The Group Auto & UAN Show 2018

It’s Group Auto & UAN trade show time of year again!

You can see last year’s show report HERE, and see a selection of pictures from this year’s show below. As ever, the exhibition is a heady mix of joinery, print, assembly, graphics application and painting and decorating. AD Bell, in conjunction with select local partners are responsible for the planning and execution from start to finish. Does your current signage supplier have those kind of skills in hand?

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160th Great Yorkshire Show – Hall 1 Window & Foyer Graphics

It’s Great Yorkshire Show season here at AD Bell, and every year we produce lots of signage and graphic work for the hosts AND exhibitors at the Great Yorkshire Showground. Among others this year we’ve done some fab looking graphics for Mason’s Gin. Here you can see the prominent window graphics over the Hall 1 entrance, and also two of the large illuminated sliders inside the foyer.

As ever, strong branding and design go together with top quality print and installation to produce a striking and attractive outcome.

If you like what you see, why not head on over to our Conference & Exhibition Graphics page?

GYS Great Yorkshire Show 160th Signage & Display graphics AD Bell Harrogate (1)GYS Great Yorkshire Show 160th Signage & Display graphics AD Bell Harrogate (2)GYS Great Yorkshire Show 160th Signage & Display graphics AD Bell Harrogate (3)GYS Great Yorkshire Show 160th Signage & Display graphics AD Bell Harrogate (4)

Robinson’s Electrical – Ford Ranger Graphics

As you can see, the Ford Ranger 3.2 is a pretty imposing vehicle from the get-go! When you’ve got something that looks as impressive as this, simple, tasteful graphics can offer a real contrast and look excellent. Less really can be more!

The brief from Robinson’s Lighting and Electrical was simple – name and logo either side. The trick part here is the use of MATT black vinyl to contrast against the gloss black paint of the vehicle. it’s one of those things that you can’t really understand until you see it, as you can here! With the high gloss of the paint acting like a mirror, the matt decals don’t reflect anything at all, so are readable regardless of the lighting conditions – even a sunny day like today! The bright green is the finishing touch – perfect!

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If you enjoyed that, make sure to check out our Vehicle LiveryVehicle Wraps and Reflective Wrap pages!

Heathfield Caravan Park – Transit Custom

We were recently approached by Pateley Bridge based business, Heathfield Caravan Park, to design and install graphics to their new Ford Transit Custom.

The graphics were to feature their logotype in gold metallic vinyl, and then a selection of photos in large circles with “gold” style coloured borders. It’s a relatively simple design but works well due to the dark colour of the vehicle and the high contrast gold and white text.

Even though it’s not strictly speaking a “wrap”, the circles were applied over creases in the panels, so a high quality digital wrapping vinyl was used to avoid any adhesion problems in the future. As you can see, the results speak for themselves – a real “stand out” design!

If you enjoyed that, make sure to check out our Vehicle Livery, Vehicle Wraps and Reflective Wrap pages!

Ripon Farm Services – 100 Years of John Deere – 6250R Wrap

After our successful tractor wraps for HACS Construction and M. Metcalfe & Sons, we were approached by long time clients of ours, Ripon Farm Services, to wrap a John Deere 6250R to commemorate the 100 years of John Deere celebrations at Newby Hall Tractor Fest in Ripon, North Yorkshire.

3M 1080 Gloss Green EnvyAs you’ll probably know if you’re reading this, John Deere tractors are green, and RFS wanted a green wrap, but with a twist. After a few tests we chose 3M 1080 Series “Gloss Green Envy” wrapping vinyl, which is a metallic, high gloss green. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to capture the metallic effect with a camera, but if you ever see the tractor out and about, you’ll see just how stunning it really is.

First up as usual is the disassembling of the tractor panels that are to be wrapped. This is a large and usually unseen part of any vehicle wrap. It’s common to see footage of wrappers applying the vinyl, but you never see the careful hours that it takes to remove panels, lights and trim before the wrapping can begin.

