Tag Archives: Zinc

PEC makes waves with new donor wall at Cambridge SportsPlex

The Cambridge SportsPlex donor wall.

The donor wall at the Cambridge SportsPlex honors all those who contributed time and money to the project.

It took 140 donors to make it happen, but thanks to their dedication, the town of Fairfield, Iowa, has a new gym and pool facility that is improving its citizens’ quality of life and attracting new people to the community.

Originally built 45 years ago, Fairfield’s recreational facilities were due for an upgrade. In 2011, planning began for the multi-million-dollar Cambridge SportsPlex, and it opened in 2016. The 36,000 square-foot-space includes an indoor three-lane track, three full-size basketball courts, fitness area, exercise floor, storage, batting cages, restrooms, and showers.

After the grand opening, the SportsPlex task force committee wanted to recognize the generous donors who contributed to the project. A member of the task force, Kent Whitney, had previously worked with the PEC team and was pleased with the end result of the project. On behalf of the committee, he approached Pella Engraving Company about creating a donor recognition wall.

“I stopped in one day and showed them our ideas. They immediately took to it and got excited about the project. I knew right then we had the company we needed with the capability and passion to create our donor wall,” said Kent.

Donor wall at Cambridge SportsPlex.

Kent already had a design in mind, and PEC was able to bring the idea to life using a three-part approach:

  • Wave-inspired, curving background plates were cut on PEC’s state-of-the-art plasma cutter from 1/8″ aluminum. After color-matching the client’s artwork, these plates were painted in three shades of blue.
  • 1/8″ zinc plates with a pebbled texture were cut on a band saw and painted light gray to showcase the donor list. Donor names were etched into the zinc and tipped in black.
  • PEC turned to Sadler Sign and Design of Pella for the smallest lettering on the sign. The scale of the letters was too small to be handled by a plasma cutter or CNC machine. Vinyl was the perfect solution. The PEC team pre-coated the vinyl with the task force committee’s chosen shade of gray, and the individual letters were cut by Sadler Sign and Design. This lettering technique was repeated for the sign’s headline to create a cohesive and eye-catching final design.

The donor wall was installed in the Cambridge SportsPlex lobby. It perfectly fills space on a bare wall and improves traffic flow through the building. The task force committee was very pleased with the final project.

“Pella Engraving Company made what could have been a very challenging project enjoyable and stress-free,” said Kent. “The team’s professionalism and friendly and flexible demeanor made us feel like our project was the most important one on their plate.”

PEC welcomes new zinc etcher

Jason Jones

Jason Jones

Pella Engraving Company is excited to introduce new zinc etcher Jason Jones.

Jason is new to the world of zinc etching. Early in his career, his passion for cooking led him to pursue a degree in culinary arts. He spent time in the restaurant business and worked for Hy-Vee for 12 years. When Jason saw there was an opening at Pella Engraving Company, he was intrigued by the challenge of learning a new skill and decided to apply.

After accepting the job, Jason trained with Co-Owner Cory Vande Kieft for a week. He now works solo, primarily focusing on operating the zinc etcher and working on plates for wresting belts. Jason also helps out with other projects around the workshop when an extra pair of hands is needed.

“What I like best so far is that there’s something new to do every day. I’m always learning,” said Jason. “I am really enjoying the job and the people I get to work with.”

Away from work, Jason enjoys cooking, gardening, going to movies, and spending time outdoors.

Bring your magnesium or zinc plaque to life with a little color

When your plaque calls for color, Pella Engraving offers several options to consider that fit a wide variety of projects. No matter your budget or desired aesthetic, our team can help you plan a colorful plaque that stands out from the crowd. 

But which color option is the best fit for your plaque? To help you decide, PEC has put together this quick guide to our color options for zinc and magnesium plaques.

Add color accents with paint

Hand-painted color is ideal for customers who envision a classic, traditional-looking plaque. Customers who go this route can choose from PEC’s lineup of standard colors, which varies depending on the color of the plaque material (i.e., silver, copper, or gold). Hundreds of PMS PANTONE® colors are also available at an additional charge for customers who like the look of a painted plaque but want a more specific color.

Hand-painted color is ideal for traditional-looking plaques.

Hand-painting keeps the full integrity of the plaque material intact. Once a color is chosen, the PEC team paints the recessed areas of the plaque with that color. More than one color can be used, though a raised area must separate each color.

Along with the recessed areas, Pella Engraving can further enhance the timeless look of the plaque by tipping the raised areas with color. Standard tipping colors, which include iridescent colors, are available. Gold, copper, and silver protective coatings for raised areas of the plaque are also an option.

