Category Archives: CNC Routing & Plasma Cutting

PEC team sticks the landing with new sign for Winterset Gymnastics


Winterset Gymnastics outdoor sign mock-up

Winterset Gymnastics sign lettering installed

Top, the Photoshopped mock-up provided to Pella Engraving by Winterset Gymnastics. Bottom, an unaltered photo of the finished sign.

The athletes and coaches at Winterset Gymnastics are flying high thanks to the new company sign created by Pella Engraving Company.

The gym, which offers tumbling and trampoline classes to kids ages 2 to 18, was in need of a sign after they relocated in August 2016. “The building we moved into is much larger than our old space and just turned 100 years old,” explained Matt Floden, who co-owns Winterset Gymnastics with his wife, Holli. “We did a lot of renovation. While we were able to get the majority of the work finished before Christmas and start classes in the new studio in January 2017, we waited on the sign until a mason could come and repair some of the bricks and mortar on the exterior. That masonry work was completed this year, so we were ready to move forward.”

Matt and Holli knew the façade of their building featured a border and two diamond accents in white brick. However, historical photos of the building revealed there was a third diamond accent covered by old signage. Excited by the discovery, they removed the old sign and started brainstorming ways to design their sign around the three diamonds. Matt, an architect by trade, used Photoshop to digitally build a mock-up of the sign they envisioned.

Plasma Cut brown letters for outdoor sign in PEC shop

The brown color was selected from the Matthews Paint System.

Matt and Holli knew right where to turn to make their vision a reality. Holli is the sister-in-law of Pella Engraving Company Co-Owner Cory Vande Kieft.

“We got the mock-up, then chose a color from our Matthews Paint System that closely matched the color of the sign in Matt’s example,” said Cory. “This paint is specifically formulated for signage and performs really well in outdoors settings.”

Next, Co-Owner Jarid Purvis used the PEC plasma cutter to cut the 20-inch-high letters out of 1/8-inch-thick aluminum. He set the type to match the font from the mock-up. Once the letters were cut, he sanded them to remove imperfections and drilled holes for the stainless-steel screws that would secure the letters to the building.

Plasma cut brown letters for outdoor sign in PEC shop

The 20-inch-high letters were cut by the PEC plasma cutter to match the example.

“We painted the letters and the screws with the brown color we chose to match Matt’s example,” said Cory. “After that, we put on a clear coat to give the letters an added layer of protection from the weather. This coat also contains a UV inhibitor to help prevent fading.”

On a clear February morning—less than a week after Matt sent the Photoshopped mock-up to Pella Engraving—he installed the finished sign on the building with help from Toby Tyler, the dad of a Winterset Gymnastics athlete who was also very involved in the remodel of the new studio.

“If you’re looking for a sign I would definitely recommend working with Pella Engraving Company,” said Matt. “They were fast and easy to work with. The end product perfectly matches the vision we had.”

Gymnasts holding letters for new outdoor sign

Athletes from Winterset Gymnastics pose with the letters for the new sign.


PEC brings modern style to Central College recognition wall


Pella Engraving manufactured 58 plaques for the updated Central College Hall of Honor—55 recreations of the original plaques and 3 all-new plaques.

Four years ago, Central College embarked on the Forever Dutch initiative—an ongoing multi-million dollar renovation project that is transforming the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex into a modern and welcoming home for student-athletes, coaches, and Central fans. The latest upgrade to the complex is the expansion and renovation of the southern and western wings of P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium.

The expansion was completed last spring, but it was officially unveiled to fans, donors, and alumni at the Athletics Hall of Honor induction ceremony on September 23 during Central’s 2017 homecoming celebrations. Open for exploring on the gym’s second floor were areas like the newly updated wrestling room. Downstairs, in the Pacha Family Lobby, guests were greeted by something special courtesy of Pella Engraving Company—a brand-new Hall of Honor recognition wall.

The Hall of Honor was instituted in 2002. It recognizes standout student-athletes, coaches, and administrators who have become exceptional leaders outside the Central College athletics family. “Inductees to the Hall of Honor represent the best of what Central is all about,” said Athletics Director Eric Van Kley.

Fifteen years ago, the original Hall of Honor included 55 magnesium plaques with wood backings; Pella Engraving had been manufacturing a new plaque each time an inductee was chosen. As the work on Kuyper Gymnasium progressed, the Forever Dutch team decided to replace the original plaques with new ones that fit the sleek, modern feel of the renovated building. “We went back to Pella Engraving because we knew they could provide plaques with the style and excellence that characterize the new building,” said Eric.


The new plaques feature a photo of the honoree, their graduation date, and biographical information printed on silver aluminum plates.

