Sign & Digital Graphics

May '18

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24 • May 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE which the CNC equipment can then read lines and arcs. After that, it's just 'magic;' there are many sensors, motherboards, and highly engineered components to drive these machines." Ondracek agrees, "Most files are .DXF files sent from the same sign software that is creating and sending the files to the router table for cutting the aluminum backs and plastic faces." Again, this helps sign makers save time and allows them to handle more profitable high-volume projects—which should ultimately be the goal. "Low volume channel letter manu- facturing is not acceptable for wholesale manufacturing," explains Sciortino. "The only way to provide a living for the staff— and pay the government—is through high volume. A speedy turnaround would be three days. Some larger channel letter jobs can take up to three weeks." In order to get the most out of the machine, and complete a project in a timely manner, it is important to understand all of the parts of the chan- nel letter. Letter Characteristics "A plastic face channel letter has three components," explains Kane. "The back, which is usually aluminum, but some- times it could be made out of Dibond material; the return, which is aluminum and is cut off a coil roll; and the face, which is a translucent material, usually a plastic like acrylic, and lets the light shine through." So, let's take a look at each one of these elements individually to break down what sign makers should consider while handling a channel letter project. The Return Depth is a big consideration with channel letters. It makes up the sides of the letter and determines its depth. "Standard channel letters are typically five inches deep because of the history of neon illumination in the letter," explains Sciortino, but with the popularization of LEDs, these measurements can be much lower. "Even though we still make many The Fusion channel letter bender and notching machine from CLN of South Florida. Letter faces, usually plastic, can add color and character to the let- ter. (Images courtesy of Letter Fab LLC) Routing is part of the channel letter produc- tion process to cut aluminum backs and plastic faces. (Image courtesy of CLN of South Florida)

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