An Illuminated Icon Locks Down the Appeal of this Amazing Venue.
Every summer, when tourists flock to the Wisconsin Dells area in south
central Wisconsin, the small community of around 6,000 explodes. To better compete for tourist dollars, one local business owner built an escape room on property he owned in a popular area of town. Have you heard of these? The concept is to get locked in a room with a few friends and try to solve clues that will unlock the door before your hour is up.
The owner needed a visual icon on his building (still under construction) that would make a statement, attract customers and also add an element of intrigue as you walked through the door. He envisioned outdoor signage with a giant padlock with a maze built within the lock on the front of his building. The problem was, he had no idea how to get it built. After reviewing ideas with several contractors about building the lock out of fiberglass or other similar materials and placing visible chaser lights on the face of the maze, the owner felt unenthusiastic with all of them. He then reached out to La Crosse Sign Group (Onalaska, WI), which had fabricated other iconic outdoor signs in the Dells area. As a sign consultant working for La Crosse, I met with the owner to discuss building a lighted 28-ft.-tall padlock.
A Bright Idea
After looking at the concept, drafted on the building’s elevation blueprints and knowing that the owner wanted a sign that would come to life at night, I showed him a sample of a programmable RGB LED. I described how he could change the colors with a color wheel, and have it sequence either manually through multi-colors or automatically on its own through color sequences.
After we detailed how placing LEDs behind a halo-lit channel-letter-style of fabrication – with the lighting hidden during the day but shining brightly at night –the owner was won over and ready to move forward.
La Crosse graphic designer Brian Anderson then turned the concept into an actual, buildable design so that the owner could visualize what the final product would look like on his building and how the halo-lit elements would accent the maze lines at night.
PICKING THE LOCK
The Booby Trap Escape Room building was still under construction and scheduled to open in under two months, just in time for the busy summer season. Now the fabrication department was tasked with constructing a 28-ft.-tall x 22-ft.-wide, halo-lit lock outdoor sign. The result was too large to haul to the site in one piece, but could not be simply split in half because of its overlapping halo-lit maze elements. The lock would have to be fabricated in pieces and assembled onsite; if any of the backer plate pieces was off even a ¼ in., the rest of the sign components would not align. No stress, right?
The La Crosse fabricators constructed a 2-in.-thick aluminum backer plate made with aluminum angle and .125-in.-thick aluminum skin, then painted it using Matthews Paint System to match a metallic silver color, so the halo lighting would reflect nicely off the backer plate. Next they used .177 clear polycarbonate, cut on our MultiCam 3000 CNC Router, to fit the back of the halo-lit maze lines. It was mounted off of the silver backer panel by 1.5 in. to allow for the lighting to create a glow around the dark maze lines. This clear backer panel had two purposes: to mount the LEDs and also to keep birds from getting inside the letters, which can get quite messy. The fabricators mounted Principal LED Street Fighter RGB LEDs to the clear polycarbonate with the fabricated aluminum maze lines covering so that no wiring or lights were visible. They then routed the face of the maze lines from .125-in.-thick aluminum and welded .125 x 4-in.-deep aluminum returns to the faces. Finally, they painted the maze lines Matthews MP46540 Brazed Bronze Metallic for a metallic appearance during the day.
No Room For Error
The entire lock-maze was preassembled in the shop to make sure all mounting components lined up, then taken completely apart for transportation to the job site. The La Crosse installation team reviewed how the building elements might affect their installation, as every day they were changing due to the ongoing construction. Because the installers needed a very flat plane to mount this sign, they did have to remove a few siding transition boards to make sure the building had no raised areas The silver backer panel was in 14 pieces and all of them had to be bolted together and fastened to the building individually. Again, there was no tolerance for error.
The lighting control consisted of one Principal LED Model CT-A02-A touch RGB controller and eight Model CT-AP102A RGB power amplifiers to control the eight different light banks required to light the maze. The controller and amplifiers each required a dedicated universal power supply. A wireless handheld control wheel could change the outdoor sign lighting colors either manually or automatically through sequences of color changes. There were also eight 6-ft.-tall keys that our team mounted around the building. The keys were constructed and lighted the same way as the lock, allowing the keys and lock-maze to display different colors.
