September '22

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1 0 G R A P H I C S P R O • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S tarting a graphics business might require significant startup expenses, but there are ways small shops can get entry-level equipment and still produce high-quality products while not breaking the bank. Graphics covers several areas from digital printing for signs to engraving signs, plaques and the like, and printing custom apparel, and each area requires different tools and equipment. What should shops be on the lookout for when making their first purchases? And are there extras they should consider that will make the job easier? DIGITAL PRINTING FOR SIGNAGE Signs that are digitally printed – one of the most common sig- nage technologies – are designed and created by using computer graphics for small items like menus and sale signs up to some- thing as large as a banner that can cover the side of a building. Digital signs can be printed on most surfaces like plastic, vinyl, metal, glass, paper, and wood using large-format digital printing. An image from a digital file or a media-based image is printed onto the selected surface, requiring less setup and overhead than traditional printing methods like offset printing. "e most important thing is to save you time and to make your job easier," says Ernesto Macias, "e Duke" of Yellotools in Stanton, California., e.g., the unofficial chief executive officer of USA operations. Yellotools offers a starter kit for sign making, plus more than 1,000 tools for signage businesses. e starter kit comes with the basics like a squeegee to apply vinyl, a cutter or retractable knife with clip- pings inside, a buffer pad that goes on the squeegee to protect vinyl from scratches, and a weeder, a type of knife that can be used to cut out the insides of shapes and letters. ere's also a sign tweezer with a fine pointed end to pick up flecks of material that might get stuck to the back of the vinyl, magnets that serve as an alternative to graphic masking tape, and a gecko patch that has tiny suction cups that can adhere to smooth surfaces. TOOLS to Complement Your Talent STARTING A GRAPHIC BUSINESS? BE SELECTIVE WITH EQUIPMENT With screen printing, each color that's printed needs a separate screen, which is how the ink is applied to the garment. (Image courtesy Lawson Screen & Digital Products) B Y S H E L L E Y W I D H A L M " Turnabout to keep ink mixing all the time. UniKote to coat screens perfectly each time. Douthitt direct- to-screen Waxjet unit." — Steven Farag, CEO, Campus Ink What's your favorite shop tool?

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