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Signs Win in a Route

(May 2017) posted on Tue May 09, 2017

Dimensional signs broaden offerings and sales margins.

By Mark Kissling

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“With double layers of aluminum, one for the background (color) and one for the front cut-out details, it was important to have accurate alignment,” Hansen said. “As the aluminum was only ¼-in. thick, the router could accurately mill the holes on the back side to an accurate depth and placement, making the assembly easier.” Precision was critical in this case, as a fine artist’s work was being represented. “It was also paramount to ensure complete accuracy as Connie Watts was very detailed about her expectations,” Hansen said.

Signs of the Times Enterprises relied on Gerber Omega and ARTPath™ software to program their router for the aluminum mural. Routing all the pieces for this project occupied approximately 40% of the total production, which also included setting up the files and tool paths, material handling, operating the machine, cleaning up, recycling and restocking leftovers. They used the Matthews Paint System to finish the aluminum and lifted the completed pieces utilizing a bucket truck. “Each piece was bolted to the wall and had to penetrate the inner timbers while [avoiding the building’s] flashing, which was running in both directions,” Hansen said. The result was a 3D mural that celebrates the traditional artwork of the urban Aboriginal families who reside in the development.

Hansen’s advice is to ask yourself if there’s a market in your area for routed signs. If so, then “do your homework, go to shows, compare the software and finishes, know the available options and ask each manufacturer about their training period,” Hansen said. “Negotiate for three days,” he added. “Most importantly, does the manufacturer stock parts for your machine and are they readily available? If your machine goes down, waiting on a part holds up production and upsets clients.”

Finally, Hansen suggests subcontracting routed signs first. “This way, you can build up this service and, once you have created a market and have significant sales, you can then invest in your own machine confidently.”


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