Purchasing a tool for the sign business to cut signs  is pretty important. We looked at a couple of possibilities or you could say there are two main directions to go with the choice. One is a saw that is upright and you put the material to be cut on to it vertically. The sheet metal is supported well by the frame of the cutter and it is easy to send the saw to make the cut. The other choice was a table saw where the sheet metal would be fed into a normal type saw spinning away.

The upright type of saw is great in a small workshop as it fits onto a wall. It is really sturdy because of that and makes very good right angled cuts.  Now and then odd shaped signs meant angled cutting to fit something that was off square. Might need to make a sign that was ten millimetres smaller at one end. One prohibitive thing against the upright saw was the cost. For a small business just starting out and having to buy in all the tools needed to do the work.

The table saw was cheaper to buy and we were able to get an extra blade that was good for cutting aluminium. Changing the blade was very easy which was good as sometimes wood would have to be cut also. The saw could be dragged around a little bit to give space in the workshop or to accommodate a larger sheet. Despite the fact it was not as top quality a tool as the upright saw it was good enough for the job it had to do. There was already a portable air compressor in the workshop.

Setting it up was easy. The legs had to be fitted to the table that had the saw motor attached. It was a simple case of using an allen key that was provided along with a small spanner. There was a hinged cover to open to get at the saw blade and putting on the blade was easy with a large nut on the spindle. The tool for the blade change was a long handled spanner used on the nut with the left hand thread.

The sheets of metal to be cut came as 2.5 metres by 1.5 metres. With a large sheet it was easier with two people, one supporting the bendy material and the other in charge of guiding in the metal. It was made easier for cutting by having the metal coming out the other side of the cutting go onto a table.. This was so that the bend of the metal didn’t lift the edge being cut away from the blade during cutting. With practice I was able to do it single handed while cutting the long edge. While cutting a bit of the short edge of thin metal always needed two people.

The blade lasted well because it was especially for cutting metal. It was always aluminium or the dibond material which is the more rigid two thin sheets of metal with a sandwich of plastic in between. The other substrate that would be cut in the saw would be rigid plastic sheets that were popular for sign backgrounds. Never needed any maintenance during the life of the tool, only a tightening of the screws holding it together, now and then. Cleaning was not a problem no need for a pressure washer, just a brushing before using.