Built-up aluminium letters

Are you sure you want to specify built-up aluminium lettering?

This sounds like a strange question you are looking for aluminium built-up lettering so you have visited this page. But do you really need to use this type of product? Are there better alternatives available?

This question is, however extremely important. For reasons which we will explain aluminium may not be the best choice for your built up lettering.

built up aluminium lettering
Built-up aluminium lettering

If you are looking for end results like this photograph then you might like to hear about a better way to achieve the results you want to achieve.

The problem with aluminium as a built-up lettering material

The fundamental problem with aluminium as a built-up lettering material is the joining process. As with all built up lettering products we are working with two component parts: the display face and the side return.

Whilst there is no problem machining the letter faces and returns and then forming the cut return strips there is a fundamental problem joining these two component parts together to form the finished aluminium built up lettering.

Aluminium built up lettering cannot be welded

The metal thicknesses used for built-up letter production are thin, no more than 1.2mm. Aluminium is a notoriously difficult metal to weld successfully. This difficult job becomes virtually impossible on thin gauges of aluminium sheet; burn marks and burn through is inevitable. To all intents and purposes welding as a jointing technique is out.

built up aluminium letter pictures
Built-up aluminium letter pictures

Aluminium built-up lettering cannot be brazed

Another possible way of joining the aluminium faces to the side returns is by use of brazing. This entails getting both parts of the aluminium built-up letter very hot, cherry red hot in fact. Again the thin gauges used in built-up lettering come back to cause a problem brazing such thin metal to such high temperatures causes the built-up letter parts to distort and sometimes melt. This joining method is also out.

Aluminium built up lettering cannot be glued

The only realistic way to join component parts of an aluminium built-up letter is via liquid structural adhesives. There is no reason why we can’t make built-up aluminium lettering in this way, we simply choose not to.

From our own experience, we can tell you that structural adhesives simply don’t live up to the sales hype. Ask any structural adhesive supplier to guarantee the performance of their product and you will find they won’t. It doesn’t matter who you buy from every adhesive supplier will shy away from providing a proper guarantee that their product will perform properly in either the short or long term.

A better alternative to aluminium

Stainless steel is the best material to use for any metal built up lettering project because of the construction methods used.  As aluminium built-up lettering is never used without a paint finish there is simply no reason why stainless steel cannot be used instead. The price is identical but the durability and reliability is streets ahead.


aluminium built up letteringTake this blue letter h for example. This type of coloured built up lettering is the application most people would select as being suitable for aluminium built up lettering. In fact this letter is stainless steel painted blue can you see the difference?

When in it comes to the finished lettering you will not be able to discern any difference between aluminium and stainless steel the only thing you will notice is that there is no structural adhesive to fail.

Aluminium sheet costs around the same as stainless steel so there is no cost advantage to aluminium built up lettering.

Any letter shape that can be made in aluminium can also be made in stainless steel. There is no advantage in aluminium here either.

Why we take this approach

We ask you to consider switching your specification from aluminium built-up lettering to stainless steel built-up lettering so we can use our tried and tested joining techniques which we know deliver a better product.

Other suppliers may be happy to make whatever you want but we are concerned about the long term performance of your purchase, not the short term sale. Our approach is based on experience and it’s designed to save you from potential problems and expense a few months down the line.

Why take the chance of adhesive failures on aluminium built-up lettering when there is a proven alternative?

Aluminium built-up lettering is inferior to stainless steel with virtually no advantages in terms of cost or appearance.