Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 53

Truth is, signmakers are already
into digital sign manufacturing.
In the 1940s, signmakers adapted
WWII aircraft-fabrication CNC
routers to cut letter faces. In 1961,
President John Kennedy's moon
landing challenge initiated digital
(addressable) navigation systems
that still live in digitally controlled
routers, printers, channel letter
benders and much more.

artisans, engineers, inventors, prototype builders, crafters,
stage and prop builders, restorers, entrepreneurs, repair
technicians, DIY persons and others. Such places may also
be called Hackerspaces, Makerspaces, Techshops and Fablabs.
What does this have to do with signmaking? Well, first,
the Manufactory sounds like the average signshop. Even
better, such a makerspace could function as an alternative
specialty fabrication place for small signshops. Do you
own welding paraphernalia or a drill press? They do.
CREATIVITY STAYS
Chris, Kathi and I decided the difference between creative
signmaking and small-scale manufacturing processes is the
ability to produce (reproduce?) quantity signage, posters,
banners and labels with consistent quality - i.e., mass
production, even for a limited count. Your digital print
machine does this. At the ISA Sign Expo, for example, HP
exhibited an array of digital printers, including its HP
Latex print and cut portfolio. These printers link to
cutting plotters in order to production-line image and
sequence cut labels, stickers, window graphics, etc., that
signshops could make and sell to businesses, manufacturers and others.
Regarding cutouts, you've seen cutouts of Emma Stone,
Harley Quinn or the classic Marilyn Monroe skirting, but
forget those. Instead, think of profiting from multiple, same
file, digitally printed signs and banners - or printed and cut
manufacturing labels to add to a manufacturer's product
for either branding or essential-use communications. Think
Henry Ford and production lines, but on a smaller scale.
Think Bill Gates. He got rich by replicating his software on

PHOTOS BY DAREK JOHNSON

discs and selling each two-dollar one for several hundred
dollars. And, think profits. Successive same-same prints cost
less to make (no sales, design or shop set-up costs after the
prototype is approved), which result in more profit if you're
using automated processes that produce numerous copies.
The ISA Sign Expo 2017 comprised 20,000 sq. ft. of
exhibit space, 600 exhibits and, not surprisingly, numerous
digital print machines, from superwide models for printing building wraps to benchtop printers that image on 3D
merchandise, such as smartphone covers, golf balls and
aluminum water bottles. Generally, digital print machines
for signmakers allow you to produce regular signshop
products (vehicle wraps, signs, banners), that take you
to the repeat-process manufacturing aspects of sign and
image making.
See it as when, in 1928, Otto Fredrick Rohwedder invented and marketed the first bread slicer. He was on top
of the world. Too soon, however, others modified his
SIGNWEB.COM

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

53


http://www.SIGNWEB.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - June 2017

Signs of the Times - June 2017
Contents
From the Editor
St Update
At Large
Tech Review
Vehicles + Vinyl
Design Matters
Nuts + Bolts
Trending Times Square
Smart Surroundings
Digital Sign Manufacturing
Strictly Electric: A Goodman Sign
New Products
Advertising Index
Last Look
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Intro
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BB1
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BB2
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Signs of the Times - June 2017
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BD_L
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BD
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Cover2
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 1
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Contents
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 3
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 4
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 5
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 6
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - From the Editor
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 8
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 9
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - St Update
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 11
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 12
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 13
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 14
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 15
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 16
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 17
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - At Large
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 19
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 20
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 21
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Tech Review
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 23
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Vehicles + Vinyl
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 25
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 26
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 27
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Design Matters
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 29
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Nuts + Bolts
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 31
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 32
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 33
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 34
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 35
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 36
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 37
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Trending Times Square
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 39
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 46
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 47
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Smart Surroundings
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 49
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 50
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 51
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Digital Sign Manufacturing
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 53
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 54
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 55
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 56
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 57
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Strictly Electric: A Goodman Sign
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 59
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 60
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 61
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 62
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 63
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - New Products
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 65
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 98
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Advertising Index
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Last Look
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Cover3
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Cover4
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