July '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 J U L Y G R A P H I C S P R O 8 3 From three-dimensional signage and point-of-purchase displays to custom items for the home, companies are finding that the number of specialty items they can cre- ate with a CNC machine is only limited by their imagination. (Images courtesy Multicam) safe, says Smith. Many sign shops stepped in to fill that void, producing PPE from the substrates they had available in their inventory. Routers also can be used to make cus- tom wood signs, dimensional sign letters, carve HDU sign foam into the 3D mar- quis signs that are popular in shopping complexes, or to brand products instead of laser engraving them, Smith continues. "Here's the magic secret: it is all in the finishing. Most good-quality CNC rout- ers will create a good product, high qual- ity, and look good," Smith says. But it is really how a shop makes the end product look good that matters. That means hav- ing great additional skills, like painting and sandcarving. "That's what separates a good sign shop from an average sign shop. Anyone can print a decal and cut it out," he adds. Donaldson notes that one of his compa- ny's customers uses their CNC to cut out wooden snowboard cores. Another shop is cutting acrylic for backlit signage. Customers today expect to be able to go to one shop to get all of their sign and digital graphics needs. Having a digital finishing system not only helps them build a revenue stream from cutting but also in- creases their revenue potential in the digi- tal printing market, says Packman. GP PAULA AVEN GLADYCH is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. She can be reached at 2 0 2 1 J U L Y G R A P H I C S P R O

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