Pattern letters

Discussion in 'Buy Sell Trade' started by HT1, Sep 24, 2023.

  1. HT1

    HT1 Gold Banner Member

    Regularly need pattern letter? Custom fonts or sizes
    smelly cat creations makes molds, metal molds. You can get a mold for a full alphabet+symbol and numbers and then make your own pewter/lead pattern letter. None of the concern with getting mismatched letters from freeman’s. Short on letter cast another… only cast the letters you need . Guys if I was not rolling into retirement I’d definitely be all over this… hell one person here do it and sell the letters to the rest of us. Look them up

    v/r HT1

    P.s. has an awesome instagram presence does tons of other things that might interest someone . The main line is old school roof and drain art pieces
    Tops likes this.
  2. Ironsides

    Ironsides Silver

    That is a great idea! I have sand cast a missing large letter or number in desperation to complete a job when the company I got them of no longer exists. The smallest letter I have sand cast was 25 mm high.
  3. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Gold Banner Member

    Another option is to 3D print letters. I have only done simple prints of letters in resin as I have not invested in any proprietary software for lettering. But it is out there. And printing in Resin reproduces fine detail in whatver font size you need. Here is a pattern 8" long that has resin printed lettering "drafted" with lacquer spray paint that I finished Saturday. (The main body of the pattern is filament printed from PETG. THis pattern pulled cleanly with no rework the first time I tried it yesterday. I cast it today with very nice results.)
    New Pattern4.JPG

    Here is the CAD drawing of the pattern including the 3 lettered segments that I printed in resin.
    New Pattern.jpg

    I have also used "generic" fonts and taken the time to generate proper lofting. Without proprietary software it is tedious but effective and provides a drafted full font. I will not be surprised if someone here pops and points out either very cheap or free fonts that are drafted and suitable for foundry work.


    Added: A significant motivator for me going to 3D printing was to be free of the chains associated with buying foundry letters from Freeman or making do with the limited selections of plastic letters available online or in craft stores.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2023
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  4. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    That would be nice. I have resigned myself to reconstructing letters and numbers that don't draft nicely in CAD. One thing that I have not tried is to start the text on the 'high point' and extrude them with a positive taper towards the body of the part. Most of the text in Fusion360 will extrude at zero or positive taper but some characters do not work at negative taper. Lofting seems like a good solution too, I will have to try that sometime too.
  5. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Gold Banner Member

    Drafting from the top surface of the letter is the method I use in ONshape. Works, but takes time.

    Here is a pic of the main body Filament Print just to convey the quality of finish.
    New Pattern Print.JPG

    Here are the main body print and the three resin lettering prints ready to apply
    New Pattern Print1.JPG
    A closeup of a lettering print. The letters are undrafted and the surface is not shiny smooth. But, 2 or three coats of shaker-can lacquer provides draft and covers the layer line in the print.
    New Pattern Print2.JPG

    The setup I used to hold the letter panels in place while epoxy gluing them. The vise provided a registration fence and the temporarily hot-glued wood spanner made sure pressure was applied to the ends as the panels tended to bow up on the ends. This was a good controlled way to get "perfect" alignment and position. Newe Pattern Lettering Glue-up.JPG
    As an aside, the CAD software allows adjustment of the letter-to-letter spacing and and obviously insures accurate alignment. I love not having to futz qith that by hand and eye.

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2023
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  6. HT1

    HT1 Gold Banner Member

    I actually made an aluminum mold for 1/2 Sharp faced Gothic 15 years ago, and use it for that one missing Letter when I have to S, it is always an S... so many of my projects are USS so they go really fast,

    V/r HT1
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  7. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    I've been using sign board letters and they work well, but never running out of letters sounds kinda nice... I don't think I've ever seen a mold set up for making metal pattern letters before.

    I found a recent pic of a letter mold on their IG, it looked like an open faced metal mold for lead casting, with letter shaped cavities:

    If there is a cope side that comes with them to keep you from over/underfilling the letters, it wasn't photographed. What's the trick to using these if you want letters that all stick up as much as each other and have flat backs? HT1, how does your letter mold work?

  8. rocco

    rocco Silver

    Just a guess, how about deliberately overfill and strike off the excess with a straight edge?
    Tobho Mott likes this.

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