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Cutting King-sized Projects

By Author: Laser Cutters
Total Articles: 7

Kings Displays (www.kingdisplays.com) in New York City has been meeting the imaging and fabrication needs of the New York creative community for over seventy years. Using a mix of traditional techniques and the latest in digital innovation, King Displays has created everything from window graphics to banners to dimensional signage.

The company was recently in the market for a new piece of equipment that would expand its offerings and reduce production time. Investing in new printers had always been a focus, but now it was time for something on the finishing end.

Enter the flatbed cutter/router that allows them to trim, crease, and KISS-cut a variety of rigid and flexible substrates. (Note: King Displays is using the Colex SharpCut Flatbed Cutter Vision Registration System (www.colex.com).

The built-in camera accurately reads the register marks of the graphics and templates to ensure the right cut. The flatbed cutter also features an easily interchangeable triple tool head. The entire unit is changed, rather than just the blade itself. The vacuum table has six zones with individual blowers at each zone instead of one large blower for the entire machine.

“[A flatbed cutter] was something that we were looking at for a long time,” says Wayne Sapper, owner and president, Sales, of King Displays. “We figured that it was worth the amount of money to invest in it and see how it would affect our business. And I think it’s helped a lot.”
King Displays purchased a five-by-ten unit, which came with a fixed and oscillating knife and a router spindle. The company has since bought additional tools to expand its capabilities—including the KISS-cut tool, v-carve tool, and crease wheel.
(Note: The SharpCut supports all tools for cutting on a variety of substrates—from vinyl, fabrics, and foam board to wood, Sintra®, and sheet metal.)

The flatbed cutter has allowed King Displays to pursue projects ranging from specialty displays to window graphics.

New York Presbyterian Hospital
The company’s first big job on the flatbed cutter was a special project for the New York Presbyterian Hospital to help celebrate Nurses Week 2011. On 6mm Sintra, the shop printed the message “Amazing Things Are Happening Here” using its EFI VUTEk QS3200 digital printer.

With the SharpCut, King Displays then cut five puzzle pieces out of the sheet using a 6-mil router bit. The pieces were distributed to the five hospital locations, where all the doctors and nurses on staff signed them.

The pieces were then brought back together, assembled, and hung in the main building of the New York Presbyterian hospital. Overall the project took about two days.

Sapper notes the hospital is now interested in doing more projects with his sign company.

Popbar

King Displays did something completely different on a job for Popbar, which sells gelato on a stick. King Displays was asked to create sides for an aluminum freezer box out of Formica featuring a wood grain print.

The challenge on this project was getting the angles and curves just right. King Displays used cards to test out the shapes on the flatbed cutter. After five templates, they had the right pattern.

With a 3-mil router bit, the shop cut out the Formica sides and then installed them onto the aluminum box using a double-sided, high-adhesive tack film. Cut-out vinyl lettering was added to the front of the box.

Overall the project took four to five hours to finish. “Now that we have the template, the next one will probably take us an hour,” says Sapper.

Stephen Sondheim Theatre
King Displays is located in New York City’s theatre district, so 90 percent of its projects are promotional work for the surrounding theatres. On a recent job, King Displays created a series of graphics for two sets of windows at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on 43rd Street.

The hardest part of the job was creating the graphics files with the correct register marks for the machine to read. It took seven to eight hours to prepare the files.

The graphics were then printed on the shop’s HP Scitex LX800 printer and cut with a KISS knife on the SharpCut. The print-and-cut work took a full day to complete.

Meanwhile the graphics were installed on the windows using the dry application method, which took about four hours.

King Displays continues to find innovative ways to use its flatbed cutter and enjoys the possibilities the machine brings into the shop.

“We’re kind of selling it to our customers to try and do different things,” says Sapper. “It’s enabling us to do things that we couldn’t have done.”

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