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New Member!!!!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Jerry of SignBlazer, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. Jerry of SignBlazer

    Jerry of SignBlazer New Member

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    Hi Everyone, I am a new member.
    Have been involved in the sign industry since 1982 and in development of sign software since 1987. I have looked over a lot of sign forums and this is the first one I have been tempted to join. Very, very impressed with the forum. I feel that I can contribute to the forum and help other members on a huge range of subjects.
    Mostly I would love to hear on two subjects, gripes about software, anything that you do not like at all.
    Especially things that you feel could done better or allow the user to do particular tasks more easily.
    The second subject I would love to hear about is what members would love to see in software – missing tools, whatever.
    We are completely rewriting our software with one aim. To make graphics for wide format printing (including print and cut) as easy to do to any size as vinyl cutting software is to produce vinyl signs. This is a big project. I promise that I am not using this forum to push our software.
    I do not care how complex a function you want to see in software –please tell me about it. Perhaps other members can add critiques to the opinions.

    My experience not only most graphics software it also covers most brands of vinyl cutters including many of the Chinese ones flooding the western market to all the traditional brands we use. The same with most brands of wide format printers. To drive these machines we have to really get our hands “dirty” to make them work correctly.
    In the next two years we are going to see a huge range of new solvent and UV printers for the sign industry. Although I am not allowed to talk about certain new products specifically due to non disclosure agreements I can talk in general about some of these new products for our industry.

    One thing that I see is that we need something a lot better in software for wide format printing than is currently on the market. To do many tasks one has to own a huge amount of special software. Why? It appears that many tasks that my designer friends wish to do are totally impossible in just any one program. Do others who design signs find this a problem?

    Especially if you come from using brushes and doing artwork on paper.
     
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  2. uneedasign

    uneedasign Active Member

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    :Welcome: 2 :signs101:

    I look forward to your input and knowledge.
     
  3. VinylCraft

    VinylCraft Active Member

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    :Welcome: Great to have you.....
     
  4. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Welcome to our boards Jerry and thanks for the complimentary comments.

    Your questions could generate enough responses to require another hard drive be aded to our server. But I'll start you off with a referral to the path and node editing capabilities, along with the straighforward logic, of the finest vector editing application ever published: FlexiSign Version 5.8.2.

    This application, now about 10 years out of date, had the ability to easily create extremely high quality vector artwork from any original. About half of its features have fallen by the wayside as Flexi has evolved, and with most of the remaining ones hampered by poor visibility and bad choices based on trying to please the masses of users not wanting to learn fundamentals.
     
  5. Colin

    Colin Major Contributor

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    Welcome! I've been in the sign business for 17 years and still haven't taken the leap to LFP, as most jobs can be handled with vinyl, and then there's dimensional letters, sandblasted cedar, granite signs, screen printing etc which don't have anything to do with LFP. Not to mention the outrageous price tag of these machines, the steep learning curve of color management and all of the other finicky things associated with them. I just haven't had enough demand yet to justify it. (But boy, the "new toy" aspect is tempting).

    *For those who don't view them as all that expensive, consider this: My wife & I just bought a brand new 06 Subaru Impreza wagon for about $25,000. (plus taxes & financing interest......$29,000) Cdn. Now, think for a moment of all of the high tech and numerous components of such a vehicle.......the engine and its myriad of precision parts. The transmission and its myriad of parts. The two differentials, anti lock brakes. AWD. Wheel/traction sensors, ABS, airbags, AC, glass, interior, wheels, tires, electonics and on and on.
    Now look at what comprises a LFP of the same price point. Not much, dare I say. I know that there's an economy of scale here, they make way more cars than LFP's, but still, it's a bit steep. And then it's outdated so quickly.

    Ok, ramble check! I'm sure you'll be a highly valueable addition to this site, and I'm sure those who are in the trenches of LFP will have much to say.
     
  6. Dave Drane

    Dave Drane Very Active Member

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    Welcome from another fellow aussie Jerry!!:Welcome:
     
  7. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    Welcome from Pa. New to these graphic drawing programs, but I feel some of the tools available in the CAD programs would be of great use in these graphic programs (microstaion commands DL=, DI=, copy parallel, variable snap settings). Also a setting to verify the output is to scale with a setting to each device connected for adjustments.
     
  8. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    Colin...I agree about the cost associated with these printers, but I just HAVE to ask...can you make any money with that Subaru?
     
  9. The dude

    The dude Member

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    Jerry, it sure is nice to listen to you from someone whom has much less knowledge than most of the people on the threads. I hope that you can also help me when i am in a pinch. Good luck
     
  10. Colin

    Colin Major Contributor

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    Hi Chris, I new someone was going to say that! :smile: I think of that myself, but one is not actually "making" money with a LFP until you pay for it. And when you really crunch the numbers and see just how long it would take to generate $30,000 (or whatever) in after-tax PROFIT, it's pretty sobering.

    Example: You do a particular job for $250.00. When you subtract all of your various costs in producing the prints, (ink, maintenance, substrate, overhead etc), and then look at your actual profit, subtract income tax, and realize that your "profit" must now but entirely taken away to pay for the machine.....until it's paid for. Then you start earning money with it.
    If you got your machine for free, then you start making money with it right away.

    That's my conservative and possibly retarded way of looking at it. I think that we guys are really subject to the draw of the "new toy" syndrome. We love our toys, and if we have a certain passion for making signs, then these cool decal-making machines are definately candidates for satisfying our love of that new toy.

    PS: How's it going with your Versa Cam?
     
  11. ENTDesign

    ENTDesign Very Active Member

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    Welcome
     
  12. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Colin the only part of your last post I would question is in basing your calculation on after-tax profit ... unless you are paying double taxes like a straight corporation does here in the US or you are not allowed to deduct the cost of the equipment from your taxes in Canada.

    The way I look at it is either from a cash flow or a P & L basis. If a piece of equipment costs me $500 a month including maintenance until I've paid it off and I can generate $2000 a month from it in gross sales which average a cost of materials consumed of 15% to produce the work then:

    Gross Sales = $2000
    Cost of Sales = $300
    Equipment = $500
    Gross Profit before fixed overhead or taxes = $1200

    Anything that adds to gross profit is a good thing.
     
  13. nodrenim

    nodrenim Member

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    Welcome aboard! Boy, after reading those posts, I'm glad I still know how to screen print.
     
  14. Colin

    Colin Major Contributor

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    Thanks Fred........good perspective. I guess my conservative approach is partly due to the fact that in my area, it's very competative, combined with a moderately active economy. In addition to that, people in my town are frankly, generally kinda cheap. Most seek out the cheapest crap they can get their hands on, and you see it everywhere. And then there's the odd moronic sign shop with all of the gear, almost giving the stuff away! Grrrr.

    I suppose if the economy here was really booming I would feel differently about it.
     
  15. Colin

    Colin Major Contributor

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    Forgot to say.........I do sub-out any LFP work I need, and it just isn't enough to warrent buying a machine of my own. If I found myself buying a considerable amount every month from my supplier, then it might make sense, but that just isn't the case.

    it would be fun though.......
     
  16. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

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    :Welcome: Jerry
     
  17. GregT

    GregT Very Active Member

    Welcome to Signs101. Glad to have you
     
  18. Shovelhead

    Shovelhead Major Contributor

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    sup?

    :Welcome:
     
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