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A Cut Above

(September 2010) posted on Mon Aug 30, 2010

How five shops have benefited by investing in cutters and routers

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By Jake Widman

Among the equipment in the Philadelphia location is a Zund G3 cutter. “We acquired the Zund cutter in 2007,” recalls Edward Davis, Big Mountain’s East Coast production manager. “Before that we had a vinyl cutter, but it wasn’t something we could cut anything rigid with. At one time we were cutting everything with a hand router.”

“By that time we’d entered the retail P-O-P market with an EFI Vutek PressVu 320/400 and an EFI Vutek QS3200,” says Cardonick. “Those machines go hand in hand with a router—it would be frustrating to have a printer you can do all these neat things with without having a cutter to cut them out.”

They chose the Zund G3 in part because of its flexibility. “It has routing capabilities and cutting capabilities,” says Davis. “You can use it for different materials; for example, you can’t cut Dibond with a knife, but card stock is thin enough that a knife goes right through it. We just swap a knife and drill bit in and out depending on the job.”

Recently, Big Mountain helped the New York Yankees rebrand their minor-league affiliate’s facility, PNC Field in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In addition to large photos and murals, the effort required cutouts of the logos for the ballpark and the team. “The signage that was needed for that was on Dibond, foamboard or Sintra,” explains Cardonick. “We were able to do custom contour cuts at various sizes, anywhere up to 48 x 48 inches.

“We have our own installation department,” he continues. “There were a lot of last-minute adjustments we needed to do when we were on site. But because we had the router, we were able to call in and have specific images routed out to fit a particular area.”

Mercury-LDO: An Elf Story
The two halves of the Mercury-LDO ( name had very different beginnings. LDO launched its business in the late 1970s as a traditional reprographics shop, serving the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) market in and around London, England. “In 1992, owner Ray Martin saw the opportunity with all the construction in Las Vegas and, with his partner, opened an office in Las Vegas,” recounts current operations director Steve Martin. “A couple of years later they, severed all their ties with London.”