Once the wrap was done, we also made some custom gold and black decals to replace the standard yellow and black John Deere stripes and “6250R” text, as well as a “100 years of John Deere” decal, in gold vinyl with a sparkly laminate to match the metallic effect of the green 3M vinyl. It’s subtle, but when the light catches it, it looks amazing.

If you enjoyed that, make sure to check out our Vehicle Livery, Vehicle Wraps and Reflective Wrap pages!

The Group Auto & UAN Trade Show

Many sign companies can make signs, but it’s when projects get big that the men are separated from the boys. Group Auto are an international motor factors and one of our biggest clients, and each year they hold a trade show in Manchester. Needless to say, AD Bell step up from the more typical vehicle graphics and site signage jobs to create and build the massive exhibition stand for the event.

The Group Auto & UAN Trade Show is a ‘must attend’ event for all motor factor businesses within their group. Over 150 suppliers exhibit under one roof, and showcase exclusive on-the-day offers and the very latest products and technology. It is a great opportunity for the members to meet face to face with key people within the businesses and enjoy a perfect mix of work and leisure.

The exhibition stand is a heady mix of joinery, print, assembly, graphics application and painting and decorating. AD Bell, in conjunction with select local partners are responsible for the planning and execution from start to finish. Does your current signage supplier have those kind of skills in hand? And hey – look what turned up too! Apparently, it was VERY loud… Excellent!

Aaaaaand the Swamp Thing in action… 🙂

Here’s a fantastic selection of photos from the initial build right through to completion. As you can see, this is a very in-depth operation that takes a sign and graphics company with a lot of experience and capability. Definitely NOT for the faint hearted.

Young’s Seafood – Inspiration Centre Corridor Graphics

In early 2016, Ad Bell were contracted via Absolute Commercial Interiors to produce and fit graphics and signage for Young’s Seafood international headquarters in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. The first, and most unusual part of this job was the 12 metre corridor that needed full wall graphics of a sea scene. It looked especially good as the ceiling was curved into the wall to produce a more seamless top-to-bottom image, with the lighting being recessed into the ceiling plaster.

Here the first drop of printed material is applied to the wall. This is trimmed at the top and bottom to be flush with the lighting and the skirting board.
The same photo but from a little further away. This shows the scale of the project at hand, and the tools required to do the job properly!
The graphics were cut to go into and around the door frames in a seamless manner as you can see here. The doors were done separately as you will see in a moment.
Closeup of the graphic going around the door frame. We use exceptionally hi-tack vinyl with a tough matt laminate, ideally suited to this type of application.
Almost up to the third door in this shot. As you can see, it’s almost impossible to see the joins in the graphics, such is the skill of Ad Bell’s graphic fitting team!
The first door with graphics to face AND frame. As you can see, this looks exceptionally good, especially on a project of this size and scope.
More doors done, and Sam doing his best “Reservoir Dogs” walk…
Now the graphic scene is continued past the lighting strip, right up to the top of the wall opposite. Tricky overhead work. Great photo by Jasper as well 🙂
These doors had small windows which made fitting the graphics that bit harder. Here’s one totally done – frame, face and all recesses. Perfect.
The finished corridor. Looks amazing, doesn’t it?
… and the same photo with all the tools Photoshopped out 🙂

External Signage for Bodyteam Harrogate

Now and again a signage job comes along that’s a little bit out of the ordinary, and the recent work we’ve done for Gymophobics / Bodyteam in Harrogate is certainly no exception.

Previously an unused small building at the back of the Gymophobics premises, it was renovated inside and set up ready to be used by Bodyteam, a complimentary health and beauty company. Inside was all set up with fixtures and fittings and had in fact already started taking on clients, but the exterior was still needing work.

Google Streetview
The Bodyteam unit before any exterior signage was applied – it’s behind the black garage doors!

The unit is essentially a large double garage with wooden garage doors that had already been blocked up from the inside. The door was functional, but was due to be replaced with a new, more attractive unit.

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The site before Ad Bell’s work began

So what to do with the wooden garage doors? To keep costs down, bricking them up was discarded as an option, and instead a clever disguise was required. The lower part of the doors was to have a printed panel added, to give the impression of brickwork, and this part was fitted first…

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The brick pattern board in place, and the wooden frame for the next part ready… Just checking for level!

