Sign & Digital Graphics

December '14

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • December 2014 • 73 out softer materials with high precision, he says. Software A router is only as good as the soft- ware and drivers that make it work. Most printers have their own RIP software packages. "The router manufacturers can inter- face closely with those packages now and pick off the data we need to do the cut- ting right from the design standpoint. A designer has to design the whole thing and we can retrieve the vector data we need to go cut it," Harris says. Vision systems are also important, he adds. They print registration marks that look like quarter-inch dots on the mate- rial that is going to be cut. The machine then recognizes the dots and will ori- ent the design on the material based on where the dots are located. It can then scale it back and forth and rotate it. "You need that. Printers are not exact. Things are not always on the exact spot. Things get skewed or stretched or rotated somewhat. It is not consistent from part to part. In this business, you need a vision system as well," Harris adds. Kevin Kane, sales manager for CLN of South Florida, agrees. His company's CNC routers come equipped with an i-Cut Vision system that uses a camera mounted on the head of the spindle and the company's state-of-the-art software. The machine scans an item and then rec- ognizes the control points on that item to adjust its cut path to cut the shape out with precision. This system is most widely used in the digital print finishing industry. C L N 's routers also have built in three-dimensional controllers that use three different accesses to cut and shape backgrounds, Kane says. "You can lay a picture of a boat on its side and it will cut it out dimensionally. That takes better quality software," he says. Most tables will read most software. A good 3D software package can cost up to $15,000, Kane says, but two-dimen- sional cutting can still be very versatile if a shop can't afford the 3D investment. Two-dimensional cutting can cost as little as $350 and can be used to carve the inside of letters. Using a beveled bit, shops can make prismatic letters, which produce a 3D illusion using two-dimen- sional techniques. Kane's favorite new substrate is Coastal Enterprises' Precision Board Plus product, which is made of high- density urethane. "They put out high-density 70-pound weight precision board that gives you a sharp clean cut when you engrave it," Kane says. The company made a video A router is only as good as the so- ware and drivers that make it work. A Company of Western Engravers Supply, Inc. made in USA

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