How is glass tubing manipulated to make neon signs?
At KEMP London we have received all kinds of questions over the years. The most common are in regards to how we can physically manipulate the delicate glass tubing into the required shapes. We are happy to explain how this is done, sharing the experience we have learned in our long years as neon and sign makers.
The glass tubes are manipulated into shape by using the right amount of heat and gently bending them. A great deal of care is needed to ensure that the tubing is hot enough so that it becomes pliable. If the temperature is too high the glass melts and loses its shape entirely. If it is too cold it will break when it is bent.
The right tools are needed to heat the glass tubing before bending it into the required shape. Burners are utilised when working on longer pieces of tubing. A hand torch is generally preferred for shorter lengths. In either case the amount of heat must be right.
The person bending the tube will need to tell exactly when the glass is hot enough to bend without breaking. To do this they generally forgo wearing gloves so they can physically feel the heat. Great care is needed at all times as a result to avoid injury or accidents.
When the tubes are being bent is it important to retain the diameter. If anything restricts it the gas will struggle to fill it, affecting how the sign operates. To avoid this air is blown gently through it whilst the glass is still soft. This pushes the tube back to the required diameter.
A challenging part of the process is splicing glass tubes together to make larger neon signs. They are made from several sections of tube, all of which need to be attached together. To do this the end of each piece of tubing needs to be heated so they can be spliced together.
As you can see a great deal of care and effort goes into making neon signs. We know this all too well and have manufactured high quality bespoke ones for many years. Our team are highly trained so you can always expect the very best from us.
If you have any questions for our neon and sign makers please get in touch. We can talk about designs, manufacturing, and even maintenance, providing all of the information you need.