First Paying gig!

Awesome sign and yes you are way undervaluing this. 100 is a steal so 50 is just highway robbery. I did have a quick question. You said you used Aspire, but will VCarve Pro work as well. I am debating on which one to purchase, since I am not doing much sign work, but I hate to cut myself short in case that is something that can take off. I am cutting foam and wooden letters with my machine. I will post some of my pics once I get it done.

Yes I think v-carve will do just about everything you would want it has a 25x25 work area restriction I think …

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That sign is awesome! I agree, 50 bucks is highway robbery. I’ve never made a custom sign - but I bet I would charge at least 150 for that. Great job!

Sign looks amazing! Price points are hard to figure out, but I think as long as you feel like its worth the time and effort you are good; Plus you can get some word of mouth for that “discount” :wink:

Im hoping to get a lot of “Word of mouth” its the only lawn mower shop/small engine repair shop in town.


Ok so I got my new V- bits from inventables so starting on the second sign. I can finally retire the harbor freight bit that I’ve been using the last 4 weeks wasn’t too bad considering the whole set was only 16$!! Boy is it dull !!

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Thought about just takingbcollection of dull bits and dropping them off at a knife sharpener.

How did you get your paint to look that crisp??? What procedures did you use?
Your sign looks amazing!!!

So , I ran the toolpaths for the v carve and the chamfer, pulled the piece off of the waste board, I used bump stops on opposing corners, I flood painted with water based acrylics since it is an indoor sign, I use a wet rag to wipe down any major paint that makes it out of the V- carve , after painting I used a sanding block with 220 across the entire sign to clean everything up, I put the piece back in between my bump stops , ran the toolpaths for the texture and the cutout and there you have it !


Cutting the texture path on sign 2 almost done !


A general rule of thumb for pricing that I go by is charging by the square foot. Multiply the x and y lengths and divide that by 144 to get the number of square feet in your sign. Then you can decide whether to add to that based on the amount of detail and work you have to put into that particular sign. If you set your base rate at $50 per square foot and multiply 22.5 x 10.25, you get 230.625. Divide that by 144 (12in squared) and you get 1.6. Multiplied by 50, your starting rate is around $80. I would certainly add more to the rate just because of the complicated design and cost of the red oak that you would be using. You could always jump your base rate to $75 a square foot to make up for some of the lumber costs. Just another way to do things in case you’re interested.


This is an awesome idea I see a spreadsheet that auto calculates in the near future !

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It definitely helps cut down on indecision and going back and forth on how much to charge. It can be a tricky issue. I started out underpricing my stuff and now have to rework a lot of things. Glad I could be of a little assistance.

I generally just charge for my time. Machine time or design time / cleanup = $75 / hour. You can add materials cost to that. I’d give an up front estimate, and you can change your rate based on how much of a pain you think the client is - Some people get me for $50 / hour because they’re easy to work with.

The time rate works out because simple / soft materials like foam cut really quickly, whereas hardwoods take longer, and I’ll include paint and finish time in there too.

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How long was your carve time for this type of sign?

The carve was quick probably 1.5 hours .

Awesome !

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Very nice, indeed. This will make things much simpler for those that have constant struggles with how much to charge. You could even show the customer the spreadsheet so they don’t think you’re just coming up with random numbers.

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Awesome sign yes 50 way too cheap

You have $5000 worth of equipment and software, plus materials, plus time, plus tooling wear. $50?
You may like to work for free or even pay others for you to work, I don’t.
The artwork alone and setup should at least be $50 if not more.
I have turned businesses away when they want something done for next to nothing.