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Front panel fabrication - low cost shops

AnalogKid

Jun 10, 2015
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Back when I was actually paid to sit on my butt in front of a computer for much of the day, I had a 40,000 sqft metal shop underneath my office. They were magicians, and I am permanently spoiled. I can do good enough panel work, but it is tedious.

There have been several threads about low cost pcb fab shops. This question is about sheet metal shops. I have a variety of small and medium sized enclosures, and want to know if there is a pcb-equivalent for sheet metal. I'm after a semi-pro look for hobby projects. Very small lots, don't care about delivery delays, prefer low cost. There are places in town that can do this, but the costs are way high.

One option I have considered is having a pcb shop make the panels out of FR-4, but I'd like to stick with aluminum.
Thanks.

ak
 

Delta Prime

Jul 29, 2020
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Sometimes PCB Fab shops also make PCB enclosures.
May I ask?
Do you have a 3D CAD file?
I've used these guys once 5 years ago
I'm with you on the semi-pro stuff I believe in form fit and function is always a priority.
Enjoy the rest of the evening sir.
 

Harald Kapp

Moderator
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Nov 17, 2011
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G...e turns up lots of shops that manufacture pront panels in different materials (alu, plastic). The do the mechanical work as well as the printing. The ones I am shown are, obviously, in Germany, I doubt that's where you'd want to buy. Shipment would be excessive. But I'm confident an equivalent serarch in your area should turn up at least a few offerings.

Here's an example of a free front panel designer from Schaeffer-AG. I don't know whether the software allows exporting or whether it is bound to the manufacturer. In any case it may help you design an aestetically pleasing front panel.
 

stevediaz

Jan 16, 2024
2
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Jan 16, 2024
Messages
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Back when I was actually paid to sit on my butt in front of a computer for much of the day, I had a 40,000 sqft metal shop underneath my office. They were magicians, and I am permanently spoiled. I can do good enough panel work, but it is tedious.

There have been several threads about low cost pcb fab shops. This question is about sheet metal shops. I have a variety of small and medium sized enclosures, and want to know if there is a pcb-equivalent for sheet metal. I'm after a semi-pro look for hobby projects. Very small lots, don't care about delivery delays, prefer low cost. There are places in town that can do this, but the costs are way high.

One option I have considered is having a pcb shop make the panels out of FR-4, but I'd like to stick with aluminum.
Thanks.
For cost-effective custom sheet metal fabrication with a semi-professional finish in small quantities:

  1. Protocase: Offers online design tools, quoting, and caters to small quantities.
  2. SendCutSend: Specializes in laser cutting and provides instant online quotes.
  3. Xometry: Connects you with various manufacturing services, including sheet metal fabrication.
  4. Ponoko: Offers aluminum sheet metal cutting as part of its digital manufacturing services.
  5. Big Blue Saw: Provides online quoting for waterjet and laser cutting, suitable for small quantities.
Upload your design, get quotes, and choose materials. Stick with aluminum for a semi-pro look in small lots.

Moderetors note: removed unwanted link
 
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