Laser Stencil Cutting / Aluminium Stencils...For Life!

Metals Centre have been laser stencil cutting for the past 10 years in aluminium and stainless steel in order to supply the Gauteng region, South Africa and beyond.

Don't forget to use the Quick Stencil Quote form.Our sales staff are standing by to assist you with your order.You can expect a response within 2 hours during weekdays - mon to Fri between 8:00 and 16:30

Metals Centre specialize in aluminium and stainless steel laser stencil cutting for the Gauteng region, South Africa and beyond

Metals Centre is a metal stencil supplier to the Gauteng region and beyond. Their stencil cutting machinery is able to cut stencils from almost any material you can think of. Aluminium stencils are the most popular because they are resistant to corrosion, very light for easy handling, yet extremely durable which makes them so long lasting. If well looked after they could... last a life time.

Our Stencil Quick Quote form is the fastest way to get your vital information to us in order for us to get a quote back to you within one business day.

If you have any queries whatsoever please feel free to contact us or call us on ...

+ 27 11 493 4930

Laser Stencil Cutting Overview


Quick Stencil Quote

  1. Why should I Buy From Metals Centre?
  2. What does it cost?
  3. What Is The Smallest And Largest Stencil You Can Cut?
  4. How Do The Stencils Stand Up To Sand Blasting?
  5. In What Format Do The Alphabet Stencils Come?
  6. What Forms Of Payment Do You Accept?
  7. How Long Will It Take To Get A Quote?
  8. What Material Do You Use To Make The Stencils?
  9. What Can The Stencils Be Used On?
  10. What Are The Steps To Working With Stencils?
  11. Do You Keep A Stock Of Standard Stencils?
  12. What Min. and Max Size Fonts Can You Cut.?
  13. What fonts Can You Work With?
  14. Do You Send A Proof Before Cutting?
  15. How Long Before I Receive My Stencil?
  16. Do You Offer Shipping Options?
  17. How Do You Pack The Stencils For Shipping?
  18. What Is The Life Span Of A Stencil?
  19. Do You Give Refunds And Guarantees?
  20. How Can I Follow The Status Of My Order?
  21. What Happens If I Cancel An Order?
  22. What Measures Do You Have In Place To Protect Copyright On Artwork?
  23. Do You Offer Various Options For Me To Submit A Graphic?
  24. Can You Supply Graphics?
  25. Do You Have Adhesive Stencils?


1. Why should I Buy From Metals Centre?

So why do we believe our metal stencil service is the best?

The fact is there are many suppliers to choose from, yet we would caution you, because you would be making a mistake to go elsewhere: allow me to clarify...

We do laser stencil cutting, like every other Tom Dick and Harry - and we're good at it. Thing is we have more strings to our bow, our other stencil production system that we use allows us to cut some extremely accurate and fine detail, including tiny text.

Normally, one would associate this type of detail with laser stencil cutting - but this is something totally different. Our system handles a vast range of materials that puts fear into the hearts of other laser stencil cutting businesses. Almost any material you can think of, we use to cut stencils from.

We have total control over our production system - Why? Well, we do everything ourselves, it's all done in-house. Not like many sites that put up a whole range of products that they don't actually produce themselves. Trouble is you end up paying a price that has two profit margin mark-ups built into it.

It really makes sense when you think about it, the only way to avoid these excessive profit mark-ups is to use an all-in-one in-house specialist that takes raw material and converts it into a product that you want

As I mentioned we do laser stencil cutting, but the exciting thing is - we have machinery that can cut... ALMOST ANYTHING. What this means to you is you can have your stencil cut from whatever material you like. You might have seen some material you really fancy - Just say the word, and we we'll deliver.

Perhaps your current supplier has told you that you can only use generic fonts or typefaces, if so - you're getting the short end of the stick. You don't have to stick to "stencil effect" fonts. Any design you like can be converted into a stencil friendly design. What's more is...we do it for FREE.

Whenever you want a price for a stencil, use our Stencil Quote or call us on 27 11 493 4930 for fast, free, friendly advice. We are able to turn work around really fast.

Yes we do laser stencil cutting from metal but we have other systems that allow us to cut stencils from allmost anything. Whether its aluminium or metal stencils that you need, now its cost effective and really simple.

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2.What does it cost?

Unfortunately we cannot have a one price fits all policy, you see - every stencil is unique and there are many variables to consider when working out a price.

If you would like us to quote you on either lettering or graphic stencils, please fill out our Stencil Quote Form. This is the fastest way to get your important stencil information through to us for a quick quote.

Our turn-time on quotes received through this form is one business day, if not the same day.

We understand that you are eager to get your pricing for your custom stencil job as quickly as possible and of course we are happy to answer any queries you may have pertaining to our products via phone, fax or email.

