Tips on Routing Tools and Methods
Before you work with power equipment, be sure you are familiar with the equipment and the manufacturer's operation and safety procedures. Always wear the appropriate protective gear and take into account the specific cutting capacity of the equipment.
A router is versatile and combined with the extraordinary machining qualities of SIGN·FOAM it will yield an endless combination of practical and aesthetic effects. SIGN·FOAM is friendly to your router and you will find that a spindle rate between 18,000-20,000 rpm's and a feed rate of 250 to 350 inches per minute will cut SIGN·FOAM cleanly and efficiently. The exact setting will vary, depending on the thickness and density of material and the size and shape of your cutting tool.
- The standard woodworking router is very useful and versatile. With its high-speed motor and wide range of cutting bits, it can be used for multiple tasks. You will find that SIGN·FOAM offers little resistance against a high-powered cutting tool. You can use a router to cut out sign shapes, letters, or graphics into a sign face and add edge details to your signs.
- The CNC router, the spindle holds the cutting tool. This is controlled by a computer, which utilizes specialized software to enable precise, high-speed cutting. CNC routers range in price and quality and are available through many sign supply distributors. If your sign company is looking to expand the services it offers to customers, a router could be a very sound investment. A CNC router comes will range in features, capacity and quality and cut SIGN·FOAM with remarkable speed and accuracy, leaving little cleanup work. For complex shapes or multiple-run production jobs, this is one of the most efficient, profitable methods of dimensional sign fabrication.
- A hand-held router: Extremely useful and helps achieve anything from a simple "bull nosed" or "chamfered" edge, to the most complex ogee edges in moments.
- A die grinder: The baby brother of the hand-held router, much smaller and lighter. Don't underestimate its usefulness. It is one of the most versatile power tools used on SIGN·FOAM. With a large selection available and enough power to cut through inches of SIGN·FOAM it will soon be a tool you depend on. Die grinders are useful for roughing out basic shapes, carving, and adding a "gouged" background to a sign. A sign maker can quickly rough any basic shape to be refined, first with rasps and files and finish with sandpaper of varying grits.
Cautionary Safety Note
Please keep in mind, most power tools employing horsepower are bolted to a table and seated on the floor. Treat your hand-held router with the utmost respect, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Avoid the temptation to make that "quick cut" over your head and always keep both hands on the router when making a cut.
- A Dust control system: Is used to dramatically reduce clean up time and to clear the work environment.
Tips on Edging and Sandblasting
If you plan to sandblast your sign, add the decorative edge before blasting, this ensures an even surface for the router to ride over and results in a clean, level cut. Make sure the guide bearing on the router bit is clean and well lubricated to avoid a stuck bearing digging into the material. Avoid pushing or pulling too hard, this causes the guide bearing to dig. Find more Sandblasting details on webpage 9.
Tips for Fixing an Edge or Gouge [before Final Finish]
Should you inadvertently gouge or damage the edge at this point, don't worry! It is easy to repair; simply sand out the damage as much as possible and wait till you are in the finishing process, discussed on webpage 18.