Custom routed signs (also known as architectural or sandblasted signs) can be created with many materials. Don't let our name fool you, we do much more than just wood. There are many materials suitable for signs, such as solid wood, MDO, urethane foam, Extira, and high density polyethylene. My CNC router handles sizes up to 4' x 8'. (Lengths of 10' are possible with careful design considerations.) Below are some explanations of the most popular sign materials along with examples of each. Other materials are available. Please also see my gallery.
Solid wood is beautiful in every way. Most any wood works well for indoor signs, including oak, cherry, maple, and walnut. Western red cedar and white oak work best for outdoor signage that is fully exposed to the elements.
Urethane Foam is a widely used material for outdoor signs, which comes in many different thicknesses. It is very easy to machine, accepts any type of paint, and is lightweight. Urethane foam is also impervious to rot and insects.
Polyethylene is a polymer plastic. I use Color Core manufactured by King Plastics. This material comes in up to 4' x 8' sheets and several different color combinations. Polyethylene is extremely durable outdoors. It is vandal resistant, can be pressure washed, inert to most chemicals, and requires zero maintenance.
MDO panel (Medium Density Overlay), is made of exterior grade plywood with a smooth weather-resistant resin overlay bonded to the wood by heat and pressure. MDO panel comes pre-primed or factory painted in white. MDO is best for indoor signage and temporary outdoor signage.
Extira is an exterior grade MDF material (medium density fiberboard). This material is engineered to resist rot, moisture, and insects. It has a very smooth surface and accepts all types of paint. It carves very well and is able to hold remarkable detail.