By Melissa Donovan
If you visit digitaloutput.net you’ll find a two-part series on finishing untraditional materials like wood or metal that published in October 2022. Vendors in the hardware space discussed the benefits of owning a flatbed router/cutter designed to handle more than traditional sign graphics materials.
An example of a print service provider (PSP) doing this work is Artisan Colour of Scottsdale, AZ. Founded in 1998, the graphic arts division of the company was established in 2009. 65 employees work out of a 42,000 square foot facility to produce work shipped internationally.
The display graphics division handles environmental graphics and point of sale, all of which is digitally printed—this includes fine art museum displays to grocery store signage. “Many fine art clients supply wood, marble, glass tile, and fabrics to be printed,” shares Peter Cook, display graphics manager, Artisan Colour.
On the print side of things, Artisan Colour uses two UV flatbed Arizona printers and a Colorado roll device from Canon Solutions America, in addition to two HP Inc. grand format printers.
“The Arizona printers are ideal for having numerous layer options for white and color, while having an ease of operation for precut specialty materials and providing the speed necessary to print jobs with ever-shrinking deadlines,” explains Cook.
Cutting happens on a G3 XL-3200 and M-2500 router/cutter from Zund America, Inc. A moveable belt system on the G3 XL-3200 allows for cutting graphics and rolls longer than the table. Both finishing devices are equipped with kiss and through cutting capabilities.
Over the years, Artisan Colour has taken advantage of the modularity and scalability of the G3 XL-3200, adding various tools to the device as it sees fit.
The combination of printers and router/cutters found in house at Artisan Colour allows for it to tackle the most common sign graphic projects all the way to the most unusual. “Fine artists are always looking for something that sets them apart from others and our offerings provide an almost endless array of printing and finishing options,” shares Cook.
One example, a recent job for Phoenix Children’s hospital, which consisted of 300 award plaques made out of extruded plexiglas. “Extruded plexiglas is always used as it has a more consistent flatness compared to a similar cast sheet,” explains Cook.
The job was a multi-machine process. To help with weight, the plexiglass was pre-cut to 24×48 inches—but weighed 40 pounds after. Graphics were printed on an Epson printer and then face mounted to the plexiglas.
Then the plexiglas was placed on one of the two Zünd devices. “A low-tack backer was added and partially cut through to keep the 24×48-inch sheets from moving around and vibrating, which could cause unwanted chatter in the finished edge,” says Cook. Depending on the graphic, the final cut was in the shape of a hand—the logo of the hospital—and with a perfectly square edge to stand on its own.
“The Zünds had no problem cutting such thick, heavy material while providing a smooth and clean glass-like edge,” he adds.
After cutting, the graphics were placed on a Canon Arizona flatbed and printed first surface for a dimensional effect.
Donors to the hospital—recipients of the plaques—were pleased with the final outcome.
Prepared for Anything
Cutting to untraditional materials doesn’t need to be challenging. With the correct tools, anyone can be prepared for the unexpected.
Oct2022, Digital Output