March '23

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6 2 G R A P H I C S P R O • M A R C H 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G pressure on shops' ability to keep up when it comes to cutting. Instead of the print side of the shop being the bottleneck, now it is the cutting side. at's why Multicam believes it's seeing more customers pur- chase multiple cutting systems. Many are buying CNC routers and digital finishing systems or more than one of each type of machine to keep up with the speed of the printers. "ere are so many markets out there, it is amazing to see what our custom- ers bring to us to help them with," says Boudria. "We've seen everything from making train batteries to ship building, (and from) cabinet shops to channel let- ters. It is amazing the products we're involved with and get to help make." CAMaster's industrial CNC router can also act as a digital finisher, says Cody Smith of CA Master. "We provide ver- satility for the customer. ey can do aluminum dimensional letters but then on the same machine could direct print vinyl and cut out decals with the oscil- lating knife." Cesare Magnani, Biesse, adds that most CNC routers can cut a variety of differ- ent materials from typical plastics like acrylic, polypropylene, and polyethylene to more dense materials like foam, alu- minum, non-ferrous metals like bronze, wood, and composites. at means that shops can use their routers to cut out small components, machinery parts, covers or tops, and structural elements. CNC machines have drag knives and oscillating knives as well as routing bits for carving. "We can not only work with a 3-axis machine carving vertically, but we have 4- and 5-axis solutions we can take to a different level of carving. ey not only work vertically but inclined also. It has been a revolution. e machines today are not only more powerful but also more affordable than they used to be. They have more capabilities and many differ- ent sizes," Magnani says. In the past, routers came with a 4' × 4' table, then 4' × 8', and then 5' × 12'. Now there are huge machines — up to 7' × 40' — depending on the application. O ne of the most unusual items a customer made with one of CAMaster's CNC routers was a life-size chess set, which is on display in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Each chess piece is six feet tall and two feet thick. Shadow boxes are another unique thing, which are perfect for active-duty military or military members who are retiring but want to display their medals or branch insignia. They can make traditional boxes or get creative. One of CAMaster's clients made a shadow box in the shape of the Star Wars characters Mandalorian and Grogu. CNC routers are also in big demand in the marine and mobile fabrication industry. Car audio shops use their routers to make custom subwoofer boxes, instrument panels, and speaker boxes. Custom boat shops use their CNCs to make consoles, instrument panels, and custom foam flooring for boat decks that are soft and waterproof. C O D Y S M I T H , C A M A S T E R T o get a picture of how some shops use their CNC machines in unique ways, we sat down with Kristina Vanderwater of Bouncing Off e Walls in Alberta, Canada. What does your shop do/what kinds of items and markets do you serve? At Bouncing Off The Walls, we cre- ate meaningful, sentimental artwork and signs for nurseries, home decor, and busi- nesses. We also supply sign backers and unpainted lettering to others' businesses and DIY crafters. What do you use your CNC machine for? We use the CNC machine to cut out all of the names and lettering for our nurs- ery signs as well as the shapes/backers for all of my resin artwork and signs. We also Images courtesy Kristina Vanderwater COOL CNC PROJECTS Q&A with Kristina Vanderwater use it for engraving logos and designs into plaques or signs that require detail work. How long have you been in busi- ness and how long have you owned your CNC machine? We have been in business for 16 years and have owned our ShopBot CNC for 12 years. What's your favorite part about creating projects with your CNC? I love the transition of taking an idea from initial concept to a finished piece that someone loves, as well as the abil- ity to create unique products.

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