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December 31, 2020

How CNC technology gave 612 Signs a competitive edge

By scribe

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william salvador talking to router bob at 612 signs

It seems every day we hear a new success story from a business owner who was able to set their brand apart with the help of CNC technology. Whether in the industries of furniture-making, signage manufacturing, or anywhere in between, it is always rewarding to see the impact CNC routers and CNC plasmas can make for businesses in many key areas.

This was certainly the case for 612 Signs – a custom sign designer, manufacturer, and installer headquartered in Edina, MN, who utilized a ShopSabre CNC router to elevate their capabilities and their service offering. The path to get there involved multiple continents, a marriage, and a highly intensive research process.

From Italy to the Land of 10,000 Lakes

William Salvador – Owner and Director of Operations for 612 Signs – traveled quite the path to opening his own signage shop here in the frozen north.

William was born and raised in Italy, where his schooling gave him the opportunity to travel and see different parts of the world. He moved to London at the young age of 17 and began working, but soon found his work to not be challenging enough. He went back to school in London before eventually moving to Los Angeles to attend UCLA in pursuit of his mechanical engineering degree.

William’s degree brought him to work for a sign company as an engineer, which quickly grew into a passion he still maintains today. Eventually, William met a woman who would one day become his wife and business partner – Lisa Murphy Salvador, now Principal and fellow Owner of 612 Signs. Together, they moved from LA to MN to open up shop and pursue their dream and passions.

Expanding capabilities with help from CNC

After a few months of success once 612 Signs first opened, William and Lisa upgraded from a small space with non-professional machinery to a larger manufacturing facility. They quickly began looking for ways to expand and improve their ability to produce high-quality signage, and a CNC router emerged as a must-have addition to the shop.

Because of William’s experience in engineering, he had a fair amount of experience purchasing big machinery and knew exactly what to look for in a CNC router. He researched machines and made a spreadsheet listing out everything an engineer would look for. William found ShopSabre had everything he needed, from speeds and rates to the cost and the warranty. It was also important to him that the machine was manufactured locally, given that he and his wife are local manufacturers themselves.

The support difference

The ShopSabre CNC router’s technical capabilities checked all of William’s boxes, but there was one element he had somewhat overlooked until the end of the process that he now knows is the most important: support.

William and Lisa do business with nearly every sign company in the area – many of which have machines that aren’t from ShopSabre – and they often hear how badly these shops lack the support they need. During his research prior to making a purchase, William called each company he was considering and asked to talk to tech support. It has since become natural for him to pick up the phone and call ShopSabre anytime he has an issue.

“You call them and they answer,” William said. “You don’t get left in a queue or told to call back. You have a problem, you’re on a deadline, and you need to get things done to support your customers. I call ShopSabre and I get support, and that is still the most important thing to me today.”

Support is more important to William than speeds or feeds because of its ability to optimize his setup so he can make better parts while avoiding any damage or unnecessary wear to his machinery.

As an engineer, William understood quite a bit about machining, but knows there’s a big difference between performing the work and simply ordering a machine. He relied on the experience of ShopSabre to help him select the machine and options best for his business.

The competitive advantages of CNC

An inherent part of the culture at 612 Signs is that they never accept the status quo and are always willing to challenge what is possible. This philosophy has led them to create unique solutions for signage that make them more competitive and relevant to larger companies both nationwide and in the Twin Cities area. And CNC technology is central to that competitive edge.

In completing the purchase, William went with the highest-powered vacuum, strongest spindle, and largest machine that could work in his shop. The machine’s table is 6 feet wide by 11.5 feet long. Since it’s rare to get metal material larger than that, 612 Signs is able to machine the largest sheet metal available – something few companies in town can say.

Their setup was also optimized with the help of ShopSabre to perform ADA-compliant braille projects for signage. Their machine allows them to take a sheet, paint it, and then drill holes for 60 signs before populating the braille and contour cutting. A recent run created 60 signs from one piece of metal in an hour and 15 minutes.

William and Lisa’s system also has optical capability that allows them to contour cuts when doing graphics on signage. This helps prevent the issues of imprecise cuts found elsewhere, always performing extremely precise cuts that serve as yet another competitive advantage.

“Would I buy a CNC again?” William asks himself. “Absolutely. Would I consider any other CNC? I would consider them all, but with what I know about CNCs, I would still make exactly the same choice. I would still buy a ShopSabre. I’m happy with them and I appreciate and adore their support.”

Transform your shop’s capabilities with ShopSabre CNC

ShopSabre manufactures world-leading CNC routers and CNC plasmas to provide hobbyists and shop owners alike with unmatched precision, efficiency, and versatility. Whatever your goals may be, we are dedicated to helping you produce outstanding results at a fraction of the labor and cost.

Our Industrial Series (IS) and PRO Series CNC routers provide industrial capability for a fraction of the price, while our SideKick CNC plasmas deliver professional quality at an entry-level cost.

Here are a few of the reasons ShopSabre is able to develop and produce such revolutionary CNC technology:

  • Experienced in-house engineering talent
  • The ability to totally fabricate and test designs onsite
  • The ability to place the designs into production in-house

These are just a few of the advantages of being an American machine tool manufacturer. We offer commercial financing on our CNC equipment to help meet the needs of your budget.

Shop our unmatched collection of CNC routers and CNC plasmas in Minneapolis today to experience CNC the way it was meant to be.

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