However, asking our customer support staff who don't have the necessary tools to answer questions relating to laser stencil cutting will only waste your time.

The only people who can price a custom laser stencil cutting job are our programmers.

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3. What Is The Smallest And Largest Stencil You Can Cut?

The maximum size of our laser cut stencils is 4m X 2m. If you require laser stencil cutting larger than our maximum we can cut stencils into several sections which when put together, make really big stencils.



Laser Stencil Cutting Tip
Don't tape these sections all together and then attempt to work with the completed large size stencil. Rather work with the individual sections on their own.


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4. How Do The Stencils Stand Up To Sand Blasting?

Most of our customers opt for the aluminium sheet stock for laser stencil cutting, due to the fact that it is light to work with and lasts a very long time if well looked after...For life.

These materials will hold up to a high degree of damage from sand blasting and chemical solvents. We cannot offer any form of guarantee on used stencils, they cannot be returned if you have damaged them.

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5. In What Format Do The Alphabet Stencils Come?

All our alphabet laser stencil cutting is done on continuous strips, this helps you too line up your letters and numbers. Should you want us too, we could customize the layout of your alphabet stencil

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6. What type of payment do you accept?

We are busy setting up to accept payment online. In the mean time when you are ready to pay for your laser stencil cutting, either stop by to pay us on-site - or you could call us on 27 11 493 4930 ask for our banking details in order to do a EFT payement. Unfortunately we do not accept COD's (Cash On Delivery)

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7.How Long Will It Take To Get A Quote?

Once you have filled out the Stencil Quote form we will get back to you with pricing within one business day.

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8. What Material Do You Use To Make The Stencils?

Aluminium stencils are the most durable and the most popular. They stand up to a high degree of rough handling, chemicals and solvents. Aluminium is allso corrosion resistant and very light to work with.

in order to understand better the reasons we suggest you have your laser stencil cutting done from certain metals and not others, lets take a look at the main points concerning cutting stencils from metal sheet

  • Material.
  • Size.
  • Line quality.

Material

Take into account the finish and application of the text. Laser cutting is limited to 3 materials namely Mild Steel , Stainless Steel and Aluminium.

Mild Steel

Although it is the cheaper of the material it does have its drawbacks.Mild Steel cuts at a higher temperature and as a result much detail could be lost on the design due to parts burning away. (on fine detail work)Mild Steel is highly corrosive and needs to be properly treated to prevent rusting.

Stainless Steel(Gr 430 , 304 and 316 available)

Stainless Steel is the better choice although more expensive. Finer detail can be cut, and if the parts are within size spec , there is little risk of detail burning away It is a popular choice due to it corrosion resistance

Aluminium

Aluminium is the most popular choice due to its high corrosion resistance and extreme light weight. A plus point is that aluminium can be Anodized and powder coated to suit your color requirements. (Not done by Metals Centre)

It does however have its drawbacks. While cutting Aluminium on the laser, it does then to generate a burr on the bottom of the material where cutting took place. This unfortunately is inherit to the material due to its soft nature and would require the client to clean up after cutting. It is however a favourite amongst the Signage community.

Size

The size of a sign is not in question but rather how fine the line work is. If the text is too narrow bad cutting and burning is almost guaranteed in ALL materials.

Line Quality.

Line quality is of high importance. The better the quality - the smoother the product edge.This focuses specifically on jagged edges and number of line entities. Examples will be provided.

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9.What Can The Stencils Be Used On?

You can stencil your children to make them easier to keep track of in the mall. (that was a joke folks...don't do it, besides - that would scare other mall shoppers) Seriously though, you are only limited by your imagination. Examples that come to mind would be autobody work, painting templates, t-shirts, even body painting... etc. etc.

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10.What Are The Steps To Working With Stencils?

Step One:

Make sure that you hold your stencil firmly in place. Take a tip from professional painters who use masking tape to secure their stencil.



Tip
Use re-positionable stencil adhesive available from craft shops and hardwares stores

It comes in the form of a spray that you apply to the back of your stencil. This holds the full surface area of the stencil to the surface you are stencilling instead of just the areas that are taped down.

The adhesive will let you achieve a professional finish with crisp edges. The adhesive will eventually begin to wear off, then all you do is apply another coat of adhesive over the old one and continue.

Don't worry, the adhesive will not damage or leave any residue on the stencilled surface. Remember that you can clean off the adhesive with acetone or any glue cleaner.

Step Two:

Now for the easy part...Applying the paint to the stencil.
For decorating or sign writing , use a "dry stencil paint" with a brush. This will give you much more control over your paint application. These items are available at any craft shop.

Visit a local craft shop and familiarize yourself with the available products. If you are using your stencil for a more commercial or industrial purpose you have three methods available to your self, and these are...

