Frequently Asked Questions

Signmaking FAQs

What do you get for the price of a new machine?

Pricing for all our machines is “turn-key” which means that everything you need to be fully operational is included, there are no options, extras or hidden charges.  Freight charges are the only additional expense.  The purchase price of our machines includes installation, training, a full two-year parts, and labor warranty, as well as software updates and lifetime remote diagnostics and support*. We utilize Team Viewer for remote support which enables us to offer nearly instant technical support and virtually eliminates the need for on-site technical support visits. * some restrictions may apply

We have technicians located throughout the United States to ensure that someone is always nearby for the few service calls that actually require an on-site visit from one of our technical services team.

Our US headquarters for sales, remote support, parts, and materials inventory is centrally located in Boulder, Colorado. Our facility in Foothill Ranch, CA is our state-of-the-art showroom and is strictly by appointment only. 

How long does it take to get a new machine?

We move fast!  We carry a full inventory of machines that are fully assembled, packaged, crated and ready to ship within 24 hours of purchase.  Delivery to facilities within the continental US can be expected in 5 business days or less.  We have completely eliminated the long lead times of 8-12 weeks that are customary for many manufacturers. We can be on-site to set up your new machine and train your operators the week after it is delivered.

How much waste return material is produced per letter?

waste material

Our machines produce almost no waste.  The machine only produces 1/4″ of waste, which is the width of the cutting blade that separates the finished letter from the remaining, unprocessed coil. In comparison, our competitors’ machines can typically waste up to 10”-12” of material for each letter which leads to significantly higher material costs.  For example, a letter B is comprised of three separate segments, the perimeter section, and two inside sections.  Our machine will only produce about 3/4″ of total waste when forming a letter B, whereas our competitors can waste anywhere from 2–3 feet of material on this one single letter!

 

How long does it take to bend a letter?

Be careful, many companies are intentionally deceptive and will advertise the feed rate of their machine not the machine’s actual production speed.  There is always a big difference between feed rate and production speed.

The ChannelBender Series machines consistently have the fastest production time relative to all to our competitors. For example, an 18″ flanged channel letter takes an average of only 3:30-3:45 to flange, notch and bend. In addition, the output from our ChannelBender Series machines is far superior in both quality and accuracy, thereby slashing labor costs and increasing productivity.

What’s the tallest letter that can be produced?

Generally speaking the larger the size of the letter, the easier it is to form.  Whether being bent by hand or by machine big letters are easy.  The letter height capability of our bending machines is essentially limitless.  Our machines can bend letters as tall as you’ll ever need. Do you need a 15 ft tall letter?  No problem, our machines can do that.

How deep can a letter be?

Depth capacity varies by machine.  Overall, we offer machines that can process coil as short as 1” in height up to 10” in height.

What’s the minimum serif size that can be produced on the SCB?

serif image

On a typical face-lit letter the flange is the limiting factor. If the serif is less than twice the flange depth, the flange will smash into itself.  In other words, a 1/2″ flange requires a 1” serif otherwise trimming the flange is necessary.  On a Trimless, halo-lit or fabricated letter the minimum serif size our machine is capable of producing is about 3/16”

What is the smallest letter that can be formed?

This depends on the material being formed, the font, and the letter style (flanged or unflanged).  The smallest halo-lit or Trimless letter our machines can produce is about 3” in height.

LetterForm® FAQs

What exactly is a Trimless channel letter?

channel letter illustrationTrimless channel letters entirely do away with the trim cap that traditional channel letters use to hold the face of the letter on, producing a much cleaner, more visually appealing appearance. Notice, in the image, that there is no trim cap holding the face of the letter on.

Why would you want to produce Trimless channel letters?

Trimless channel letters are intended to be offered as a much more attractive, aesthetically pleasing, premium product for a premium price, thereby delivering a greater profit margin. In addition to selling these attractive, high-quality letters for a premium, customers will save money by eliminating the labor and material required by the trim cap process. Plus, Trimless eliminates many common problems associated with trim cap like fading, cracking, peeling, and matching colors.

What is LetterForm®?

letterform-coilLetterForm is the newest innovation in our line of Trimless channel letter coil. So innovative in fact, it was awarded an Innovation Award at the 2016 ISA Sign Expo. It is a pre-painted aluminum material measuring .040” in thickness. Bonded to the interior surface are PVC strips that are used for attaching faces with adhesive and backs using our patented Easy Clips. LetterForm is sturdy yet just flexible enough to allow customers to produce high quality, exceptionally detailed Trimless signage. This innovative, patented coil saves customers time and money by entirely eliminating trim cap from the fabrication process. To find out more about features and view detailed drawings, please see Letterform.

Do I have to have one of your machines to produce Trimless channel letters?

While some companies have developed custom fabricating techniques done by hand, SDS Automation is the only company with the patented materials, equipment and process to quickly and efficiently fabricate Trimless® channel letters on an automated channel letter bender.

What is LiquiForm®?

liquiletter-apple-logosWe like to think of LiquiForm as the future of channel letters, here today. LiquiForm is a poured resin process that allows for the fabrication of low-profile, high-style letters with outstanding illumination properties, ideal for interior signage. Since this is an entirely new channel letter process, SDS Automation is offering classes in LiquiForm fabrication, limited to owners of our machines.

Support FAQs

How do I get Tech Support?

We offer several ways to contact our technical services team.  One option is to call our main number 303.798.7110.  You will either be connected directly or we will have someone call you right back. Please be prepared to provide your name, company name, machine make, model, serial number, and a detailed explanation of the issue you are having or the question we can answer for you. You can also send an email using our Tech Support form by clicking on the following link. Read More

Can we get additional training?

Absolutely! We offer both remote and in-person training depending on your particular needs and timeline. We also understand that turnover can lead to new operators who may not have had the benefit of the initial factory-certified training we provide during installation.  No worries. We are available to provide all levels of training in these situations, anything from a quick tutorial to fully comprehensive training from A to Z.  Give us a call at 303.798.7110 or send an email to discuss your situation.

What's the warranty on my machine?

Most SDS machines come with a two-year parts and labor limited warranty including lifetime phone and remote access tech support from a US-based technician.  SDS Automation equipment warranty and tech support extends only to the original purchaser.  Secondary owners have the option to purchase warranty and technical support extensions.

Contact Signmaking Equipment Sales