What’s it cost to produce this 22-by-28-in. CNC-routed sign?
Small routed signs are easy with a benchtop CNC router
By Dennis Stanworth
Posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2020
6 sq. ft. of 1-in. white PVC board: $44
3 sq. ft. of ½-in. black PVC board: $20
Two cans of gold, one can of black Krylon spray paint: $27
Two yards 24-in. black vinyl: $20
Scroll bracket: $32
Total materials: $143
Total, including design: 8 hours
I recently purchased a benchtop CNC machine and in the process of learning how to use the machine I decided to make a sales sample to hang in my shop. It took the better part of one day to make the sign, because I’m still in the learning stage of using the equipment.
I did the layout in CorelDRAW, then imported the design into the CAD software and set up the tool paths for the router.
I had a piece of 1-in.-thick white PVC board in the shop so I put it to use as the background panel. The material costs at left are all actual costs, even though some of the materials were offcuts that I had on hand.
First I applied black vinyl to the face of the background panel, then a layer of premask over the black vinyl. I loaded it on the router table and let the machine run the tool paths. It took about three hours to cut the ¾-in.-deep inset panel and make the profile cut.
When that was complete, I cut the letters out of 6mm black PVC board. No masking or prep was required on the PVC.
Next came the painting and assembly. I masked the edges of the panel with painter’s tape and sprayed it with Krylon Classic Gold from a shake can. Since the sign is for interior use, I wasn’t concerned about needing a premium exterior paint.
Once the gold was dry, I sprayed the edges and back of the sign black. I then peeled the application tape to reveal the black vinyl border. Using double-sided tape, I adhered the letters to the sign panel. Finally I applied the and in black vinyl.
This would be a fairly routine shingle-type sign. Routing them adds a lot to the look over a flat sign, and applying the letters to the routed background gives it even more dimension.