Reproduce vibrant colors and images with UV flatbed printing

While adding color with paint may be ideal for traditional plaques, PEC’s UV flatbed color option is perfect for customers interested in a vibrant, contemporary plaque.

With UV flatbed printing, customers can add both color and detailed images to their plaques using Pella Engraving’s specialized printer. The UV printer is the fastest and most cost-effective plaque color option, with the added bonus of no extra charges for custom colors or limitations color choices. It is also an outstanding option for logos, photographs, government seals, and more because it can reproduce images with areas of multiple colors.

The secret is the UV printer itself, which prints directly on materials like a sheet of aluminum and uses specialized ultra-violet lights to instantly dry ink. These aluminum sheets can then be cut into almost any shape and adhered to a plaque backing.


Flatbed UV color printing is a good option for plaques with logos, photographs, and government seals.

Choosing the right option for incorporating color on your plaque can make it truly shine. To learn more about PEC’s plaque color options, visit the plaque personalization and UV flatbed printing pages on our website, or contact a member of our team today.

Rosettes give plaques a little extra class

Rosette_CornerScrews are one of the most common and practical ways to mount a plaque to a wall. While many people are content with the appearance of the screws once their plaques are mounted, some are looking for another option.

Etched rosettes are one possibility. These engraved floral shapes can disguise the screws while adding a vintage decorative flourish. A pleasing addition, particularly on minimalist plaques with not much other artwork or text, rosettes are also economical—Pella Engraving will etch rosettes around screw holes for no additional charge. The holes and screws themselves are only $5 more per plaque.

When a customer chooses to add rosettes to a plaque, Pella Engraving puts the rosettes on the artwork design that is submitted to the etching machine (see right). The rosettes are etched onto the plaque in the same way and at the same time as the other artwork and border, so they are the same height and match the appearance of the rest of the plaque.

Sample-Rosette-PlaqueRosettes are available on zinc, magnesium, and Metalphoto plaques. The size of the rosette is determined based on the size of the plaque.

Installation tip: Rosettes and holes for screws are the kind of detail the Pella Engraving takes pride in offering to our customers. On most plaques, Pella Engraving strongly recommends customers allow us to drill the holes for them. Because we drill the holes right after the plaque is etched, before any of the other finishing work is done, we avoid drilling through the primer, texture, clear coat, or paint. Customers who choose to drill their own holes risk chipping or flaking off the finish. In addition, drilling after the finish is applied opens the plaque up to moisture around the screw holes, which leads to increased wear around the holes and voids our three-year warranty.

New etchers installed by German manufacturer

It’s been worth the wait! Pella Engraving is excited to report that its new Stoma etchers are up and running. PEC was happy to welcome Reinhard Matzke, owner of Stoma, to Pella to oversee the installation of these two machines. Watch the video below to see them at work and learn more about Stoma from Reinhard himself.

The new etchers will upgrade PEC’s zinc and magnesium etching capabilities.

“A huge thank you to Reinhard and Bernd from Stoma,” said Owner Jeff Vroom. “We also want to thank all our contractors that made this possible: Lanser Plumbing, Gritters Electric, Cornie Vanden Broek Concrete, and Ed Sprague.”


Brent joins Owner Jeff Vroom to welcome the new etchers to American soil


One of PEC’s old etchers is hauled away



Products & Services

Plaques and Awards
From individuals, to schools, to businesses, Pella Engraving works with a wide range of customers… Read More…
Plaque Personalization Options
From detailed artwork, to vibrant coloring, to irregular… Read More…
Plaque Display Stakes
If you’re creating a plaque destined for exterior display, Pella Engraving Company manufactures high-quality outdoor display stakes… Read More…
Indoor and Outdoor Signs
If you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor sign for your business or organization, Pella Engraving… Read More…
Nameplates, ID Tags, Serial Tags
Pella Engraving Company is a reliable supplier of engraved, UV-printed, and anodized metal ID tags… Read More…
Recognition and Donor Walls
Pella Engraving Company’s recognition and donor walls can be customized at every step… Read More…
Magnesium Dies
Pella Engraving Company has been manufacturing quality magnesium dies and printing plates… Read More…
CNC Routing and Plasma Cutting
Pella Engraving’s CNC routing machine and CNC plasma cutter are capable of executing intricate engraved… Read More…
Sandcarved Awards
If you’re looking to bring variety and elegance to your corporate awards… Read More…
Laser Engraving and Laser Marking
Laser engraving is a diverse process that lends itself to both our plaque- and tool-marking capabilities…Read More…
UV Flatbed Printing
Add color to your plaques, awards, and other products with Pella Engraving’s flatbed UV printer. Read More…