How five shops have benefited by investing in cutters and routers
By Jake Widman
For about the same length of time, the company has had Gerber Sabre routers, and more recently they’ve added a couple of MultiCam machines. “We got our first MultiCam router, a 3000 series, four years ago,” says Freeman. “We needed something that would accommodate 5- x 10-foot sheets. It’s also a powerful machine with a large spindle, letting us plow through some of our more difficult materials, like one-inch MDF.”
Two considerations drove the more recent purchase of the MultiCam Digital Express, a flatbed knife cutter. “The knife cutting capabilities lets us cut vinyl and thin materials quickly,” says Freeman. “We cut window vinyl for a lot of fast food restaurants, in the shape of their brand characters, for instance.
“The second thing it lets us do,” Freeman continues, “is to establish a different price point. Our router tables let us print on Gator Board, but that costs about $30 a sheet. A sheet of polystyrene or PVC, on the other hand, might cost $2 to $6 a sheet. That gave us a high-price product and a low-price product, but nothing in-between. Now, I can get foamcore in the same thickness as GatorBoard for about $10 a sheet, but you can’t cut that on a traditional router table with a spinning bit—you need a knife. So the Digital Express lets us meet a middle price point and gave us increased sales and fabrication opportunities.”
The MultiCam 3000 series router still gets a lot of work, however, as in a recent project for a popular chain of family restaurants. The company needed a sign to advertise a specialty drink served in its restaurants. Store Décor printed the sign on quarter-inch birch plywood in pieces, utilizing a UV printer. “We print these in a variety of sizes,” says Freeman, “and the whole finished image will not necessarily fit on a 4 x 8 sheet.” In addition, the router let them create an MDF backing frame for the sign that has different depths, enabling some elements of the sign to stand out at a different depth from the rest. Once the sign was assembled, they used the router to trim the excess raw plywood from around the image.