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SA sign company launches for-trade 3D acrylic lettering business

After noticing a gap in the market, Adelaide signage firm The Weather Maker has introduced a new for-trade handcrafted 3D acrylic lettering business aimed at Australian signage companies and architectural firms.

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  3D signage by The Weather Maker in Adelaide

The one-man operation is the brainchild of sign and print industry veteran David Sherwell, who spent 10 years as founder and MD of Adelaide sign company Jack Rabbit before setting up The Weather Maker early this year in the Inner-western suburb of Thebarton.

The Weather Maker produces vinyl graphics and decorative films, sculptural products, vehicle wraps, wide format digital printing, display products, sign finishing and sign installation.

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   David Sherwell, managing director
             The Weather Maker

Soon after opening the business, Sherwell noticed a gap in the market for locally-produced 3D signage.

“It’s a specialised area and there’s a lot of demand in the industry for acrylic 3D lettering but there is a bit of gap in the market. There are a lot of people going overseas for their 3D letters now and what we’re trying to do is keep it Australian-made. That’s a pretty big thing, to keep it local.”

Sherwell fabricates the 3D acrylic lettering himself. “It’s still very hand-driven. I learnt the craft from a now-retired 3D acrylic fabricator who was a bit of a specialist. He handballed his skills down to me.

“We’re using CNC routing and laser technology and we’ve got an acrylic oven - probably the key piece of equipment we have in-house - and we use that to form the plastic.”

Most of the competition is coming from China.

“There might be one or two other local businesses fabricating acrylic lettering nationwide but we are very competitive with them in terms of turnaround and price. Our biggest competition would be China but with the international shipping costs for larger letters - say more than half-a-metre high - and with the turnaround time we can achieve, it’s on par with the Chinese market. Our pricing reflects a true trade rate and is extremely competitive with overseas manufacturers.  And it’s a better quality product.”

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  3D signage by The Weather Maker

The fabricated letters can be specified as illuminated, non-illuminated, painted or vinyl wrapped. Sherwell says the cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and sustainability of LED modules is a big part of the business’ green footprint.

Full installation service is available for the trade if in Adelaide. The Weather Maker can also assist sign makers with the fabrication of both aluminium and steel signs.

Sherwell says he’s now got his eye on the 3D printing market. “Eventually we’d be looking to expand into 3D printing. I think there’s a huge gap for 3D printing and we wanted to start like this first to get a sense of the market for the handcrafted 3D fabrication side of things. The feedback so far from the industry has been very good.”