Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '18

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S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 8 24 A ShopBot router featuring an auto- matic tool changer. The possibilities are ENDLESS for CNC machines. The user usually runs out of creativity before the machine reaches its limits. In addition to the time savings, routers also offer consistency and repeatable accuracy, the ability to use a broader selection of material types, the ability to do more work with less manpower or labor costs, and the ability to do more than one thing at the same time, Warner says. "Unlike most of the more 'traditional' sign-making tools, you can be working on other tasks while the CNC is machining a project. Compared to sand blasting, for example, the CNC adds a much higher degree of control, nearly limitless background textures, the possibility of 3D relief carving, and the ability to work with more materials," he adds. CNC machines come in different sizes and can be affixed with different heads. The main head is a spindle or router, says LeRoy. "This is a bit-based motor that drills, cuts, pockets, 3D mills and engraves into the materials. Other heads are possible to add, such as knife heads for foam, creasing wheels, cameras for print jobs, drag knives and more." The machines also come in different horse powers but the stan- dard and beginner level is a liquid-cooled 3HP spindle. Advanced spindles, such as a 12HP Italian air-cooled spindle, come on the higher end cabinet making routers, he adds. Warner estimates that shops can expect to spend between $8,000 and $11,000 for a desktop CNC; between $14,000 and $20,000 for a 48˝x48˝ or 96˝x48˝ machine; and between $40,000 and $50,000 for a fully equipped industrial model. AXYZ International's entry-level routers start at around $35,000. This is a single-head machine complete with everything a shop A New Dimension for Your Shop "It provides businesses with a clear competitive advantage over those who rely on more traditional/manual methods," AXYZ's Hooley says. "A CNC allows businesses to ramp up their opera- tions, increasing productivity, cutting costs and competing for projects/contracts they wouldn't have previously been able to." Buddy Warner, ShopBot sales representative at ShopBot, says that while it is true that a CNC is particularly good at cutting the same file multiple times, "it can also save huge amounts of time doing custom one-off jobs." CNC

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