 empty space at beginning and end (8 total)
    5. Now with your third hand- transfer the dots to the surface- there is your spacing. These are center points for your lettering.

    The rubber band stretches fairly evenly and for most things it still allows me to have points of reference without having to do the math (ten lines of text, use the band- mark a start point on center line and stretch/mark along the line and no vertical spacing math other than the header)

    Works well for dividing words once you have a center line, or striking divisions into rough (but fairly equal) parts.

    You can use it for other things as well... Because it is flexible- layout of drill holes along pipes and over curved surfaces is easy and ratios are fairly consistent.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018

Share This Page