In total, Pella Engraving manufactured 58 plaques for the updated Hall of Honor—55 recreations of the original plaques and 3 all-new plaques. Plaques will be added each year as new individuals are inducted into the Hall of Honor. The PEC team took the lead in creating the new plaque style. Each plaque includes a photo of the honoree, their graduation date, and a short description of their accomplishments, all surrounded by a field of Central red. The photo, text, and color background were printed on silver aluminum plates with Pella Engraving’s UV flatbed printer. The aluminum plates were then adhered to a black acrylic backer. Finally, clear acrylic shields that provide both style and protection from nicks and scratches were secured to the front of each plaque with aluminum standoff caps.

The display is headlined with plasma-cut aluminum lettering. Two sets of letters—one silver and one black—were created using PEC’s state-of-the-art plasma cutter. The black letters were installed first, followed by the silver letters, which were placed at a slight offset to create a drop-shadow effect.

The new recognition wall received a very positive reception at the Athletics Hall of Honor ceremony. “I’ve heard a lot of people say that the new Hall of Honor looks very classy,” said Eric. “It adds excitement to the lobby, and the quality of the display is something we are really proud of. The Pella Engraving team is tremendous.”

Five ways to make sure your outdoor sign sends the right message

Now that spring is finally here, people might start taking the time to admire outdoor scenery again, instead of hurrying as quickly as possible from their cars into your business’s front door—so it’s an ideal time to freshen up the look of the exterior of your business. One great option is a new outdoor sign.

wiskus-sign-pella-engravingSince your outdoor sign will welcome customers to your business for years to come, you want to make sure it sends the right message. Here are five elements of a perfect outdoor sign:

  1. Eye-catching – Your sign should be large enough to catch the eye and be readable, even to people driving by. Lighting is also important—you want people to be able to read it at night. And while it may seem obvious, make sure you place your sign where it is easily visible to passersby.
  2. Simple and bold – A well-designed sign is critical. It will be read quickly, so keep the text and design elements as simple as possible. Choose a bold font, and don’t be too wordy—just your business name and maybe a tagline. Stick to one or two fonts.
  3. Tasteful accents – Pella Engraving has the capability to cut out intricate shapes, such as in the tree on the Wiskus Group sign to the right , and when well-placed, they can add a lot of personality and prestige to your sign. But use discretion—too many can be overwhelming.
  4. Consistency – Your business sign should match your brand, including colors and fonts. If you have a logo, consider integrating elements into your sign—as again was done with the tree from the Wiskus Group logo on their sign. 
  5. Tidy – A Pella Engraving sign will maintain its fresh appearance and color for years to come, but it still needs regular cleaning. You want to make sure the sign’s upkeep matches your business’s high-quality standards and professionalism.

Visit Pella Engraving’s signage page to view a video about the making of a custom exterior sign for the Wiskus Group.

DMACC donor wall

F1 Recognition Wall

In the summer of 2011, PEC helped the DMACC campus in Perry, Iowa, honor the donors for the new VanKirk Career Academy building. The donor wall project required a combination of CNC plasma routing and zinc etching to complete total job. In addition to the main donor wall, PEC created zinc signs to place in individual rooms to recognize the donors of those rooms. The project was installed by PEC—an option available to clients anywhere in the Midwest.

Signs First

Signs First in Jackson, Tennessee, owned by John Nelson and his brother, specializes in producing digital and vinyl signage. They create vehicle wraps, interior architectural signage, window lettering, truck lettering—almost anything but lighted signs. Signs First is located in a city with growing industry, which leads to lots of business. Diverse businesses, however, mean they often get unusual signage requests.

Because Signs First tries to fulfill any requests its customers make, John often needs to find partner companies that have other skill sets. “When outsourcing, I work hard to find companies that have the same way of doing business. When you tell a customer you can make something happen by a certain time, you make that happen. I want to work with people who are as concerned about customers as we are.”

In this sense, PEC is a great match for Signs First. The two companies have been working together for seven or eight years, largely on plaque projects. On their most recent collaboration, according to John, “PEC shined big time.” First Bank needed 23 plaques for a new corporate office in historic downtown Nashville, and called Signs First. John then turned to PEC. The plaques were to be 1/4″ thick magnesium featuring cut metal letters with a silver finish on a black textured background.

The job had tight deadlines and an extensive approval process, but John never had to worry that everything would get done on time. “At one point, we learned one of the most important signs in the job, the plaque in the reception area, was needed a week early. I called PEC and asked if they could overnight it,” said John. “Once they assured me it would happen, I went home and slept like a baby. I knew if they said it would happen, it would.”

Though John primarily communicates with Bruce Van Wyk (PEC co-owner) and Janeen Eastwood (customer service representative), he said what makes PEC unique is the work ethic of the entire crew. “What they’ve done with the entire organization, from top to bottom, is amazing.”

signs-first-bank-pella-engraving     signs-first-desk-pella-engraving


Products & Services

Plaques and Awards
Plaque Personalization Options
Plaque Display Stakes
Indoor and Outdoor Signs
ID and Serial Tags
Recognition and Donor Walls
Magnesium Dies
CNC Routing and Plasma Cutting
Sandcarved Awards
Laser Engraving and Laser Marking
UV Flatbed Printing