Using Multiple Router Bits to Achieve Greater Lettering Detail

Going back and forth on the design of a sign to get it just right is fairly common.  What made the Twin Peaks monument sign different was the fact that the director (and pastor) of the conference center was a former carpenter and had very specific ideas for what he wanted.  When Adam Campos with Graphics MFG was brought in to make the design a reality, he not only got it done on time, but also added some stylistic touches.  Adam talks us through routing the Precision Board HDU, creating the powder-coated metal frame and using multiple router bits to embellish the lettering on the sign.

router bits

Adam used five sheets of 15 lb. Precision Board (4′x8’x2”) to fabricate 6 signs. He used ArtCAM for programming the cutting on his own custom-made CNC router. Campos then used Rhino 3D to render a highly detailed set of drawings, including bevels and all the small details on the signs for approval prior to the actual cut process. “I had to use a 1/4” diameter boxcore bit to give the letters and art a 1/8” radius at the base, so I carved all the letters and art out using a series of different router bits to speed up production and achieve the desired result” he says.

He started with a 1′′ Flycutter (#RC-2443) router bit to rough out all the areas. Then he moved down to a 1/4′′ Flat Mill (#51646) to do the light detail work. Finally, a Core Box (#45904) bit to make the bevels at the base of the letters and the art. All router bits were from Tools of Today.

Adam prefers to use Precision Board HDU. “It’s easy to get a smooth finish, even if you need to sand it. It’s effortless. You spend extra money up front, but you save it in the labor. Once it comes off the router, it’s almost like a finished piece,” he says. “As long as your speeds and feeds are right, you get finished edges, leaving the focus on prime, paint and assembly.”

The HDU signs were coated with Killz Multi-Purpose Primer and Sherwin Williams exterior acrylic enamel.

Campos drew up custom brackets that bolted to the sidewalls of the stone columns. The sidewalls and cross-sections were made from 2 x 2 x 1/8″ angled iron and were secured to the stone using Tapcon Anchors. All 24 custom-produced brackets & 16 pieces of 10 foot iron were powder-coated grey to help with the aesthetics and to prevent rust. For extra support he put 3/8′′ carriage bolts on the four corners of the signs, 4′′ long with locking nuts on the back.

So, how long did it take to complete the project from start to finish?

Adam says “it only took about 3-4 hours on the CNC for each of the six HDU boards for a total of about 17 hours of routing time or two solid days.”  He adds, “the longest part of the project was the back and forth with the client over several weeks to get the designs just right.”

router bits

Graphics MFG is an abbreviation for Graphics Manufacturing and specializes in just that. They turn concepts into reality, whether it be custom signage, a physical build out, print, graphic design, CAD, 3D or installation. They handle it all. Graphics MFG has the experience and machinery in- house to deal with the unique aspects of your project with an emphasis on project management. Selecting the right approach towards a job is crucial to a successful end result. Because of this ideology they can handle a wide variety of work that spans beyond just signage. You can contact Adam Campos at (760) 261-4358 or visit his website for more information.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board HDU, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane sign material that is particularly effective for making professional-looking indoor and outdoor dimensional signs.  It is a closed-cell rigid substrate that does not rot, warp or crack.  You can request free samplesget a quote or sign up for periodic newsletters packed with helpful information.