Sign Making on CNC Router

As dimensional signs gain momentum, many sign makers are seeking formal education to help them get the biggest bang for their routing bucks.

So you've made a major investment in a CNC router. You went whole hog with a top of the line machine that features all the bells and whistles a sign maker could ever dream of.

You are set to realize the promises the salesman made when he sold it to you: increased productivity, higher quality and greater profits. There's only one problem. How do you use the thing?

Manufacturers typically offer some preliminary training, but for the most part it consists of very basic set up and icon identification, not hands-on instruction. But some key players are stepping up with more in-depth training for sign makers looking to get the biggest bang on their CNC bucks, according to Gerber senior product manager Scott Anthony.

"You can very easily go from flat graphics to dimensional signs," says Anthony. "But you have to know how to price, how to design, how to finish and decorate, how to incorporate all of these components."

That, says Anthony, often means seeking out formal education. While CNC education options are limited, there are a few programs in the industry garnering both the attention and respect of sign makers. There are several woodcarving programs recommended by the International Sign Association, but Northcoast Signworks and Vermont Sign School run the two of the most notable programs designed specifically with computerized routing in mind.