Laser Engraving and Precision Board HDU

Laser engraving of Precision Board HDU

Laser engraving a 2″x2″ Coastal Enterprises logo on PBLT-15.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether or not Precision Board HDU can be laser engraved.  It absolutely can!  We decided to take a closer look at laser cutters in general and how they interact with our HDU material.  Our good friend Jim Dawson from Synergy Sign & Graphics LLC tested out his 75 watt Vytek laser cutter on a few different densities of Precision Board HDU and sent us the results.

Jim used his eight year old laser at 100% power, and though it works really well, he thought the newer machines would work faster.  He did two passes at 30 inches per second on the PBLT-15. Changed to 10 inches per second with two passes on the PBLT-18.  “I ran two passes on the 15 lb. to see how deep it would cut the material, then changed it to one pass on the PBLT-30 and three passes on the PBLT-40 at the slower speed so I could get better detail on the higher densities.  You’re not going to get a ton of detail in the lower densities, so if that’s what you’re looking for, start at the 30 pound density or higher depending on what you’re going after.”

Jim prefers the laser for projects requiring finite detail, especially on smaller size designs.  “Anytime you’re doing something super small, you can use laser. You can also have text that is very small.  We had some pretty impressive results in the PBLT-30 and PBLT-40 samples engraving a 4” by 4” Coastal Enterprises logo.”

Some benefits of laser cutters:

  • Lasers are extremely versatile, able to cut a wide variety of materials and need no additional setup, i.e. chemical additives or post processing.
  • Ease of use, with software packages compatible with most graphics programs.
  • Low energy consumption and speedier processing times.
  • Minimal equipment maintenance with low wear and tear due to no-contact process.
  • Extreme precision and detail.
  • Reduced waste and by-product because output is vapors which can be exhausted or ventilated with an air-filtration system.
  • Consistent quality level due to ability to save parameters of specific jobs and materials in database.
  • No material finishing required.

Source: “Advantages of lasers versus other methods of cutting, marking and engraving signs”

Laser engraving of Precision Board

Laser engraving a 4″x4″ Coastal Enterprises logo on PBLT-40.

You may be concerned with the toxicity of using lasers on Precision Board, but you shouldn’t be.  According to a study conducted by Universal Laser Systems on the effluent created from laser cutting several different densities of Precision Board indicated that, “the effluent stream is primarily composed of carbon monoxide, acetone, propene, and acetonitrile.  The concentration of the detected compounds did not exceed their respective OSHA PEL at any level of filtration during this study.”  Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) are federal regulations that dictate safe chemical exposure levels.

You can read more HERE about the testing methods used and see photos of the various densities after laser-cutting.

Precision Board is perfect for laser cutting and engraving, so get out there and laser it up! Laser cutting foam HDU is a great processing method, so click here for a free sample and start laser cutting Precision Board today.


Fantastically Rich, Beautifully Strange: Workspace Renovations with Synergy

workspace renovations

Workspace Renovations with Synergy Sign and Graphics

Every once in a while, a skilled sign maker finds his workspace in need of some sprucing up. For top-tier craftsmen who make their living churning out beautiful, skillfully executed creations, it’s only natural that they’d want their creative space to reflect the art that they’re capable of. Today, we’re going to take a look at some upgrades that Synergy Sign and Graphics performed on their own creative space.

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The renovations all concern a metal door leading into one of the main work areas at Synergy. With the help of a little PBLT-18 and TSF-45, the Synergy crew turned it into a fun part of their laid-back, artsy aesthetic. The first step was to rout out a portion of Precision Board slightly smaller than the surface area of the door itself. The idea was for the PBLT to function as a facade on the front of the door, so it could have some rustic wood stylings without the actual wood!

workspace renovations

The Synergy crew used their CNC router to produce the general shape of the door, along with the faux-metal reinforcing slats and Jules Verne-esque porthole, but the wood grain was predominantly hand carved. Many artists and sign makers who work with Precision Board find that one of the best methods for getting an authentic wood grain effect is to carve it by hand. Slow? Of course. But definitely worth the time and effort with how life-like the wood effect is. For a capable artist, Precision Board offers a lot of freedom to get exactly the result you’re looking for.

workspace renovations

Once the door was routed, carved, and primed, it was on to the small signs, to be mounted on either side of the swinging door. The Synergy opted for a corrugated metal effect and contrasting color palettes, with one of the signs painted emerald green and the other fiery red and orange.

workspace renovations

The door is still a work in progress but it’s looking great so far. Tune in for the next edition of Workspace Renovations, when we find out what finishing touches Synergy decides to bestow on this little project.

Take a minute to check out the Synergy Sign and Graphics website. Click through their projects gallery, read the blog, or even request a personalized, hand-made creation of your own.

