GATORFOAM® Help CSI Printing & Graphics Sprout Intricately Routed Tree Display

Gatorfoam_CSI_tree1_CropWebComposition Systems Inc. (CSI), of Falls Church, Va., has made a name for itself as a full-service digital print provider serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, Virginia and Maryland as well as national accounts during the past 30-plus years in business. As a printing and graphics firm, CSI offers a variety of printing services from offset printing to super-wide grand format printing to produce exhibits and displays, interior and exterior signage, banners, and vehicle graphics on a wide range of output materials.

When it comes to creating stand-up displays, CSI turns to durable-yet-lightweight Gatorfoam® graphic display board by 3A Composites USA. Gatorfoam was CSI’s substrate of choice when it recently created a unique stand-up display to promote its own services at a company open house.

(Gatorfoam consists of polystyrene foam bonded between two layers of wood-fiber veneer laminate. This unique construction makes Gatorfoam rigid yet lightweight and warp-resistant; its surface also is exceptionally smooth and strong, offering superior dent- and scratch-resistance.)

To illustrate environmentally friendly materials in a “green” corner at the open house, CSI graphic designer Eric Seffinga created a nearly 8-foot-tall stand-up display depicting a tree sporting just one green leaf amid a series of twisting brown branches. The intricate design – created in Adobe Illustrator CS – offered CSI employees the opportunity to test cutting Gatorfoam with an Esko Kongsberg i-IXL24 router.

“Our in-house designer created this incredibly ornate tree,” said Rob Harris, partner, CSI. “We wanted to see if we could route it on Gatorfoam.”

CSI used the company’s Inca Onset S70 UV flatbed to direct-print the tree image onto a 48-inch by 96-inch sheet of ½-inch thick Gatorfoam featuring a black foam core bonded between one bright white facer and one black facer. CSI employees fed a vector file into the router to cut the tree pattern. Two trees were cut in a process that took more than four hours (two hours per tree) to complete.

Gatorfoam_CSI_tree2_CropWeb“We gained even more confidence in the material and the router,” said Harris. “I don’t think anything routes like Gatorfoam. It’s very easy to cut and the ½-inch thickness is very sturdy. I don’t think we’d use anything else for a stand-up display.”

Harris said CSI uses Gatorfoam to create stand-up displays for retail locations, trade shows and associations. Harbor Sales Co., a 3A Composites USA distributor based in Sudlersville, Md., supplies Gatorfoam to CSI.

“The ½-inch Gatorfoam is a more durable option for stand-ups and cut-outs that are moved around a lot for photos and other uses,” said Harris. “Gatorfoam is a great substrate for any number of purposes. It worked very well for this unique tree application.”

For more information about CSI Printing & Graphics, visit

For more information about Harbor Sales, visit

(Photos courtesy Beauvais Marketing LLC)