Hello everyone,

First a little background.

I am in the signage industry and also do the majority of my CNC work as part of that. Having a CNC machine in this work really isn't an option anymore and we can't really imagine doing most of our work without one.

There is a problem though - of course.

A big part of the work that we do is made up of printing a graphic, laminating (applying) it to a hard substrate like foamex (PVC foam board) and then contour cutting it out to a shape, that usually looks something like this -

The problem here is that we usually do the cut with a jigsaw manually because it is much faster and safer (for the workpiece) than trying to do it our CNC.

Obviously doing complex contour cuts on the CNC router would save a lot of time and just be all around much easier than doing it by hand but right now that usually entails that you make some kind of registration mark in the artwork during preparation for print. Then you would have to export the outline of the artwork, as well as the registration mark, DFX/DWG/whatever and use that to generate your g-code for cutting later on. Then you apply the print to the board substrate and put it on the CNC for cutting, and here's the rub. At this point your work piece has to be perfectly aligned with the machine so that when you set your zeros on the registration mark, which serves as a reference to where the artwork is, that it cuts exactly along the contour. Doing this once or twice isn't that challenging but having to do it all day long quickly becomes tedious.