We can also machine your own material, semi-finished or finished parts. For these orders too, you can work in Front Panel Designer as normal. What you need to bear in mind when supplying your own material and how to use the software in this respect is explained here.
- We can machine all the materials listed under Material.
- We cannot machine steel and elastomers.
- Please get in touch if you cannot precisely categorise your material. We’ll be happy to try out machining for you.
Clampability and machinability
- PanelsThe same geometrical restrictions apply to supplied panels as to our own panel material (see the relevant tables in Online Help, e.g., for Aluminium and Brass).
- Semi-finished and finished partsWe can machine differently shaped workpieces, provided their geometry permits handling in our CNC machines. Clampability and machinability can be confirmed using a technical drawing or sample. Send your enquiry including technical drawings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to use Front Panel Designer
- Select the ‘Use customer provided material’ checkbox in the ‘Front panel properties’ dialog box.Please note: If this checkbox is selected, we will wait for you to provide your material. If the checkbox is unchecked, the order would automatically be processed using the selected panel material.
- Please describe the source material in the ‘Remarks for production’ field in the ‘Front panel properties’ dialog box, regardless of whether it is included in the dropdown list for the material or not.
- If cut-outs or through holes are to be made in areas of your material with different thicknesses, please use the largest thickness present for the main panel.
- Only include those elements in the FPD file that are still to be produced. If system holes are already present in a panel, for example, these should not be included in the .fpd file (or, if need be, should be included as non-produced elements).
- The external dimensions in the FPD file must be identical to those of the supplied material. (For non-rectangular panels this applies to the bounding rectangle).
The process for supplying your own material:
- So that we know exactly how the panel is to be clamped on the machine, please mark the lower left corner of the material you supply (e.g., with a sticker). In the event that individual dimensions or the zero point deviate from the FPD file, please indicate this on the material you supply or in some other way.
- You can send the material to us by post (also UPS, FedEx, etc.) Please include our reference number on your delivery note. You will receive this as soon as you have placed your order.
- As soon as we receive your material, you will receive the order confirmation and we will start production.
Customer-supplied material that still has to be cut by us (‘customer blank’):
If you supply material and the dimensions/shape of the material are not the same as the end product, please proceed as follows:
- In this case, DO NOT select the ‘Use customer provided material’ checkbox.
- Depending on whether the panel material is included in the material selection available in Front Panel Designer or not, select the right material or leave the standard settings as they are.
- Indicate in the ‘Remarks for production’ field that you are supplying the material and the material concerned. Material costs are indicated in the price calculation in Front Panel Designer, but are not, of course, included in the quote.
- Important: To ensure clampability, the panel must be at least 30 mm larger than the final blank in the x and y direction.
END FACE MACHINING
We can also machine the end faces of your front panel. Use this option to position tapped blind holes and other milled elements on the front panel faces.
End face files
- Create an additional file for each end face to be machined, containing a top view of the face concerned. For the width and height, enter the actual dimensions of the end face. Leave the standard settings for the material. For the thickness, simply select the largest possible material thickness (10 mm).Important: Select the ‘Customer-supplied material’ checkbox to prevent material costs being included again in the price calculation for the end face file. Please indicate which end face is concerned in the ‘Remarks for production’ field. For example: ‘Right end face of file XXX’.
- Position the elements you would like on the front panel.Tip for orienting the end face file: Draw the top view of the end face. In other words, for example: If the lower end face of the front panel is to be machined, the upper edge of the end face file is the lower edge of the front panel file, etc. To avoid misunderstandings, you can also attach a sketch to your order.
There should be at least 1 mm of material left around a blind hole. For example, to produce M2 tapped blind holes, the main panel should therefore be at least 4 mm thick.
Please remember that no drill holes can be made in the vicinity of corner radii.
After production, the outer edges (end faces) of the front plate may have traces of machining e.g., milling marks. We therefore offer the service of sanding the outer edge of your front panel. As a result, all traces of machining are eradicated and the edge appears matt (similar to natural anodised).
- Rectangular panelsIn the ‘Front panel properties’ window (Ctrl + F), select the ‘Edge sanding’ checkbox. The price will be shown in the price calculation in Front Panel Designer.
- Elliptical panels or panels with DXF outer contourIn the ‘Remarks for production’ field of the ‘Front panel properties’ window (Ctrl + F), enter the text ‘Edge sanding’. As the costs depend upon the work involved in these cases and are determined separately by us, the price calculation in Front Panel Designer remains incomplete. The cost will be indicated on request or in the quote/order confirmation.
We can also bend your front panel. The additional charge for this service will be indicated on request and in the quote.
- Create the front panel file to order the panel that is to be bent. You don’t need to include the bend allowance in your calculations – we’ll do that for you.
- Important: Please write ‘Bend as per drawing’ in the ‘Remarks for production’ field.
