Nameplates are some of the most mundane objects you will encounter. Their polished appearance, however, tends to evoke curiosity in many. How are they made? What are they made of? Especially when it comes to well-designed custom nameplates, it’s difficult not to be intrigued by the craftsmanship behind them.

Different kinds of nameplates

Nameplates can be made of various materials. They could be crafted using aluminium, stainless steel, mild steel, or brass. They can also be made of wood or glass. They are generally used to indicate names and titles. They can also be used as signs, indicators, or labels. In automotive industry applications, for example, nameplates are used to state the power rating (in HP or Watts) of the motor as well as its full load amperage, voltage, and other technical specifications.

How are nameplates created?

The process of producing nameplates varies depending on the kind being made. To imprint the desired text or figures, the plate could be made to undergo anodisation, engraving, plating, etching, laser cutting or printing, powder coating, or screen printing.

  • Anodisation. This is a method that uses electrolytic passivation to raise the thickness of the natural oxide layer of a metal plate to produce the desired design or to write text on the surface.

  • Engraving. A process that involves cutting and carving; engraving is usually applicable to wooden and some metal nameplates.

  • Plating. An ancient technology, plating is about covering a metal or conductive surface with another metal through deposition. It results in a consistent and durable nameplate. It is different from painting as it involves metal to metal surface coating.

  • Etching. A widely used method at present, etching entails the use of strong acids to form words, shapes, or designs on the surface of a metal.

  • Laser printing/cutting. As the phrase implies, laser printing is the use of a laser to produce designs or words on a surface. It is an expensive process so it may not be a common option. This is different from the common laser printing in offices that involves the use of toner or powdered ink to transfer text or images to paper.

  • Powder coating. In this procedure, a thermoplastic or thermoset polymer dry powder coating is applied in a free-flowing form. It is similar to painting except that no liquid coating is used. No solvent is used to hold the binder and filler parts of the colouring that are introduced to a surface.

  • Screen printing. This option is most suitable for producing nameplates with similar features. It’s just like screen painting on shirts, only that it is applied on surfaces that will be mounted on walls or doors. It involves the creation of a design on a screen or mesh frame that acts as the negative stencil for a design.

These are just some of the common ways to produce nameplates. They can be used in combination with each other depending on the desired outcome. If you want a nameplate made, examine the methods described above so you can decide which ones are most suitable for what you need.