So, the key to attracting temperamental tourists to the Booby Trap Escape Room is not only its on-trend entertainment offering, but stunning signage that demands attention.
EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS
SOFTWARE: FlexiSIGN-PRO, thinksai.com
ROUTER: MultiCam 3000, multicam.com
WELDERS: Miller Millermatic 252 Mig Welders, millerwelds.com
PAINTING: Matthews Paint System, matthewspaint.com
LIGHTING: Principal LED Street Fighter RGB (lighting components), Principal LED Model CT-A02-A touch (controller), Principal LED Model CT-AP102A RGB (amplifiers), p-led.com
INSTALLATION: Skyhoist RX102 crane/bucket truck; Manitex SC62 crane/bucket truck, manitex.com
VARC “officially” launched its Child and Youth Services in La Crosse! The ceremony featured a business sign unveiling by La Crosse Sign and a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce. The event was a strong reminder of just how supportive the La Crosse community is.
VARC teaches independent living skills to people with vary abilities.
Whether your organization is in La Crosse, Eau Claire, Madison, or anywhere in between, contact us today to create your business sign.
This new monument outdoor business sign for Locknet in Wausau, WI features a push-thru acrylic logo and Hanley color changing RGB LEDs. The color changing LEDs in this outdoor sign can cycle through the whole rainbow or you can set them to a sequence of 3 to 7 colors as we have done here. This variety in color, and visual activity, will definitely bring plenty of attention to this Locknet location. Locknet is an EO Johnson Company with locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
A fine balance of contemporary and retro elements create a major presence for the Blackhawk Motel & Suites in Wisconsin Dells’ very competitive market. La Crosse Sign Group designed this new outdoor signage to create that balance.
Your image is extremely important. When you reveal a fresh new look you want to make a new statement to your existing and potential customers. This can be achieved through outdoor signage or indoor signage. With offices in La Crosse, WI, Madison, WI, and Eau Claire, WI, contact La Crosse Sign Group to help you make a statement!
February 17th is a perfect day to go out of your way to show kindness to your family, friends, neighbors, or even a stranger. Random Acts of Kindness day brings us all together to reflect on a common goal to make the world around us a better place. By showing kindness to others we positively impact the recipient, ourselves, and anyone who may be a witness to a kind act. To celebrate this day we want to share with you five ways to show kindness in your workplace.
5 Ways to Show Kindness at Work
1. Surprise your department by bringing in a treat on Monday.
2. On your way through the drive-thru grab an extra coffee for your co-worker.
3. Compliment a co-worker on a job well done.
4. Speak kindly of your co-workers to others and stop any negative gossip.
5. Offer to help a co-worker with a difficult task.
These are just 5 ways you can make a difference, get creative and show some kindness today (and everyday)!
It was an honor to help Paralympic Athlete, Lia Coryell, add some patriotic flair to her wheelchair. She competed in the Olympic games in Rio last year and continues traveling and competing all over the world. She is an Army veteran and Muscular Dystrophy has confined her to a wheelchair. The word “confined” means nothing to her. Jeff, the salesman who assisted her on the project said, “She has a spirit I can only wish to have.” When in Rio for the Olympics, she was told to remove any symbolism that would indicate her nationality as it may offend someone. She said, “I’m an American and proud of it.” She wants to make sure everyone knows that, so she came to La Crosse Sign to have her wheelchair wrapped full of patriotic symbolism. Dedication to our nation runs in the family, her son is currently serving in Afghanistan.
Coryell pictured at the Copa Juan Enrique Barrios World Ranking Event in Puerto Rico
LSM Chiropractic in Verona, WI is one of many locations in the Madison area and surrounding communities. For 60 years, LSM Chiropractic has provided pain management and chiropractic care. They recently updated their image with a new logo, La Crosse Sign Group has been happy to partner with them to update signage at their present locations. In Verona, we provided two new sets of internally illuminated LED channel letters and a monument sign.
Your image is extremely important. When you reveal a fresh new look you want to make a new statement to your existing and potential customers. This can be achieved through signage.
