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CNC Routing

Have Signs Shaped to Your Specifications

Usually, finding interior signage that meets all of your (or your client’s) requirements, including shape, is difficult. But it becomes a lot easier when you work with a fabricator that uses CNC routing. At Erie Custom Signs, we use this method for everything from cutting material substrates to creating Raster® Braille

If you’re looking for high-quality ADA signs made quickly and efficiently, rest assured our team can help. When you place an order for custom signage, our team will apply this method during the third step of our ordering process—production. You can look forward to signs fabricated to your exact specifications using some of the most reliable manufacturing technology available.

What Is CNC Routing?

CNC routing is a manufacturing method that has become especially popular in the signage industry. It involves the use of a computer-operated cutting machine to shear various hard materials. When linked to sign design software, a router can cut and shape materials with incredible precision. 

Although this method has been around for a while, it’s only become more reliable. The CNC aspect (computer numerical control) refers to the control over the router via a computer. The process is automated, so there’s less room for error. 

How CNC Routing Is Performed

An up close look at the drill on the CNC Router

In general, CNC routing is performed using CAD software to create the cutting design, then translating that file into cutting instructions for the machine. After selecting the appropriate bit for the material, the router will get to work. 

For CNC router sign making, our team takes a more detailed approach. The steps vary depending on the material being used. 

Here are two examples:

Acrylic Routing

  1. We begin the routing process by opening the job and setting it up on our simulated table using CAD software. 
  2. Once the first step is complete, we go over to the actual table in our production department and set up the material on the router. 
  3. After selecting the appropriate height on our Vision CNC Router, we choose our bit based on the type of material we’re working with. 
  4. We use the attached instrument to set the height before turning on the vacuum and motor so the machine can do its job. 

Once the material has been cut, we clean it up before sending it over to the next department. 

Aluminum Routing

The aluminum-cutting process is slightly different, as we need to use a micrometer to measure the thickness of the material.

  1. The number representing the material thickness is put into the system so the machine knows how deep to cut. 
  2. After selecting an aluminum-specific bit, we lay out double-sided tape to prevent the sheet from slipping.
  3. Our team measures the height of our material before putting the numbers we get from our micrometer into the system. The Vision CNC Router then cuts the aluminum accordingly. 
  4. During the actual routing, we also spray a mixture of water and alcohol on the drill bit to keep it from getting too hot and melting the material.
  5. After cutting the material, we check the edges to ensure they’re clean. If necessary, we use a sanding block to smooth out any rough corners. 

When that’s finished, the piece is sent over to the appropriate department so it may be completed according to the order submitted. 

Benefits of CNC Routing

CNC routing has proven to be an effective way for sign fabricators like Erie Custom Signs to create a wide variety of signs.

Here are some of the benefits of CNC router sign making:

Less material waste

There’s less material waste than other methods, which eco-conscious clients can appreciate. 

Improved quality

The process is automated, resulting in improved quality and a decreased risk of errors.

Cost savings

This method requires less time and labor, reducing costs so that savings can be passed along.

Versatility

Routing can be applied for multiple applications and can be used to cut various materials.

Quick turnarounds

It takes just a few minutes to perform routing, which helps speed up turnaround times on orders.

What Equipment We Use

The CNC router machine at the Erie Custom Sign shop floor

At Erie Custom Signs, we use the best sign manufacturing equipment on the market to ensure that each finished product is up to our standards. For CNC routing, we utilize a 48” x 96” Vision CNC router.

Why?

For starters, this router can be used for the following:

Additionally, Vision Engraving & Routing Systems has been a leading manufacturer of computerized marking systems and accessories for 40 years. We’re confident in their machinery, as it allows us to cut virtually any material to create custom signage. And it’s proven reliable time and time again. 

As if that weren’t enough, the company is based in Arizona, so their equipment is manufactured in the U.S. That’s an advantage for us and those we work with. When you order signage, you can trust that every aspect of it—from the machinery used to cut the material to the finished product—was made here. 

What Materials Can Be Shaped 

As mentioned above, CNC routing can be used to cut and shape a wide assortment of materials. That offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing a material for your signs. You can select one of our many high-quality materials, including…

Regardless of what material you opt for or what project you need to complete, you can count on our team to provide attractive signs that meet your specifications. 

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