August '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 A U G U S T G R A P H I C S P R O 5 9 was not much different in price (I believe it was between $150 and $200 for the sheet) would be perfectly fine and even preferred for the simple logo we had to produce this time around. This type of composite material is beauti- ful and looks substantial up on an interior wall, but because of its thin but actual metal face it can't be cut on a typical sign shop laser, and the material is destroyed by a waterjet. It may be okay to cut it using a CNC router, but it is somewhat fragile, and I have only used a scroll saw when working with it. However, a skilled pair of hands and a scroll saw with a sharp blade works just fine and is a low-cost way to produce jobs like this, making them available to any sign or graphics shop without CNC equipment. There is no need to subcontract anything. The only special equipment required is a $200 scroll saw, and work done this way is kind of fun. The sheet comes with a plastic protective sheeting on the metallic side, but it is low tack and not reliable to stay in place. So, once I determined how much of the bulk sheet was needed, that part of the sheet was cut out. With the protective sheet removed, a stencil made from high-performance vi- nyl or paint mask vinyl was applied to the metallic side, paying attention that all parts of the logo, or all letters, were oriented the same way because of the metallic brush pattern. After that, holes in centers of letters like P, R, or O were drilled and then the cen- ter cuts were made on the scroll saw. After that, the rest of the cutting was done with a medium-paced, deliberate action, being diligent to stay on line with the vinyl pat- tern. This may sound hard to do, but a little practice cutting on a scrap piece with a determined, appropriate speed and true angle of the blade, and the work proves to not be particularly difficult. A good, sharp small-tooth blade is es- sential. However, even with a sharp blade, moving too slowly will cause the blade to heat up and drag in the melting foam and plastic. If the speed is right, the blade will not get that hot, and the foam and plastic being cut will not melt and try to drag on the blade. Cutting too fast can cause the corner of a letter or part to bend slightly as The sanding strokes are downward so as not to de- laminate the thin metal surface. Our old scroll saw, equipped with a sharp fine-tooth blade, was used for all the cutting required. A smooth steady speed is required, not too fast and not too slow. All the edges are hand painted with satin black latex paint. Here, all the parts for two logo displays are shown ready for sanding and painting the edges. Once finished, the paint mask is removed, along with any bleed under paint, which comes off easily as the latex barely bonds to the metal, and parts are carefully inspected for dents or flaws while still at the shop. Some sandpaper attached to an extra strong stir stick is used as a tool to sand the edges before painting.

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