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What programs do you Guys Recommend


New Member
I have Corel and Adobe But do you guys have something Specific to Design Channel letters and there raceways. See, I would like to do Just the Cans and Lighting and leave the Design work to someone else. Also, What Viynl printers and Cutters do you guys Reccomend to a Noob Like me :) Thank you in advance.


New Member
How are you planning to fabricate the cans and raceways? You could use any drawing program to design them...but to make them, you will of course have to have the dimensions of the "flat pieces" for fabrication.


Certified Enneadecagon Designer
Corel or Illustrator will work fine...I prefer Illustrator with CadTools myself, (www.hotdoor.com)

Corel is a cheaper alternative and already has scale and drafting tools built into it. Illy with CadTools has more options and multiple scale using layers.


Premium Subscriber
Any basic vector program will get your templates ready for you.

This puzzles me though, if you don’t want to design them and only want to build cans, channels or even run the neon, why do you need a vinyl printer ?? You only need something that pen plots. Why spend all the extra money ??


New Member
I was thinking of doing the Overlays with Vynal ... it was just a thought. Iam currently using autocad. And i currently work with in a machine Shop that is willing to let me use there Equipment Plus I have all the Welders from Mig to Stick and a press break and band saw. .025 using for the sheet metal and Finishing with automotive paint. :thankyou: Guys, My next question is LED have you guys ever worked with them. I have on other applications but not to this scale :) Thank you .


New Member
I would recommend "Sign/Neon Wizard" by Aires.....but, oH, lord.....what a PITA program!!!!!! However, it's the only one "neon specific" that I've ever known of.



New Member
Are you doing the layouts for Channels with Autocad now? Autocad is an amazing program. If you're interested in vinyl plotters then maybe Flexi is a better choice. I'm confused on what you're wanting to do as well. Why not build the raceway profiles on Autocad? As for LED's Gelcore and US LED is all I've been around and both are good, Gelcore is easiest to work with.


Certified Enneadecagon Designer
What are you trying to do?

Do you make signs already?
Is this your first time making illuminated letters?
Is it your design?
Is the design in a specific program already?
Are you trying to do the drafting of the project?....or
Are you attempting to make patterns to manufacture it?
Are you going to hand cut the letters or send the faces and backers out foor waterjett cut/rout?
If this is for a specific project, describe it.....halo lit? face lit? combination?

You can use Auto-Cad too, I think making paper patters in a sign specific program is slightly overkill as is Auto-Cad...but if you have it, use it. On drafting the internal parts...once you make templates in a certain scale, it's a no brainer. The fun part is design and you can design within your capabilities......something to think about. Another thing too consider is are you UL approved, UL is usually required for signs so I would look into that too.
here is what i do...

we design the sign in whatever program i am working with that day or some of the people that have worked with me in the past prefer one to another...i primarily use corel.

from there we duplicate the sign multiple times and break the design down into the various pieces that we will need for fabrications for example the backgrounds for channel letters and we delete everything else....

from there we generate g code for the backgrounds of the channel letters and route them out of dibond in most cases.

then by hand we build the cans around the dibond backers...it is not a difficult process.

then we have a file for the faces and we route those out of acrylic, flip them upside down and go through everyones favorite job of applying trim cap. Yippee

we use Neon Wizard for design patterns for the neon units and move on to that step.

the raceways are about the most straight foreward step in the whole job as it is in almost all cases just square sheet metal work. and we print out the dimensions from our design and get to work with the shear and brake and build the peices.

then wire the bad boy up, assemble all the elements, hook it up to power and throw the switch....

the software in my opinion is the least of your worries, it is earning the experience to do the job efficiently (profitably) and most importantly at safe high quality standards....next is acquiring the tools to do it, yes you can cut the pieces with a jigsaw or other method but a cnc router makes ALL the difference imho. and the bigger signs you are going to make the bigger shear you need, the bigger brakes you need, the bigger router you need, the bigger tables you need to assemble the letters, the bigger space you need for storing neon units, for the bigger space you need for building the signs....the bigger trucks you need for installing the signs, the more higher end sign guys you need to higher as you can't do all the work yourself and you dont want to employ the bottom of the barrel when you are building electrical signs..or any sign for that matter imo, the more insurance you need to have for building electrical signs, the higher standards you need to have in your shop to be UL recognized...i could keep going and going, but the least of your worries is software imo


New Member
I see, Thanks guys , Iam really looking at doing wholesale assembly for smaller shops out there. What I want is just to manufacture it and send it out to the end shop and they design and install it. I would like to get a CnC Router or maybe build one myself right now the shop i work out of does Custom machines for manufacturing Plants so we have the know how just the missing the Game plan :) The Reason I ask about the programs Specifically is 1 Curosity and 2 to know what programs I will need to see what the customer is sending. I do have a Electrical background and have worked with manufacturing Signs before. Worked for Company Called Dwayne Clein Signs in Miami,Florida a couple of years back.