Neon is a magnificent blend of science and craftsmanship that has been around since 1910. Predominantly used for signage in it's early existence, the art of neon has evolved to include the beautiful neon designs that we admire today.
Neon lighting is often underestimated and misunderstood. Unlike other mass-produced lighting products, every piece of neon is handcrafted.
This is an overview of the process for making our SPARC Design neon pieces:
- Creating the design layout: This is the fun part for our customers, where you can get creative! All of the requirements for the desired design must be included in an actual drawing. This is a very important part of the process as the neon will be made directly over that layout. Fortunately, this means that what you see in the design concept is what you will get in the end result. The fluorescent phosphor powder coating within neon tubes allows for a great variety of colours to be achieved with neon lighting. Our customers can choose any colour from our neon colour chart that they would like their neon to be made in.
- Bending the neon: Once a layout has been confirmed and the customer is happy to proceed with that design, straight tubes of glass are manipulated by hand over flame to match the layout. Heating the glass to the perfect temperature allows the neon bender to bend it into shape. Every bend that you see in a neon section has been done by hand. This step really shows the delicate skill required by the craftsperson.
- Pumping the neon: After the tubes have been bent into shape, any impurities and air must be evacuated from the tubing using a high-vacuum pumping system. This requires bombarding the neon, causing the glass to heat to temperatures between 200 and 225 degrees Celsius. Once evacuation is complete, the glass is allowed to cool back down to approximately 80 degrees Celsius and is then pumped with an inert gas (either argon or neon) at low pressure and then sealed with electrodes at either end. It is important in this step, that the neon bender is equipped with appropriate and extensive pumping and bombarding equipment.
- Electrical installation: Neon requires specialised power supplies with connections made at each electrode. When these power supplies run an electrical current through the processed tubes, the gas particles are "excited" and produce the beautiful neon light that we all love to see.
SPARC Design follows this process for all of our neon pieces - creating handmade, unique lighting designs for our wonderful customers.
We absolutely love keeping the 100+ year old art of neon alive in a modern day design concept, and we hope that you do too!