Roll, Brush, Spray

Roller Painting

There are a few different rollers available for stencilling matt surfaces. If you plan to make "industrial stenciling" a regular ocurrance then these would be of great value. You might decide to invest in an ink roller kit. Should you opt for paint instead of ink, then get yourself a paint roller with a trim roller, with tray. They are cheap and easily available in supermarkets and hardware stores. A lot of applications need a trim roller which is only 4 inches long, easier to do the job with than with the paint roller.

To get that "professional look" is really easy; what you need to do is really work that paint into the roller before even touching it to the stencil

Using A Brush

This takes longer than using a roller or spray paint but on the upside it gives you far better control over the paint application. Both solid and liquid paints do well with our stencils. The most important thing to keep in mind when working with liquid paint and a brush is not too have too much paint on your brush. Dip only the tip of the brush into the paint, then work it into the brush before bringing it into contact with the stencil

Spraying

This is the fastest method but this method also has the most potential for messy mistakes because the applicator (that's you)can easily become blase' and lose concentration which ends up in a lot of work to clean up. A less powerful paint sprayer or a airbrush are ideal due to the fact that you can easily control the flow of paint and pressure. Tinned spray paint is often the most common choice due to its availability. when using spray paint make sure you keep the spray tin at least 10" from the surface at all times. Don't hold the tin stationary, move it in a constant back and forth motion for best results. What you do is keep going over the lighter "see through" areas until they are solid colour as you want them to be. Keeping the spraying stationary will cause the pressure to spray too much paint in that position causing it to run under the stencil

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11.Do You Keep A Stock Of Standard Stencils?

We are building up our stock of standard lettering stencils, so before having one cut enquire as to whether we have one in stock.

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12. What Min. and Max Size Fonts Can Your Laser Stencil Cutting Machines Cope With.

Our biggest letter size cut from one single piece would be around 4m and the smallest around 10mm.An important note to mention here is that, at this small size we are limited to only certain fonts.

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13.What fonts Can You Work With?

When it comes to laser stencil cutting there are a few factors which influence which fonts we can successfully cut into stencils. Below is a list of fonts, including the metal from which you would gain best results.

Metal Centre is provides laser metal stencils to the Gauteng region of South Africa and beyond

ARIAL BLACK can go as small as 20mm in all material under 3mm thick.

ARIAL can go as small as 40mm high in all material under 3mm in thickness. Bear in mind the dot on the "I" might go missing it is too small.

Laser Metal Stencil

Try to refrain from using cursive text when laser stencil cutting, the thin line is almost guaranteed to produce poor cutting. Min letter height is 840mm.

TIMES NEW ROMAN is not a good idea for small signs. Lwtter height should be no less than 50mm high. Try to avoid mild steel on small parts.

AVANTE GARDE MD BT: Can go as small as 40mm high in all material under 3mm

AVANTEGARD BK BT: Can go as small as 55 in all material uder 3mm.

COMIC SANS BOLD: can go as small as 35mm high in all material under 3mm thick. The dot on the "I" might go missing

If its laser metal stencils that you are looking for, let Metals Centre's laser cutting division quote on your next laser metal stencil requirements

EDWARDIAN SCRIPT: Try to avoid this font for laser stencil cutting anything under 240mm high.


DUTCH 801 XBD BT
: Can go as small as 35mm high in all material under3mm thick


STENCEL FONTS



TC LASER SANS:
Good Allrounder. Can go as small as 20mm high in all material under 3mm thick

Metals Centre supplies laser metal stencils to the Gauteng region in South Africa
TC LASER: A little too fancy, cannot go to small. For stainless steel and aluminium it can go as little as 40mm high, however with mild steel don't go below 60mm. This is relevant to all materials under 3mm thick.

CARGO CRATE: A nice stencil font but due to the small tags it needs to be 230mm or above, in height.

TIFFFUI3:Works well with laser stencil cutting, can go as little as 55 high in all material under 3mm thick.

RH CARRIER STENCIL: Can go as small as 50mm high in all material under 3mm thick for laser stencil cutting

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14.Do You Send A Proof Before Cutting?

We will email you a JPG proof before commencing with cutting of your stencil. Most times this would be a reduced size but it will have the actual stencil dimensions at the bottom of the proof.

This is your chance to edit your proof as much as you like (within reason) until you are happy with it. Please note, proofs are only available with confirmed orders...which means we already have your proof of payment.

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15.How Long Before I Receive My Stencil?

As soon as we have payment for your laser stencil cutting order, we will try and get the proof to you on the same day if possible.This applies to standard decorative and industrial letter stencils only. The more intricate graphic stencils can take a few days more for the programming and any other work involved in setting up for cutting.

Should you have a particular day on which you need to have your stencil ready, just let us know and we will do everything possible to help you.

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16.Do You Offer Shipping Options?