So, as you can see, only the lower part of the doors was given the brick effect. The top part was to feature something completely different entirely… A wooden frame was added to the black doors to give us something to build onto.

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The printed aluminium composite graphic panel being fixed to the wooden frame.

So the big reveal! What could we possibly print and apply to the frontage of the building? Well, a photo of the inside of course! Ad Bell visited the site and took a series of interior shots design to replicate the view that you would see through a window. After much deliberation, a winner was picked as you can see.

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The finished job, with white “window” trim, sign panel and door graphics all installed.

Once installed, a UPVC style trim was added to the panel to further reinforce the impression of a window unit. A slim fascia panel above the window, and complimentary frosted door graphics finish the job off nicely.

HACS Plant Hire – Tractor Wrap – Harrogate

When you want to change the base colour of a car, van or in this case tractor, you have two options. You can respray the vehicle, or you can wrap it. Here we look at a green John Deere tractor bought by HACS Plant Hire, who wanted the colour changing from green to orange as per their company colours. Wrapping such a complex series of panels, louvres and shapes is difficult as you can imagine, but using the best signmaking materials (in this case Avery Supreme Wrapping Film) and skilled staff, excellent results can be achieved. Don’t forget to check out our vehicle wrapping page!

They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here they are!

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Work starts on the entire front section of the tractor. Here the deep side louvres have the inside faces wrapped.
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The side louvres being wrapped, from another angle. Careful cutting is required to get the orange right up to the edge.
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Careful trimming of the deep side louvres. As you know, sticking your tongue out ensures a better finish…
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Applying small re-cut pieces of orange wrapping vinyl to the inside faces of the louvres. You can’t see it in the photo, but he is definitely sticking his tongue out.
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Using a squeegee to get right into the corners. Wrapping vinyl is all about pressure and heat, with pressure being used to give the first stage of proper adhesion, and heat being the second.
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Closeup of the deep side louvres with orange wrap to the inside faces, all trimmed perfectly flush. When the large face of the panel is wrapped it will make a seamless orange covering.

 

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A rear wheel arch/mudguard section ready to be wrapped. The orange film is measured up and cut roughly to size, held above in position, and then laid in place.
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The orange wrapping film being loosely draped over the mudguard. Wrapping vinyl does not have a high initial tack, so the vinyl can easily be re positioned at this point.
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A quick positional adjustment before being dropped fully into position. Again, low tack wrapping film makes adjustment possible.
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Another slightly smaller section of bodywork showing the wrapping vinyl once it has been dropped into position. Looks frightening, but that’s the magic of quality wrapping film! 🙂
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Using heat and pressure, the creases and ripples are steadily removed, firstly smoothing the vinyl out over the large flat areas… Note the special frictionless glove used for vinyl application.
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…. with the recesses and details being done afterwards. Any holes are also trimmed out to allow the edges of the holes to be wrapped right around the back of the panel..
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Edges are heated and wrapped round the back of the panel for a perfect “paint like” finish all round. Skilled use of the heatgun is important to get just the right amount of heat where it’s required.
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The front section around the grill was very complicated and took a great deal of time and precision to get spot on.
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Top, face and underside are all done separately, with the top and bottom pieces being wrapped right round the back for a perfect finish with no green paint showing.
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More edge work on a large separate panel. The heat is used to give high adhesion so that the wrapping film stays put over time.
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The large flat sides of the tractor being smoothed into position using a squeegee. This large area will mate up with the pre-wrapped louvres when the recesses are trimmed out.
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Careful finger technique used to apply the large section of wrapping film around the side louvres

Once everything is wrapped, further application of heat is required to provide the final stage of adhesion for the wrapping film. It has low initial tack to allow it to be re positioned (and to work around complex shapes) but this means that the final heating stage is very important, as without it the vinyl does not stick properly.

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The finished tractor showing the orange wrap along with additional HACS and John Deere decals over the top.
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The finished tractor front section, with HACS logo and chevrons, as well as matching John Deere decals, custom designed and applied over the top of the wrap.

