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A couple (maybe dumb) questions about foam dimensional letters

Discussion in 'Dimensional Signs' started by wonsngis, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. wonsngis

    wonsngis Member

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Rockford, IL
    I haven't been on here much lately. Business took a bit of a hit between the economy and the fire we had a few months back. Things are finally getting back to normal, and I wanted to start back into the signs101 community by posing a couple questions that have been bugging me for awhile.

    I've done quite a few interior dimensional letting jobs over the past couple years, but my processes are a bit too tedious and I'm looking to take things up a notch.

    I have been using our AXYZ CNC router to cut letters/logos out of gator foam. Then I airbrush Delta Ceramcoat All Purpose Sealer to seal/prime the edges & faces before finally airbrushing the finish paint color. It works, but it takes FOREVER.

    While this does yield good results, they could be better. This is especially noticeable when I look at similar products from, say, Howmac.

    Thus the questions are;

    -What sort of machine does someone like Howmac to cut things like this? Their edges are always perfect and the inner corner radii are so tight that I'm led to believe it's something other than a CNC router. It is some kind of wire cutter?

    -What methods of painting gator foam have any other Signs101 members employed? There must be quicker/better materials or processes than what I'm doing now.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. dman0427

    dman0427 Member

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    Dec 26, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I'm not familiar with Howmac... I will be googling that! Is it a foam??

    As for Gatorfoam, we paint the sides with a foam brush and spray the faces with an automotive paint gun. It Seems to work well for us.
     
  3. wonsngis

    wonsngis Member

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Rockford, IL
    Howmac is a wholesale supplier.

    http://www.howmac.com/

    They do fantastic work and I still use them when I need to, but I try to do as many things in house as I can.
     
  4. letterman7

    letterman7 Very Active Member

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    Hard to tell with their photos being a little small, but my guess that they might be using either a laser cutter or waterjet on the non-porous stuff. Can't help with the Gatorfoam, though... I never use the stuff.
     
  5. encadtech

    encadtech Member

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Higganum CT
    When I do 3-D graphics I use either 1/4 or 1/2 PVC - Run the pvc through the laminater with a vinyl for the surface color - then apply an rtape mask and then it hits the router. No touch up on the side because I use a black PVC to start - I use an 1/8" upcut spiral flute - Cuts nice and looks great.
     
  6. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    same thing here - works great
     
  7. wonsngis

    wonsngis Member

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Rockford, IL
    I try (and prefer) to use PVC where I can. It's more durable for the customer and more forgiving for me in production. However, I do have customers who simply INSIST on a soft foam core type product.
     
  8. encadtech

    encadtech Member

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Higganum CT
    If you must use a foam core - use ultraboard - instead of a clay paper finish - it uses .030 styrene - produces a great finish when covered w/ vinyl - superior edges and is light weight
     

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