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Suggestions Question Template for Mounting A Bunch of Laser Cut Letters

Discussion in 'CNC Routing & Laser Cutting' started by rossmosh, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. rossmosh

    rossmosh Member

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    I have a potential job to mount a bunch of 2-3" Laser cut letters on a large panel. To give a rough idea, let's say it's 400 letters. The letters will be either 1/4" or 3/8" thick with 3m 468MP tape on the back. It will either be mounted to printed vinyl or a painted surface.

    My best idea would be to take the artwork, add a bit of an offset, and then cut it out of vinyl paint mask.

    I'm looking for any other suggestions or thoughts.
     
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  2. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Active Member

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    Use cheapo vinyl backer to cut a template on your plotter. Tape it down and go!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Ian Stewart-Koster

    Ian Stewart-Koster Active Member

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    I used to do the vinyl backer - tiresome, and can affect the background if not well-prepared, so I changed to cnc- routing a spacing template - also tiresome, so i changed to plotting the text with a 2mm inline, and applying that, then mounting letters over it.
    That was ok, but these days I just laser a cardboard spacer template 2mm oversize, and affix the letters through that.
    Quick, cheap and simple.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. henryz

    henryz Member

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    Why not cut out the letters layed out with the correct spacing and use the background as your template?
     

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  5. Ian Stewart-Koster

    Ian Stewart-Koster Active Member

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    That's far too wasteful of acrylic, (or other substrate) compared with using cardboard, for instance.
     
  6. billsines

    billsines Member

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    CARDBOARD.
     
  7. We use paint mask for the most part. Comes off walls easily. I find its a pain in the ***, and unnecessary to cut out the full text. I also usually take out any of the insides of o's and whatnot. When you're installing 3/8" acrylic letters or anything thick it can get difficult to get at the vinyl inside the letters.
     

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    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Enola

    Enola Member

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    If you're doing a print then overlaying these 3/4" letters, why don't you simply print the text on your vinyl, then use that to overlay the dimensional letters?
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    IF you have access to a CNC, then a piece of 1mm Sintra with a small offset path added and only the exterior path cut is how we usually do it with that many letters. We also use the paint mask method if the substrate is smooth and fully cured if painted.
     
  10. eahicks

    eahicks Very Active Member

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    Pen plot the template on your plotter. We do that for every dimensional letter job. I assumed everyone else did too....
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    What do you do to it after you pen plot it? Cut the outer edge of the letters out? Perforate it and pounce?
     
  12. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    We lay out of the studs in Flexi so that everything is lined up. Then use the marker pen on the plotter and make three paper templates. One for the wall and two for the back of the sign. We'll place the first reverse template on the table, lay the sign out, then lay the second reverse template over it. Make sure everything is straight and then punch the marks. The wall template is eventually double checked against the finished sign before installation. The rolls of paper are so cheap and it takes like 10 minutes total to lay it out. We don't do CNC in house so that's how we make it work.
     
  13. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    Ian has the ticket- this is a sample printed on PVC free media, applied to acrylic, cut on the laser and then a .060 styrene template cut. Making the ACM backplate and rounding corners and drilling for standoffs took the most time. The 'P' and 'h' indicate where a line of text gets installed. Gene print cut sign- template.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    So where do the letters come from? Are they already predrilled for the studs?

    Are Gemini's prices for patterns considered that high that many of you don't want to use them?

    We consider and factor in the cost of them producing the patterns when order letters and logos from them.

    We don't have a CNC in house either, but it's right next door at the woodworking shop. When we produce the letters with their help, we have them rout the letters in reverse and drill the stud holes at the same time. Then we just print our layout file on cheap paper and it's done and ready to go to the field.
     
  15. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Active Member

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    If I recall, aren't Gemini's templates like $70 plus $6 (or somewhere around there) per letter? That's pretty expensive.
     
  16. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    We started getting laser cut stuff from SignWorld America and do the rest of the work here. When we do formed letters, we use Gemini and of course use their pattern.
     
  17. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    Same here if the letters are standing off, but I believe these letters are being mounted with double sided tape.

    If the background is printed, I would inline the letters 1/16" and print the letters into the design. If painted surface, paint mask, but only cut the bottom 3/4" of the letters and weed out the letters so you can peel the paint mask off afterwards.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Actually, they are $70 for up to 100 letters. Drill patterns are $4.85 per letter. Simple spacing guides are $10.

    I'm not saying to use them or not, but we just factor the cost of them into the job and rely on knowing its one less task we have to do for a dimensional letter job being produced elsewhere.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. eahicks

    eahicks Very Active Member

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    Yes sort of. cut out a strip on site and leave the tops and bottoms showing. Letters are taped on the back leaving space so they don't stick to the paper template.

    Everyone's talking about studs.....did you even ask about that? That's a different process.
     

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    • Like Like x 1
  20. jsmoritz2000

    jsmoritz2000 Very Active Member

    Personally, I don't know that mounting laser cut letters with adhesive to a panel covered with vinyl is a good idea. It sounds like an eventual failure waiting to happen, but maybe it's just me. I would definitely go with paint. Paint won't fail like vinyl might have a tendency to do. As far as I'm concerned, the acrylic letters are a long term product. Applying them over a short term product doesn't make sense to me.

    As far as templates, I do exactly what Heckln Decalr mentioned.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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