Bespoke Fabricated Traditional Sign for Love Cheese – York

When the great cheese and wine shop Love Cheese from York approached AD Bell for a sign that was quality, bespoke and a true stand-out, we knew we had an opportunity to produce something really beautiful. The sign was to go on the brickwork above the frontage of their shop, and needed to offer a classy and attractive appearance, as befitting a shop of this type. York is also a very beautiful place, and we really had to keep this in mind when designing the sign.

Love Cheese had the basic specification for the text that was to appear on the sign panel, as well as the type of paint they wanted us to use to match their shopfront – Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue. In this case, it was the gloss exterior variety, for wood and metal. They also had a “cheese knife & corkscrew” motif that they really liked.

Well, as with anything like this, it all starts with a design. No wood or steel is cut until the drawings are done and approved with the client.

Sign Design in Adobe Illustrator
Sign Design in Adobe Illustrator

The drawing are always done at 100% scale, and in this case we had to work to the 450mm x 740mm panel size that is known to be acceptable as regards planning permission. The sign consists of a wooden panel with architrave edging and a steel edging strip fixed to the top edge to allow fixing to the top bar. The metal bracket featured a beefy 500mm x 250mm x 5mm wall mounting plate with 6 large bolts, a 40mm steel box section top bar, and smaller welded sections to make up the swinging mechanism. The corkscrew and cheese knife logo was to be cut from 3mm plate steel and fixed to the top of the sign. Once all completed, the panel would be painted in Oval Room Blue and the graphics applied, and the steel work would be given several coats of black Hammerite. With the drawings done, and approved by the client, it was time to make the drawing a reality.

Architrave Cut to Length

The sign panel was made from a piece of 18mm exterior plywood. This was accurately cut to 450mm x 750mm using a wall saw to ensure accuracy of size and squareness of corners. The architrave was then measured and cut to fit using a mitre saw. The architrave was measured so that it would be slightly larger than the ply board, to allow it to be sanded back flush before painting.

Using Spare Architrave as a Clamping Caul
Architrave Edge Glued and Clamped
Architrave Edge Glued and Clamped
More Gluing and Clamping – 8 Pieces Total

Once all of the pieces of architrave were glued and dried, the edges were sanded back flush and any sharp edges were removed. Any small gaps were then filled and the whole sign was given two coats of primer before being rubbed back and given one final coat of primer. The sign was now ready for the Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue. Now onto the steelwork!

Steel Measured & Cut to Length
Steel Measured & Cut to Length

As per the drawing, the steel was all now cut to length ready for fabrication. Once cut, the steel is cleaned with acetone to remove any grease, and then all of the edges and surfaces to be welded are ground back to bright clean metal. This allows for a smooth, clean and strong weld and is especially important when TIG welding, which is a strong and neat welding method but does require clean metal to work best.

TIG Welding the Sign Bracket
TIG Welding the Sign Bracket
Welding the Sign Bracket 2
Welding the Sign Bracket 2

The steel is held in position with magnet clamps ready for welding. As steel saws rarely cut perfectly square, final adjustments are made with a t-square and a tap of a hammer to get everything lined up perfectly. Once it’s all in position, the welds are put in place. On this piece (the part that holds the wooden panel) the welds are made on both the inside and outside faces. This is for extra strength and is required here as the welds will be ground back for neatness.

TIG Welding Inside Corners
TIG Welding Inside Corners

Once the welds were made, an angle grinder with flap disc attachment was then used to smooth out the welds. On the inside edge (shown above) this meant that the bracket would sit flush with the panel, as any weld left in the corned would bind on the edges of the wooden panel. The outside edge was ground smooth for a nice appearance. The mounting holes were then measure up, drilled and countersunk. This would make the screws easy to hide once the bracket was fixed to the woodwork later on.

Grinding Smooth the Inside Corner of the Weld
Grinding Smooth the Inside Corner of the Weld to Allow a Neater Fit on the Wooden panel
Grinding Smooth The Edges of the Weld
Grinding Smooth The Edges of the Weld

Next up was the welding of the top supporting bar, wall mounting plate and swing mounts. it was very important that the swing mounts on the top bar mated up perfectly with the single swing mounts on the sign “cradle”. Lots of measuring and double checking here, and in the end they were absolutely perfect. This means that the sign will hang square and not bind on the mountings.

