Eye catching, vibrant and colourful – neon signs have been a popular choice for decorating businesses and homes for more than 100 years.
However, in recent times it’s become a popular practise for some companies to market LED signage as neon despite the fact that – while they can appear similar – they are completely different.
Neon is only ever made from glass while LED neon contains LEDs and is either made from plastic or silicone.
How neon is made:
Neon is hand bent/crafted over a hot flame by someone that has been trained in the art of bending glass. Once the glass has been bent to a shape, an electrode (glass housing with metal shell inside), is heat welded onto each end of the hand bent tubes.
Once the section (hand bent shape with the electrodes attached), is complete, it is attached to a machine called a bombarder. This machine then vacuums the section down to negative atmospheres of pressure. Electricity is then passed through the tubes, causing them to heat up. The section gives off impurities whilst being heated up which are vacuumed out of the tube, the heating also activates the electrode shells.
Once the tube has reached temperature and the electrodes have been activated, the tube is allowed to cool and the gas is placed into the tube. The tube is then connected up to a transformer to be aged in, which helps to identify any potential failures within the tube. It is then blocked out, a process where each tube is hand painted on parts that are not needed to be seen, giving each letter or shape definition.
LED neon on the other hand, is cut from a solid piece of acrylic by a CNC router, this then has LEDs put in the rear which are soldered as required, it is capped off and then vinyl is applied to the sides.
As you can see they are very different. It’s important to know what you’re buying – so if you are in need of advice about neon please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to help.
We hope you found this post helpful? Check out more of our neon articles here. And please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about any of the details we’ve covered or to find out more about how our variety of neon solutions can help your business.