Machining tips and more!

-A message from Chuck Miller, CEO of Coastal Enterprises

“Over the years Coastal Enterprises has continually worked to improve Precision Board to meet the changing market needs and requirements. In the last few years change has come even faster to designs and tooling applications, which have required projects to be more sophisticated and complex. We have created a harder, stronger, tougher, and tighter celled Precision Board by upgrading our process methods. It’s still the same great Precision Board, just better.”

We didn’t change the formulation of Precision Board; we modified the process to make a higher quality product. One of the main goals for this process was to reduce the dust produced while machining. By increasing the capacity of the chip load, Precision Board machines cleaner and quicker than ever before.

Some of you might be wondering, “What is a ‘chip load’?” The chip load can be defined as the thickness of the chip that is produced while routing. It’s important to know this to keep the heat inside the chip and not on the tool. If you calculate the proper chip load, you’ll have a longer lifespan for your cutting tools as well as greatly decrease the heat transfer onto your routed piece. Check out our Speeds and Feeds data sheet for setting references.

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Don’t take our word for it – see for yourself! Click here, or give us a call, and we will send you a sample. We are excited to show you what we have to offer.

IMG_1078  Click here to watch a video of Precision Board being machined.



The Artists Who Happen to Make Signs – The Angry Bull

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “taking the bull by the horns.” Well Xpressive Graphix takes the phrase to a whole new level. Creating a sign for the Angry Bull Saloon is a prime example of what the artists at Xpressive Graphix are capable of while following their motto: Expect the unexpected.

First being approached with the idea of rebranding one of Zanesville’s favored local saloons, Tony Rose, David Mattingly and the crew at Xpressive Graphix used their expertise to take this project above and beyond. Using Precision Board Plus, these artists were able to craft a sign that would stop any passer-by in their tracks.

The design created by Xpressive Graphix.

The design created by Xpressive Graphix.

Using PBLT-18, this sign is layered perfectly. Actual 19th century barn wood was mounted on a steel frame as a backing for one of the craziest bulls you’ll find on a sign. While the lettering and outline were routed on a CNC, the bull itself was HAND CARVED by Tony Rose. The hand carved bull was mounted using 100% silicone while screws where placed to hold the bull until the silicone set. The surly demeanor was captured perfectly and the Angry Bull Saloon is now the proud owner of an amazing sign using Precision Board Plus!

19th century barn wood and the steel frame.

19th century barn wood and the steel frame.


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The Angry Bull Saloon by Xpressive Graphix, Zanesville, OH.

Tony and the team are doing an amazing job showing what Precision Board can become. Visit them at their website or catch Tony on his twitter to see what they can do for you.

Our CNC Machine Finally Arrived…

Xpressive graphiX has created another stunning sign and has been chosen to be “Today’s Guest Blogger.” Tony Rose, Business Partner & Creative Director, with Xpressive graphiX writes the following

Lock 9 Pizza a new business located in Duncan Falls, Ohio, came to us because they had seen several signs of ours around town. In particular, The Olde Falls Inn, that was featured on Coastal Enterprises blog a few years ago and was a winner in the Signs of the Times Magazine 2014 contest last year.

Up until this sign, all of our 3D projects had been hand made, and only certain parts were outsourced to be machined. We finally built up enough 3D business to have a Multicam 1000 CNC installed, and this sign is the very first project we machined with it. In fact, to meet the deadline, we jumped in with both feet and started machining the parts for this sign the first day our machine was installed! Nothing like the rush of throwing a $400 sheet of material onto a machine we had never used!

Typically we hand carve Precision Board Plus which gives us a 3-4 week turnaround time. But, thanks to our new CNC, it only took 7-days (without working overtime)!  What a drastic difference it has made!

It worked flawlessly, considering I had never used Multicam or EnRoute Software before this project. I quickly understood the basics of EnRoute and by following the steps on Dan Sawatzy’s Blog I also learned other 3D techniques.


This sign measures 12” x 4’ x 8’ and is made from 2” PBLT-18 to get that awesome 3D look. We then glued SIX different sizes and shaped layers onto a steel internal frame using PB Bond 240 adhesive and finished it off with locally sourced PPG exterior latex paints and glazes, which we mixed ourselves.


We have been using Precision Board Plus for the past 3 years and love how easy it is to work with. For this project in particular, we were blown away on how effortlessly it machined along with the quality of the results and the effects Precision Board can achieve.

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Most importantly our customer was very impressed with the detail and quality of the sign! She loved the results so much that additional Precision Board signs were requested, instead of the traditional aluminum and vinyl for their parking and directional signs.

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Request your free sample today, by simply clicking here!

Or for more information call us at 800-845-0745 and one of our Sales Reps will be happy to assist you.