TIG Welding the Main Bar to the Backplate
TIG Welding the Main Bar to the Backplate
CNC Plasma Cut Steel Logo
CNC Plasma Cut Steel Logo
Full bracket Test Fitting Before Painting
Full bracket Test Fitting Before Painting

As you can see, the CNC cut metal logo has also been welded to the top bar. This meant grinding two flat spots on the logo to allow greater surface area for the welds. The weld between the main supporting bar and the back plate is especially important as it needs to be really strong. The two pieces of metal (5mm plate and 40mm box with 2.5mm wall) were both very strong individually, but a good bond between them was essential. The bar was chamfered heavily where it was to be welded to allow greater area for the weld to do its work, and of course, the metal was cleaned thoroughly beforehand to prevent any dirt or inclusions in the weld. Once this was all welded up, the sign was essentially complete and the whole unit was put together to test that all measurements had been correct before painting. Everything lined up perfectly, so now we were onto the painting.

Metal Work With First Coat of Hammerite
Metal Work With First Coat of Hammerite
More paint on The Steelwork
More paint on The Steelwork

Black Hammerite was used on the metal and I have to say, there is a reason why this paint is so well known. It sticks and covers fabulously well and offers a level of rust prevention that is hard to beat. it also dries quickly and is not hard to clean up if there are any drips or spills. Overall, the metalwork had three thick coats of paint, and even the back of the backplate was painted. At this point I made a decision regarding the open end of the top supporting bar. It is possible to put a plastic end cap on this type of steel box section, but there is some evidence that this can trap water inside and cause rust. My favoured method is to liberally apply oil to the inside of the box section to prevent rust. A piece of oiled rag is then pushed a few inches down into the tube. This holds the oil inside to prevent drips, and allows any water in the atmosphere to escape. That said, the steel used was hot formed, which means that it has a coating of black mill scale which resists rusting anyway.

Stainless Steel Swing Bolts Cut to Length
Stainless Steel Swing Bolts Cut to Length
Stainless Steel Swing Bolts Cut to Length 2

The sign sections are held together on two large bolts. Stainless steel was chosen for this application as it is very hard and resists corrosion. The bolts were carefully chosen so that the weight of the sign was supported by an unthreaded section of the bolt – the thread did not start until the bolt was clear of the metalwork. Two washers added to the security and prevented the bolt faces from scraping on the metal. The bolts were too long, so we cut them down to size once the signs were fitted together. At this stage, the metalwork was complete. Now onto the painting of the wood!

Neat Corners - Filled Sanded & Painted
Neat Corners – Filled Sanded & Painted
More Paint - Farrow and Ball Oval Room Blue
More Paint – Farrow and Ball Oval Room Blue

In total, the sign had three coats of white primer and around five coats of the Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue. This ensured a lovely thick build, and the maximum amount of weather durability for the sign, going forwards. The paint is expensive, but is very high quality and goes on really well. Once complete, it was time to fix the eye bolts and the top fixing bracket.

Top Bracket Fixed to the Sign Panel
Top Bracket Fixed to the Sign Panel
Metal Eye Hooks on Bottom Sign Panel
Metal Eye Hooks on Bottom Sign Panel

The top bracket was fixed in place with long screws into pre-drilled holes. The screw tops were painted black after they were in place so they were not as visible. The bottom eye bolts were drilled and inserted, and the blue paint around them was touched in for neatness of finish. The two parts of the sign were now almost complete. The graphics were applied to the board and the fitters were sent on their way. The six holes were drilled into the brickwork and the bracket bolted in place. The stainless bolts were then lubricated and slotted in to hold the swing panel in position, and the Nylock nuts were finally torqued into place. Done!

Lettering Being Applied to the Sign Panel
Lettering Being Applied to the Sign Panel
Finished Building Sign at Love Cheese in York
The Finished Sign

Read more about Love Cheese at www.lovecheese.co.uk