If you are not able to collect your stencils at our address we can arrange to have it couriered via UPS. Their services include Priority overnight, Standard Overnight, 2-day and 3-day. The actual prices for UPS shipping are charged at the official UPS rates which are available at www.ups.com

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17. How Do You Pack The Stencils For Shipping?

For packaging purposes this material needs to stay flat, and for this reason your stencils are shipped between two rigid boards to protect the stencil and keep it flat.

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18. What Is The"Life Span" Of A Stencil?

There is no one answer fits all here. Its kind of like "how long is a piece of string".The most obvious criteria is...

How well the stencil is looked after. This entails cleaning the paint off of your stencil after each use. The main purpose of this is to not allow paint build up around the edges. We know of many customers having used their stencils for hundreds of applications

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19. Do You Give Refunds And Guarantees?

Laser stencil cutting is usually unique and custom made to order. Our first priority is to keep our customers satisfied. With this in mind if it is our mistake we will fix it. If on the other hand the mistake is yours, then if there is anything that we can do to help you get your stencil to do the job it's designed to do, then we will do that with pleasure. Unfortunately we cannot give refunds on completed work for which a proof was signed off.

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20. How Can I Follow The Status Of My Order?

Once your stencil is shipped via UPS their tracking system will keep you up to date on your stencils delivery status. If you are calling at stores to collect, then by all means stay in touch with our production dept for regular updates - we would be happy to keep you informed

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21. What Happens If I Cancel An Order?

The only time you can request a refund for your order is before the actual laser stencil cutting has begun. Occasionally where our programmers time has been used to create your proof, we would ask a small fee for the programming work already completed. Once laser stencil cutting has commenced there has been a considerable amount of time spent in ensuring a successful cut for the customer, not to mention the wasted material.

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22. What Measures Do You Have In Place To Protect Copyright On Artwork?

Whenever an order is placed for laser stencil cutting, or even if you contact us for a quote or have questions, we guarantee that your information will never be given out to anyone. We secure our customers information with the most up to date systems that we can afford and even though we have not had one incident of our security measures being breached, our commitment to improving our security even further, continues.

The responsibility of copyright pertaining to the artwork for laser stencil cutting done on behalf of our customers, remains with the customer. We cannot possibly be aware of the copyright status of every piece of artwork that passes through the service we offer.

Make sure that the intended application for your stencil is such that you will not be infringing on the original artists copyrights.

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23. Do You Offer Various Options For Me To Submit My Graphic?

There are many ways that we can accept a graphic from you for laser cutting stencils. For your own sake and the sake of your "pocket" keep in mind that a top quality graphic requires far less re-working by us which ends up costing you less.

Our file of choice to work with is a Vector File. For more detailed information on working with files for laser stencil cutting, see our section on File Preoperation. In short however, DXF files and DWG files work well for us.

If you are not able to use these files then we are able to work with BMP, and TIFF files. Because these files tend to be rather large you would do well to convert them to black and white and save them at maximum 300 DPI.

JPG and Giff files work, as long as they are a high enough resolution. When our customers copy files from a web page saving them as JPG or GIF files, they are often too low in resolution. This means that we battle trying to convert them.

Word DOC files can be of any quality, so we have to check the quality to be sure we can work with them

Faxing us Artwork

Faxing us images is great for us to prepare a quote for you, however to make your stencil from this artwork gives us great grief. The fuzzy and unclear lines are not condusive to producing a quality stencil and the re-working we have to do becomes quite pricey for you.

When you fax your graphic in order to receive a quote, let us know which other type of files you will be sending when you give us the order.

Snail Mail

Should you opt for mailing us a copy of the graphic or artwork, we will check it out and put our best foot forward as far as a quote is concerned. For laser stencil cuttng always try to use a thin black line on tracing sheet or white paper. Koki marker pens and pencil do not work well and please don't use lined graph paper.

As obvious as this sounds we still get artwork from time to time with no contact details. Please be sure to include your name, your day time contact number, your mobile phone number and your email address with the artwork. (Please ensure it is legible)

Feel free to contact us if you have any queries pertaining to file preperation of your graphic files for laser stencil cutting

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We do laser stencil cutting and we do this from the artwork supplied by our customers. We are by no means 'Graphic Designers' and we do not offer a service of searching for suitable graphics for your stencil cutting requirements

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25. Do You Have Adhesive Stencils?

Adhesive stencils have a limited life, and therefore we do not stock them. Most of our customers use re-positional adhesive which you can get from any craft shop and many hardware stores. It is ideal to use with our stencils due to the fact that it can be completely removed from the stencil afterwards.

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Metals Centre
18 John St
Unit C1, John st Warehouse
Selby ext. 11
2001
Gauteng
South Africa

Phone-In Orders Welcome!
Ph: 27-ll-493-4930
Fax: 27-ll-493-4941