Retractable Counterweight SignTurning Your Avant-Garde Sign Concepts Into Realities...

This project was not by any way ground breaking, but I really wanted it under my belt once I was asked to quote it.

Quite a number of schools, churches, and public organisations require a sign that can have a changeable message, and we’ve all seen them. One of the problems with some of the taller signs, is that there is the need for a ladder, to change the message, or else you lower the sign down to a more manageable level. This one is the latter.

I had to copy two other signs at two separate schools, that were brought down from Queensland, so I went out on a recce with my tape measure and camera. Wasn’t going to be hard to duplicate these at all, but hey, why not go the whole way, and make something even better! The signs I modelled this one from, were... agricultural, to say the least. They had sliding garage door tracking welded to the insides of the upright posts, ugly patio door locks under the main sign, and rattled like hell in the wind. On the rear of the signs, they looked like a Sherman Tank, screws and bolts everywhere to access the counter balance weights, I figured I could do a little better...

One of the first things I decided to do, was omit the ugly sliding door track on the posts, and have a small unobtrusive 20 mm. rail instead, and machine up some nylon wheels which were to be hidden in the main sign frame. The other thing was to completely french in the locks, and have them out of sight, as well as having the rear of the sign completely free of any visible fastenings.

So, after a couple of scratch drawings, I decided upon the steel I wanted to use, and proceeded to make up the frame, which was to be a bolt together affair.


The frame and posts had to have all of the holes and slots cut into it to accommodate they pulley system I was going to employ, whilst the sign frame had to have its wheels and gas struts all hidden away.


Once we got the structure all concreted into place, we had to spend two hours setting up the pulleys, before we applied the skins to the sign, so a quick test was in order. We were satisfied with the result, so we clad the rest of the sign...

Sign in its full display position.


Sign in retracted position.


Sign with door open.


Another with door open.


Clean rear view.


Retractable Counterweighted Sign For Church At Morphett Vale, South Australia