Sign & Digital Graphics

December '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • December 2019 • 21 the unprotected portions of the top layer from two layers of hard plastic laminate. A stencil is used to create the images and everything else is removed from the top layer. "The area not protected gets eaten away down to the core of the material, like with engraving," Kelly says. "It's sim- ilar to engraving but done in a greater swath of area." Melamine is a preferable material for sandblasting over acrylic, which ends up being more brittle and doesn't produce as smooth of a finish, Anderson says. Sandblasting is a more traditional and early sign production method that isn't as commonly used today, Kelly says. Another older method is thermo- forming, or thermo-compression, which involves using a press to heat an acrylic or plastic sheet into a pliable form so that it can be created into the specific shape of a mold. A router also can be used to create the shape of the mold. The press is used again to heat and press the acrylic into the mold to create the sign, which like the photopolymer process can be painted and stamped. The advantage in using thermoform- ing is that scrap acrylic can be used and if a mistake is made, the material can be reused, Anderson says, adding that the method is less expensive than photo- polymer. "Thermo-compression offers a totally clear material that, since it is solid acrylic, is suitable for all interior environments and all exterior applications as well," Kirk says. "Thermo-compression offers the ability to embed graphics between two layers of acrylic that are sealed and bonded in the acrylic, making them fully exterior-rated." However, the method involves two steps of making a mold and then using a mold to make the sign. One final method is UV/LED, which requires a direct color machine, software and inks that are used on the substrate material, Kirk says. "UV/LED signs are created with a plastic, laminate or metal substrate base, and then after creating your artwork, the UV/LED printer applies the raised 1/32nd-inch text, graphic and Braille directly to the sign material," Kirk says. The method allows for fast print- ing onto a material, and with acrylic in particular, direct printing can be done to either the surface or subsurface for the background color and then Braille applied to the face of the panel, Kirk says. Whatever the method chosen, "a lot of our customers, they just want to be in compliant. They are not trying to win design awards," Anderson says. "They don't want to get fined." SDG The advantage in using thermoforming is that scrap acrylic can be used and if a mistake is made, the material can be reused. TOLL FREE 800-310-2887 SALES@COMPUTERIZEDCUTTERS.COM WWW.COMPUTERIZEDCUTTERS.COM is TABLE-TOP channel letter bender notches, bends, and flanges in a compact and portable size - only 37" x 18" x 18"! TAX SAVINGS $ 19,950 LIST PRICE $ 6,983 SECTION 179 TAX DEDUCTION* $ 12,967 NET OUT OF POCKET *Actual tax savings may vary. See https://www.section179.org/section_179_deduction/ for further information. SDG_CCI_December2019_FREEDOM_TAX_halfpg.indd 1 10/30/2019 1:22:10 PM

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