Aluminum Signs / Letters

Is anyone on here cutting aluminum signs, letters or words with the Shapeoko 3? I’ve searched around but I don’t see anyone posting about it. I’m wanting to create one word cut outs in aluminum such as " Home " in cursive.

I used to spec out cut aluminum letters all the time for signage use, and we would buy them from one of several suppliers, unless it was in a strange font. I do belong to a few plasma CNC groups where guys do stuff like that all day long for customers. I guess it comes down to, what is your end project? More for you to look at, or commercial?

We were thinking more commercial - maybe 10 cuts a week or so for word projects.

If they are just straight letters (no weird contour) for commercial use, I would just order them from a supplier, but most commercial wholesale suppliers for signage parts are not going to stock letters that are in script and specialty fonts, because those are not ADA approved and would sell less.

Most of our stuff was waterjet, although we started to do laser cut as our manufacturers gained the capability. It was easy enough to drill into a 1/2" thick letter and add mounting studs. If they were colored letters, most of those would just be laser cut plastics.

I think that if you want to make one for yourself, it would be possible but certainly this is the domain of a CNC plasma cutter that would take seconds to make this cut that would take you several minutes to perform with a Shapeoko. While the plasma cutter is fast and precise, it would not be able to make a 3D relief on the metal but this a job that would take many hours.

V-Carving with aluminum hasn’t worked very well for me. Getting a tool that has a proper angle and the right back rake has been a challenge. I’m sure they exist, and given how hard I’ve looked, pretty sure I can’t afford it.

What about aluminum composite material (ACM) instead? Cuts like plastic.

I’ve cut quite a few letters from Aluminum Composite Panel. Dibond is one name for it, Alupanel another. It cuts easily.


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