Channel letters are custom made metal letters that are used on the buildings of businesses, schools, churches and other organizations. A channel letter is a 3D graphic sign module that is fabricated from anodized aluminum sheet metal due to its environmental resistant properties. The back is made from a flat sheet of aluminum which is typically cut by a CNC router to the required letter shape.
The sides of the channel letter are formed by bending a 3 to 6-inch-wide strip of an aluminum sheet around the aluminum back. The process requires sheet metal bending equipment and an experienced operator. The sides can be welded at the seam or riveted to the back to create a solid can in the shape of the letter. The letter can is painted and fitted with any lighting elements necessary such as Neon or LED's.
A translucent face covers the front of the letter that comprises of a thick sheet of polycarbonate that is cut to fit the open face of the letter can. A trim cap border is applied to its edges which gives the letter face a finished appearance and creates a fastening surface to attach it to the letter can. Front lit channel letters can either be mounted to a raceway or directly to the building. A raceway configuration is an inexpensive alternative to directly mounting to a building and sometimes is required due to accessibility of getting behind the mounting wall. Mounting each letter directly to a building requires more effort due to the required electrical runs of each letter. When illuminated at night, channel letters pop, cathcing the passer bys eye. Channel letters can also be reverse lit. In this letter type, the lighting is directed to the back. This light floods the wall that the letter is mounted to and creates a negative space at night. Letters in this style are also called halo channel letters.