Everything You Wanted to Know (or Not) About 3D Sign Making in Australia


Read all about it! Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard talk about 3D printing in recent years. (You might have even thought—what the heck?!)

As one of our most favourite mediums to work with here in the Printerra shop, we thought it high time that we lay some ground rules as to what this innovative technology is, isn’t, and how it can transform the traditional print and sign making industries around Australia.

Have you thought about crafting a custom-made project for your next corporate event, pop-up shop, or film production? Read on to learn more about how technology can be leveraged to help create an almost hand-made masterpiece.

Traditional Sign Making in Australia

First things first—you should know that the Printerra team got into custom sign-making after working in the advertising industry for over 10 years and found it boring. What we wanted to do was pursue a traditional art form that involved printing, custom sign making, and a trade—what we got was mass manufacturing, heavy production waste, and boring duplicates of the same old sign.

Enter 3D printing.

Because tradition has trumped innovation in the advertising and custom printing industries worldwide over the last several decades, we didn’t see a lot of movement or uptake of technologies that could blend the old with the new. What we mean by that is:

  • Respecting the art form, design, and dedicated work that goes into sign making
  • Leveraging the best parts of technology to increase production efficiencies, reduce costs, and create unique designs that could only be pieced together using tech

Now that Printerra is using leading 3D printing equipment in the manufacturing and production methods of most of our signs, we’re in the position to break away from the mould and do exactly these things.

So what is 3D printing and how do we use it everyday? Read on.

Embracing Technology: How 3D Printing is Used in Sign Making

Not that we’re a stickler for trends, the Printerra team does believe in investing in technology, processes, and systems that can help us achieve our values. These include:

  • Efficiency
  • Creativity
  • Sustainability

For those new to the 3D printing world, a basic overview of the process looks like this:

  1. You invest in the equipment: Printerra uses an Original Prusa i3 MK3 printer in our studio. Designed by Prusa, this industry leading company crafts and produces their own line of top quality printers for those leading the charge.
  2. You use Computer-Assisted-Design (CAD) software to draft the project. This includes colour coding, material selection, and a mockup of the final product. Because the CAD software is intrinsically linked with the printer, you can create high quality prototypes before moving forward to final production.
  3. You print the project. This is where the real magic comes in. 3D printing is the process of ‘building’ a three-dimensional object, sign, and product layer by layer. Similar to building a pyramid layer-by-layer from the ground up, the Original Prusa i3 MK3 lays fine layers of the selected material slab after slab to ‘build’ the sign.

See? We like the analogy of 3D printing being compared to a loaf of bread. Instead of baking a loaf and slicing it into pieces, 3D printing collects all of the slices, places them one on top of the other, and builds the loaf from scratch.

What 3D Printing Means for Sign Making in Australia

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s good to know what some of the benefits are for opting to use a 3D printing team for your next project. Among the many, our favourites are: 

  • Waste Reduction: The materials needed for the final product are the materials produced. No excess needs to be cut away or filtered because the CAD software knows exactly what is required to manufacture the mockup.
  • Precision: The room for human error is significantly minimised when leveraging technology—fact. Further, software printing allows for infinitely finer layers of material to be laid—meaning more precision within every layer to exact measurements and needs.
  • Efficiency: The time required (if possible) to handcraft a 3D printed piece to the exact revision and specifications by hand would be endless. Not exactly endless—but it would take a very, very long time.
  • Creativity: With completely custom colouring, material selection, and a three-dimension build, signs can be created on-brand and unique to your business, brand, or event. Need a sustainably made project? No problem. Need an obscure Pantone Matching System (PMS) colour code? We got you.

3D Printing, Press Printing, and Sydney Sign Makers

This is a very brief summary of what 3D Printing is and what it can do for sign makers, customers, and the advertising industry. A much more in-depth conversation that we’ll dive into at another time (if you’re so inclined), we hope you can see how taking the best of traditional, creative sign making methods and pairing it with technology to reduce waste and lower costs is the best outcome for everyone.

Wondering what happens next? Contact our team. We’re a friendly group of sign-makers based out of Sydney, Australia who say yes to almost every custom-build request—

Unless it’s boring. We don’t do boring.

(Contact our Customer Happiness team today to get a quote or check the timeline on a potential project turnaround.)

February 18, 2022