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Rolling "Welcome Center" Cart with Backlit Sign

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Project by jeff_wenz posted 01-07-2010 11:08 PM 3574 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My adult church “Connect Group” (Sunday School class, small group, etc…) recently moved to a different room. We no longer had a tiki bar prop to use as a surface to fill out name tags and register visitors. I decided to build a cart that could be rolled out into the hallway on Sunday mornings, and rolled back into the room for storage during the week.

I figured I would include a built in sign, as well. So I enlisted my wife to design the artwork, and I went to work on building the cart.

The cart is made of ¾” MDF. I doubled up the MDF thickness on the bottom and writing surface. I wanted to add some detail, so I chamfered the edges so there is a v-groove detail on the edges. The writing surface and “shelf” are covered in Formica.

The building we are in is very modern, so I wanted to uses metal in the design. I chose ½” galvanized pipe. All pipes are secured with a galvanized flange. I installed six 2” casters for mobility purposes.

The overall size is 6’ by 2’. The writing surface is countertop height (approx 36” off of the ground). I created an arc using a thin board for the front and back to add some interest to the design.

The really cool part is the back lit sign. I bought a standard drop ceiling fixture from Lowes (approx $40) and built a MDF box around it. After mounting, I cut some 2.5” trim and painted that black, too. In order to be able to service the bulbs or switch out the sign, I hinged the trim (basically a frame) on the bottom with a piano hinge. A rare earth magnet on the top 2 corners provides a “hardware free” look, yet still functional.

The backlit sign graphics was printed on backlit sign material by a local sign shop. That cost me $77 for the approx 2’ x 4’ size. I mounted it on a piece of Plexiglas I got from a local picture frame shop. Since my ceiling fixture is standing on its side, I used metal picture frame “spring clips” to hold the diffuser panel (the scratchy ceiling fixture stuff) and the plexi up tight against the ceiling fixture metal track.

I am very happy with the results. Note, the pictures doesn’t even have the sign turned on. I had one lady ask me if the sign was a 42” LCD TV! I fooled her for a fraction of the price.

Now the church is “interested” in some more. What did I get myself in to?

-- Jeff, North Carolina





6 comments so far

View teejay's profile

teejay

95 posts in 2265 days


#1 posted 01-09-2010 12:48 AM

nice job. Now you can build them for all the small groups that meet at the church. stay busy

View beth21's profile

beth21

3 posts in 6 days


#2 posted 08-23-2015 06:46 PM

Hi Jeff, Wondering if we could purchase your design/pattern for this for our church?

View jeff_wenz's profile

jeff_wenz

151 posts in 2549 days


#3 posted 08-24-2015 11:09 AM



Hi Jeff, Wondering if we could purchase your design/pattern for this for our church?

Beth – Feel free to use.

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View beth21's profile

beth21

3 posts in 6 days


#4 posted 08-24-2015 12:29 PM

Thanks, Jeff.
Are there any more directions for the backlit box? I’ve never done this part before.

View jeff_wenz's profile

jeff_wenz

151 posts in 2549 days


#5 posted 08-24-2015 01:07 PM


Thanks, Jeff.
Are there any more directions for the backlit box? I ve never done this part before.

The light fixture is enclosed in a box made of 3/4” MDF. The back is 1/8” cheap fiberboard. I routed a shallow rabbet (approx 1/4” deep) in the opening of the box so the ceiling fixture would be inset just a bit so the frame would be making contact (flush) with the box. The depth of the rabbet needs to accommodate the thickness of the light fixtures frame, but also the screw head depth. I wired it by buying a drop cord and cutting off the male end plug and direct wiring it to the light fixture using wire nuts. The “frame” is just some 2” baseboard or chair rail molding from Lowes. Since the frame is approx 2” wide, the artwork of the design needs to account for the outer edges not being visible (hidden by the thickness of the frame). The frame is built so the outside of the frame is the same size as the outside of the MDF box, The frame is hinged to the light fixture box on the bottom with a piano hinge. I buried a couple rare earth magnets on the box at the top and screwed some washers to the back of the frame where the magnets meet up and keep it closed.

I hope this explanation helps you on your way.

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View beth21's profile

beth21

3 posts in 6 days


#6 posted 08-24-2015 02:42 PM

Thanks for the details, Jeff!
Gratefully,
Elizabeth

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