July '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 2 J U L Y G R A P H I C S P R O 1 5 " BUYING A ROUTER ISN'T JUST SOMETHING YOU CAN DO OVERNIGHT. IT TAKES PLANNING AND FORESIGHT. THE FIRST STEP IS TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS AND SIGNAGE YOUR SHOP WANTS TO USE A ROUTER FOR AND THEN DETERMINE THE BEST MACHINE FOR THE JOB. " that was just cut so it doesn't leave a mess in the shop. Dust col- lection systems require between 10 and 20 amps of power, which adds up quickly. Lokpez bought a 5' × 10' table that came with two vacuums. He says he didn't account for that and had to build shelves in the space to elevate them for more efficient airflow. He also didn't account for the size of the machine and needing a forklift to get it into the building. "I didn't know I needed a license to use a forklift," Lokpez says. Luckily one of his employees' husbands had a forklift license and he ended up hiring him for a day to bring the table in and put it where it needed to go. Lokpez paid Laguna Tools to train his staff on how to run the router once it was installed. He recommends buying lots of scrap materials so employees can learn how to route effectively at dif- ferent thicknesses. He says each type of material needs a different speed and spin to get the right cuts and curves. "I accounted for that in my PML (probable maximum loss) for the first year. I accounted for 20% excess spoilage." In the end, his shop only used 15% but "it was a smart thing to do. It is very easy to damage substrates if you are not taking care of the CNC or paying attention to the CNC," Lokpez argues. e downside of putting the CNC in Signarama's back bay is that the shop lost its bay for vehicle wraps. However, Lokpez says it's been a wonderful change. "It saved our business. Without the router in COVID, we would have had to close. We were not equipped to handle COVID. We still do vinyl, but we don't actively pursue vinyl." Since adding the CNC, Lokpez's shop has started working with property managers and construction companies to create cus- tomized wayfinding signs. "We creatively design signs in unique formats to fit their needs. e router brings an extra layer of cre- ativity we can do to sell to customers," he says. His shop is out of space in its current configuration, but in the fall, Lokpez says he plans to knock down a wall and reduce the size of his showroom so he can add a laser engraver and a small ADA router so the "big router and ADA don't compete against each other for business." Attend a class to learn new skills, inspire ideas, and propel your business to the next level! To view the full class schedule, visit: August 4-6, 2022 Classes begin August 3 Long Beach, CA Learn from these industry leaders at the expo:

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