- Send us a sketch of the bend showing the following:
- Bending radius
- Bending angle
- Leg lengths
Please note the following requirements:
- The bending radius cannot be smaller than the material thickness
- Legs must be at least 10 mm long
- Milled elements should be positioned at least 10 mm away from the bending edge.
If you are unable to comply with these parameters, feel free to contact us. We’ll check whether your design preferences are feasible. Please also note: The anodised coat may become scratched on the outside of the bend.
Because we process the panels in an already anodised state, the outer edges and any other milled edges of your front panel are blank, i.e., untreated. If you would like to have anodised edges, we can subsequently anodise your front panel. This service is available for anodised and cast aluminium.
The surcharge of subsequent anodising is not shown in the price calculation in the software. Please contact us at email@example.com to enquire about the prices charged, modified delivery times and possible constraints on design quality.
How to use Front Panel Designer
- Select ‘Anodised aluminium’ as the material and the colour you would like as the colour.
- In the ‘Remarks for production’ field, indicate ‘subsequent anodising’ and the colour you would like again (e.g., ‘Subsequent anodising, black’).
If you would like a material, powder coating or engraving colour not listed in Front Panel Designer, just let us know in your front panel file.
- Material: Leave the standard settings for the material in the FPD file (anodised aluminium, natural colour). Write the material you would like in the ‘Remarks for production’ field.
- Powder coating: Select ‘Powder-coated aluminium’ as the material. Select any colour as the colour. Then write the colour you would like and any gloss level and structure in the ‘Remarks for production’ field.
- In-fill colour: Select any colour as the engraving colour (in the properties window of the respect engraving element). Please explain in the ‘Remarks for production’ field (in the properties window for the front panel) which colour is to be ordered and used for which engraving.
The price calculation in Front Panel Designer remains incomplete in this case. The cost for the material and for procuring it will be indicated on request or in the quote/order confirmation. Procurement costs can also be found under Prices & service.
Using the text engraving feature in Front Panel Designer, you can also mark a series of front panels with consecutive serial numbers.
- Add the first serial number as a text engraving to the front panel in the relevant place.Please note: If the serial number is to be printed, rather than engraved, select the ‘Always print this element’ option in the Text Engraving dialog box under ‘Print/In-fill’.
- In the ‘Remarks for production’ field of the ‘Front panel properties’ dialog box (Ctrl + F), enter the text ‘Please produce with serial number from ... to ...’
Non-produced elements & object IDs
In Front Panel Designer you can position non-produced elements and assign object IDs. You can use these functions, for example, to add comments, markings or information about assembly elements; to show outlines of adjacent parts; to position guide lines; for documentation purposes; or to provide an overview of a number of milled elements.
To indicate that an element is a non-produced element, simply use the named elements (milled objects, engraving elements, graphic files) and select the ‘Do not produce object’ checkbox in the respective properties dialog box. The elements in question are shown in blue in the drawing and are not included in production or in the price calculation.
To assign an object ID to an element, highlight the element on the front panel and enter the corresponding text in the ‘Object ID’ field in the ‘Element properties’ area (if this is not displayed: View > Element properties). The object ID is used particularly in the Scripting to clearly identify elements.
Please use these options in the first instance for notes that you need yourself. Instructions directed at our production team should be entered in the ‘Remarks for production’ field.
Using Front Panel Designer you can create sections for displays including matching acrylic panels. Suitable adhesive can also be provided.
We recommend inserting the acrylic panel flush into the front panel and providing around it an adhesive area of 2 mm. Clearance of 0.2 mm should be left between the acrylic panel and window openings.
Here’s an example for a display window with an inserted acrylic panel measuring 60 mm x 25 mm:
- Create a front panel with a material thickness of 2 mm.
- Insert a rectangular cut-out in the front panel:Width: 60 mmHeight: 25 mmCorner radius: 1 mm
- Insert a cavity:Insertion point: centre of the cut-out just createdShape: Rectangle in rectanglePlace on reverse side: YesWidth: 64 mmHeight: 29 mmDepth: 1 mmCorner radius: 1.5 mmWidth of inner surface: 56 mmHeight of inner surface: 21 mm
- Now create an additional front panel file:Width: 63.3 mmHeight: 28.6 mmThickness: 2 mmMaterial: acrylic (clear or red depending on application)Corner radius: 1.3 mm
- Insert a cavity:Insertion point: centre of front panelShape: Rectangle in rectanglePlace on reverse side: NoWidth: 66.6 mmHeight: 31.6 mmDepth: 1 mmCorner radius: 1.8 mmWidth of inner surface: 59.6 mmHeight of inner surface: 24.6 mmCorner radius of inner surface: 0.8 mm
Order both files (in Front Panel Designer: Order > Order all open front panels). You can directly add to your order the adhesive for inserting the display (in the ordering program: Search for items > Category: Miscellaneous > List items; in the webshop: Accessories > Miscellaneous).