Solid surface material has always worked well for lettering. It makes good use of scraps and it is fun. Fiddling is therapeutic. I have some signs to make for a dentist office and I sent a bunch of DXF drawings to my CNC jobber for a quote. OUCH. It seems he anticipates difficulties with the hold-down of the smaller letters whilst routing through 1/2" of acrylic. To make a long story short. he wants too much money and can't guarantee results. I have worked with this guy for years and trust he's being up front with me.
I can buy a reasonable band-saw, cut the letters myself and still make out okay on the money side. I have Googled and Googled and there seems to be a variety of 14" units which will be fine.
I understand that the Delta, Powermatic and General will all take the Carter guides and run bi-metal blades at lower speeds. I have done this type of thing (on an old 3-wheel 16" Delta) in the past so I know 1 HP is adequate for my application. Budget is between 500 and 700 Can$ (350-500US$) plus the guides.
Here's my request: Am I missing a brand I could be looking at? Are the Carter guides really that good? Or are some standard guides good enough for now? Do I buy a fence with the saw or hold off till I can afford an after market/better fence? I have no intentions to get into ripping. Dust control is important. We have a brand here called King... worth looking at?
Thank you fine gents in advance, I remain