Front panel online design and order

Thread Starter

popcalent

Joined Mar 17, 2018
126
Are there any websites where you can design a front panel online and then order it? I've seen a couple of websites, but they require you to download their software. I'm talking about something like PCB Way, where you do everything online, but for front panels instead of PCBs. Thanks!
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,697
What kind of front panel,? What I used to do was draw the panel design up on a drawing package such as AutoCad, then have the panel reverse engraved at a local lamacoid shop.
The front remains perfectly smooth and different colours can be selected for the reverse sprayed engraving.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Thread Starter

popcalent

Joined Mar 17, 2018
126
What kind of front panel,? What I used to do was draw the panel design up on a drawing package such as AutoCad, then have the panel reverse engraved at a local lamoid shop.
The front remains perfectly smooth and different colours can be selected for the reverse sprayed engraving.
I've seen people on youtube who designed the panel and ordered it from China, 10 pieces for cheap. Just like PCB Way, but panels. It's much cheaper than taking it to the local shop. In my case, I need my panel to have some DB connectors and stuff that isn't round. Otherwise, I would just drill some holes on a metal plate. Also, you can put text, pictures, symbols indicating what everything is, etc.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,697
Are these engraved? Or just printed/plated on the front?
The ones I show are for industrial machine use and do never wear off, due to being reverse engraved.
 

Thread Starter

popcalent

Joined Mar 17, 2018
126
Are these engraved? Or just printed/plated on the front?
The ones I show are for industrial machine use and do never wear off, due to being reverse engraved.
They are not engraved. As I said, they're are cheap, and you get ten for a few bucks, and they come from China... But no matter how low the quality is, you get 10... I hope I won't need to replace the panel 10 times in my lifetime.

I found this website: https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/ but they want you to download their software and do it on your computer and I don't know how much they charge since they give you a quote based on what you want.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,835
Why don't you just design it on Kicad (or whatever you use) and have it made as an aluminium pcb with no tracks?
The solder resist is the background colour, and the legend is the artwork.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
7,905
What ever happened to pencil and paper? I STILL do paper work. Once I have a final plan I'll do it up on a program that can do the work. Of course I have the machines for it. Not everyone does, but if you have a well drawn detailed print you can probably take a picture of that and send it to someone you want to construct your panel.

Are you just wanting the panel face? Or do you want it a complete panel?
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
1,053
You can use a pcb as a front panel. The results can be excellent.

Most fab houses have some way to indicate where the board number will go, or to even leave it off. Make sure to look for this detail.

20230605_182030.jpg

20230605_151051.jpg
 

Thread Starter

popcalent

Joined Mar 17, 2018
126
You can use a pcb as a front panel. The results can be excellent.

Most fab houses have some way to indicate where the board number will go, or to even leave it off. Make sure to look for this detail.
I thought about that. I usually use easyEDA, but I don't know if it's possible to put DB holes on the PCB (id. DB-25, DB-9, etc.), which I need on my panel.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,170
I also vote for using your PCB fabricator to make panels. You can make panels that don’t look like PCBs at all if you are clever with the choice of materials and masking.

As @Ian0 pointed out, you can even use aluminum. The silkscreen is all you need for lables, and if you want seriously permanent labels you can make them plated traces.
 

Thread Starter

popcalent

Joined Mar 17, 2018
126
Why don't you just design it on Kicad (or whatever you use) and have it made as an aluminium pcb with no tracks?
The solder resist is the background colour, and the legend is the artwork.
I use easyEDA. I'm not sure if it's possible to put DB-25 and DB-9 holes in it (that is without me designing them).
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
1,053
EasyEDA will work perfectly to do what you ask. That's how I made the black panel.

Search EasyEDA & internal routing/milling or panel cutouts. You'll probably have to draw the cutouts yourself.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,170
Here is a drawing of an L-Com product that mounts two DB9 connectors. Note the simplified outline. That should make doing it much easier, and of course you just have to increase the length for a DB25. By avoiding the asymmetrical D shape, things get far simpler and even orientation (right side up or upside down) is not an issue,

IMG_1808.jpeg
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,697
Have you checked to see if there is a Lamacoid engraver in your area that can do it?
Takes them just a few minutes on a CNC engraver.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,835
I also vote for using your PCB fabricator to make panels. You can make panels that don’t look like PCBs at all if you are clever with the choice of materials and masking.

As @Ian0 pointed out, you can even use aluminum. The silkscreen is all you need for lables, and if you want seriously permanent labels you can make them plated traces.
All pcb does aluminium boards up to 2.4mm thick. That’s a substantial panel! 3mm is enough to mount an amplifier with a 500VA transformer n a 19” rack.
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
1,053
If you search for DB9 AND DB25 cutout FOOTPRINTS under user-contributed parts, you'll find these two.

Verify measurements! You may want to edit them, but it's a starting point. The layer called "multilayer" is a hole through the board.


20240221_080333.jpg20240221_080341.jpg
 

Thread Starter

popcalent

Joined Mar 17, 2018
126
If you search for DB9 AND DB25 cutout FOOTPRINTS under user-contributed parts, you'll find these two.
Awesome! This will save a lot of time. Can you give me the exact name of the DB25? I found the DB9, but went through every result of DB25 cutout under user-contributed parts, and was unable to find it.

Verify measurements! You may want to edit them, but it's a starting point. The layer called "multilayer" is a hole through the board.
Yes, usually what I do in these cases is print it at scale 1:1 and verify against the actual components.

Thanks!
 

Jon Chandler

Joined Jun 12, 2008
1,053
Here's a secret. It will take you a few minutes to learn how to draw symbols and footprints, and a few minutes to create one when you need it. Or you can spends hours looking for one somebody else created....which may not really be what you want, but "it's close enough."

EASYEDA DB CUTOUTS.png
 
Top