There are many ways to make your business/organization stand out when updating to a new logo or name:
- You may want brand new signage for a complete update – such as channel letters or a monument sign.
- You can also utilize signage that you already have, by updating the faces in an existing monument sign or pylon sign.
- Changing the vinyl on entrance doors or windows is another great, and simple, way to make your updates visible and effective.
When it comes to signage you may not know where to begin or what will benefit you long-term. As a sign company we believe it is our job to educate you and help you understand your options so you can make the best decision. You may have heard of the term ‘LED Retrofit’ – in general, a retrofit is the process of adding new technology to an existing system. In this case, changing fluorescent bulbs to LEDs in existing signage.
What are the benefits to an LED Retrofit?
- Your maintenance costs will be dramatically reduced.
Fluorescent bulbs burn out a couple times a year on average, which means they will need to be replaced.
Bulbs + Bucket truck + Service crew + Proper disposal of bulbs = A potentially high bill.
LEDs running 10 hours a day can last 10+ years. This eliminates the previous need for maintenance a couple times a year to keep your sign fully functioning.
- LEDs are energy efficient.
LEDs require less energy – using only 12 volts. Traditional fluorescent bulbs use 100 – 175 volts. LEDs also emit light directionally at 180 degrees instead of 360 degrees. There is more light lost at 360 degrees than there is at 180. 95% of the energy used in LEDs is converted into light, only the remaining 5% wasted to heat.
- LEDs are environmentally friendly.
The energy efficiency is a benefit to the environment. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which is why it is critical to dispose of them properly. LEDs do not contain mercury or any other harsh chemicals. The lifespan of LEDs is also a benefit – there are not as many resources needed for manufacturing, packaging, or disposal.
- LEDs are durable.
LEDs are much more durable than fluorescent bulbs. There is no glass that can be easily shattered due to inclement weather, this will reduce the risk of maintenance due to exterior damage.
What’s the catch?
There are many benefits to switching from fluorescent bulbs to LEDs. While we have shown the upside, you will want to consider the trade-off for switching to LED – the initial cost. LEDs are relatively expensive up-front. I can assure you the cost up-front will be worth the energy savings as well as the maintenance costs you will avoid in the future.
Can an LED Retrofit REALLY make a different in your own sign?
If you are curious about the benefits of an LED retrofit and how it could impact you directly our team has an energy & environmental impact tool that will show you your energy saved annually, % of energy reduction, the environmental benefits, as well as the approximate yearly and monthly money savings in energy costs with the sign you currently have when you switch to LED.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for information.
The 13 acre cemetery in Onalaska, WI has a beautiful new archway over the main entrance. Our sales staff and designer Chris Clark worked closely with the Onalaska cemetery committee to bring their vision to life. The cemetery committee brought drawings from the early 1900’s to the initial design meeting, inspired by arches of the past. Chris custom designed a new aluminum arch to incorporate the historical style with the existing fence and stonework. This is a fitting way to commemorate all those who have come before us.
These days we are constantly bombarded by choices in everything – from the flavor of coffee we want to which internet provider gives the best service. The sign industry is no exception, you may feel overwhelmed by the options when choosing signage. This post is written with the purpose to help you sort things out and arrive at a decision that is right for you.
When thinking about what type of sign you want first ask yourself the following questions:
What would you like your signage to accomplish for your business?
Will your sign be interior, exterior, or both?
When do you need your sign project completed by?
What is the budget range you have established for this sign project?
Do you have a business logo already created that we will be using?
Start by answering the above questions and then prepare a list of your own of questions you would like to ask our sales staff. Every sign project involves a partnership between our staff and our customers.
More than just signs.
Often times our customers are small businesses. They want to make a unique statement with a building and signage that catches the eye and is effectively representing who they are. While La Crosse Sign Group is noted for creating signs that are a work of art in themselves, we also tackle projects that add value and curb appeal to existing buildings. The Art Deco structure that houses Revolution is an example of how we took our knowledge of fabrication and installation to wrap the storefront in aluminum for a fresh update. The structure is now a focal point in the downtown area of Black River Falls, WI with its sleek modern entrance that still holds on to the charm of the early 20th century.