I am making a Nemo sign for class. Im sharing how to do what i did to this community. You don't need to follow the design but these are basic steps towards your final goal.
Step 1: Design
So to start we need to design our sign in inventor. If you want to draw it first go ahead but i find it easier to go straight into inventor. If you don't have inventor use whatever 3D programming/CAD application you have. you can use whatever design you desire.
Step 2: File Transfer
After we finish our design in your CAD program, then you must make the file a DXF. In order to do that you must first transfer the file into a IDW. Since i use inventor i will explain how to do this on inventor. From the screen you are on with your design select click the drop down menu in the top left corner (the big I). Then select new drawing , from there just input your part and save the file now you have an IDW. From the IDW menu you can select SAVE, then SAVE AS, SAVE AS DXF. then you are ready for the next step.
Step 3: Plasma Cut
Once you have your DXF put that file on a flash drive and load the file up in Plasma.cam. Be sure to load the correct type of metal onto the plasma cutter. Then use the program to move the gantry to a spot where you have space to cut. Connect all geometry and select cut points. Once done highlight and initialize the program. Dont look into the sparks and wait for the machine to be done. Clean up any splatter that is left on the sign and wait for it to cool down before moving on.
Step 4: Painting
The final step to complete our sign is to paint it. You can paint all of it or none, however much you paint is up to you. I painted my fish the colors of a clown fish to represent NEMO. I used orange black and white spray paint. Tape over which ever part you don't want to get paint on. Once the paint dries you are down and ready to hang it up.
Step 5: Vinyl
For the part you need to think of a word or phrase to cut out. I am going to cut the letters N E M O. So load the vinyl onto the vinyl cutter and clamp it into place. Turn on the machine and click setup, then click roll. The machine will move and measure the diameter of the roll. Confirm the correct measurement and run the program from the computer. Once the program is down hit "sheet cut" and take your vinyl. Youll need to peel and stick on the vinyl where ever you choose.