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Mounting prints to aluminium composite... How do you do it?

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by PrintItBig, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. PrintItBig

    PrintItBig Member

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    Hi,

    When we mount internal boards on Foam PVC we mount them to an oversized sheet using a laminator THEN cut them down. This means we don't have to worry about getting the prints mounted dead square and also that the leading edge is outside of the print area so we can cut this away as it occasionally has bubbles in it. Normally we send out any jobs that are being mounted to aluminium composite due to not being able to cut the stuff cleanly enough in house.

    We now have an order for a large amount (hundreds) of print and mount boards on aluminium composite and our cutter will not cut this stuff well enough.

    We want to keep this in house and are prepared to buy a new cutter if needed (Keencut Excalibur?)

    How would you guys deal with a job like this? Would you get your sheets pre cut to size and then be very careful with the mounting to ensure the print is mounted in exactly the right place? Or would you mount to oversize sheets and then cut down to size with the print already in place?

    Any and all advice is welcome.

    Thanks for your help.
     
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  2. letterman7

    letterman7 Very Active Member

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    Cut your panels to size and slightly oversize your prints. Apply and trim the excess. No need to overthink this..
     
  3. PrintItBig

    PrintItBig Member

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    What I'm concerned about is the design of these boards uses a thin border quite close to the edge of the panels so any slight misalignment will be quite evident. If it was a photo or some other design it wouldn't be an issue but the border concerns me.
     
  4. graphicwarning

    graphicwarning Member

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    +1
     
  5. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    We tape in place & them apply with hinge method like any large graphic. Just have to be meticulous.
     
  6. PrintItBig

    PrintItBig Member

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    By hand? If so, I think that will take too long.
     
  7. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    I apply to the whole 4x8 sheet and cut it down on my shear.
     
  8. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Yes, by hand, and no it's not "quick". You could use a router that could line up to a optical register mark, or a straight edge cutter that will cut ACM and wouldn't take forever to line up to your various edges that are never in the same place. What does the company you sub to use?
     
  9. shoresigns

    shoresigns Very Active Member

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    You're still overthinking it. Just tell the customer that a thin border near the edge of a sign will end up looking uneven on some of the signs, so you would recommend they fix their design. End of story.

    It's a pretty standard design principle - any designer who has designed a business card knows this. If necessary, send them a design template showing the bleed and safe zone that you require.
     
  10. Auburnpeanut

    Auburnpeanut Member

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    Cut ACP to size and file edges if need be. Add 1/8" of bleed all the way around. With 1/8" bleed, the most you could be off would be 1/16 inch off unless you have the ACP material showing on one side. If you can line it up at least that close if not closer then you need to re-evaluate how you are mounting things. With a little practice you can get the leading edge to go down bubble free. Sometimes it helps to put a little bit of premask along that front edge to make it not as flimsy. If you don't fee comfortable with that, put tape on the back of the graphic to hold it in place as you start it through the laminator. Once halfway or more, peel the edge back and put the second half of graphic down then flip it around run it through again to do the other side. Have to run it through twice that way, but still faster and better quality than doing it all by hand. I still say practice getting you leading edge put down by hand though....It is what we do. Good luck!
     
  11. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

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    What color is the border on your print? You can get prepainted ACM in many colors. I would choose the color closest to your prints, and then cut the prints them slightly smaller than the panel. Install with a big squeegee.
     
  12. SIGNTIME

    SIGNTIME Active Member

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    not sure what size signs the order is for but im with you on mount them then cutting especially on a large order... we use the keencut steel track and it works well but you have to get your print down square... another thing i have read on here and will be getting one soon is a tracksaw http://www.dewalt.com/us/tracksaw/products/
     
  13. petepaz

    petepaz Major Contributor

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    with out seeing the final art it hard to help you exactly but...when we have to do that we tape down the graphic and do the hinge method like already mentioned but not by hand. after it's taped down i lift the laminator wheel up and put the composite half way through then lower the wheel and cut my hinge then run it through. once that's done it shouldn't move and then just run the other half through.
     
  14. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    ^^ Exactly this !! ^^
     
  15. Asuma01

    Asuma01 Member

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    Exactly how we do it also.
     
  16. Stanton

    Stanton Member

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    Yep.

    The customer is buying service AND expertize.
     
  17. GB2

    GB2 Very Active Member

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    This is your best solution.................or else get yourself a Rolls Roller
     
  18. TammieH

    TammieH Very Active Member

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    I cut small orders of aluminum composite with a utility knife, then depending on what type of a job, I either debur by hand or use a router-table set up to trim to size.

    Larger orders we cut on a table saw and trim with the router to remove saw cut marks.
     
  19. PrintItBig

    PrintItBig Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys.

    Rightly or wrongly I don't feel I can go back to the client now and get them to amend the artwork.

    Maybe border was the wrong term, it's more like a key line running around the edge approximately 1/2 to 1 inch from the edge. I haven't got the artwork in front of me at the minute so can't check that.

    So it seems like it's a pretty even split between cut before or cut after.

    When you guys are talking about the hinge mounting method and you say "tape the graphic down" do you mean apply application tape to the face? Or tape the graphic in position so it can't move? If the latter, how would you do this if the graphic is bigger than the board? Wrap the tape around onto the back?
     
  20. PrintItBig

    PrintItBig Member

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    Most of the signs are 1 meter square.

    I was very interested in the Steeltrack but I hear what you're saying about having to get the print down dead square. Am I right in thinking that the angle of the bottom rail that the panels sit on cannot be adjusted at all? Or... Can the clamp not hold the panels at an angle when cutting? If no to both of those then I assume it only cut right angles... then it seems the mounting would have to be just as accurate anyway and I may as well buy the composite pre cut.

    What kind of finish would the Dewalt give? Would it screw up the face of the print?
     
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