boji

Faceplates in Eagle
« on: June 24, 2018, 10:06:46 PM »
Hello.
Curious to hear if anyone has tried to export eagle files as DXF, or some such export method that other people can use to generate their gcodes, or whatever format that allows the milling / plasma cutting of faceplates.
Thanks!


ruffrecords

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2018, 03:07:30 AM »
I have not tried this but the usual drilling layer Gerber file is basically a bunch of gcodes if you look at it with a text editor.

I did try a cheap way of making panels using aluminium PCBs. These are intended for SMT boards where the chips need to dissipate some power. They typically consist of a 2mm layer of aluminium topped with a thin layer of FR4 topped with copper, solder resist and silk screen. To make a panel you have no tracks at all. Just place holes where you need them and label the controls using the silk screen layer. Make sure you choose a solder mast colour that contrasts with the silk screen. I used black solder resist and white silk screen.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

abbey road d enfer

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2018, 09:28:48 AM »
Curious to hear if anyone has tried to export eagle files as DXF, or some such export method that other people can use to generate their gcodes, or whatever format that allows the milling / plasma cutting of faceplates.
I do that, as it allows locating the PCB and its components in the metalwork. However, since the PCB plan is othogonal with the front panel, you still have to work out the height, and it results in a basic sketch of the metalwork.
I import that into Draftsight, which has much more capabilities rearding the lettering than Eagle.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

boji

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2018, 02:36:47 AM »
Thanks gents!

I did notice that the fab house vectorizes which looks bad compared to proportional font. That and you have only one choice. :/

I'll keep on truckin in Eagle then for milling, arcs and scales, and export to a draftsight variant for better looking fonts.

As an aside,  I calculated costs using front panel express, and it was well over $2k for 32 plates, not including any 500 slot stuff.
This has me instead wanting to use a local guy for the cutting and then get a cheap laser cnc and do the artwork with cermark.

Not sure yet how to get the engraving to stand out if I first powdercoat the milled faceplates. I hope I can ablate the surface with a first pass, then add the cermark, then second pass the color over the exposed aluminum.


12afael

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2018, 03:25:48 AM »
some pcb manufacturers can do Aluminium pcbs. it can be a cheap alternative. you could even solder the leds in the front  :D
heavy metal is the law!!!

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2018, 07:56:44 PM »
Pcbway lets you do plain Alu boards with a silkscreen so you just import your graphics to the silkscreen layer.

john12ax7

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2018, 11:24:36 PM »
How big panels are you doing? Once you get to 25-50 pcs doing powder coat and silk screen becomes more reasonable economically.

boji

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2018, 01:49:39 AM »
Quote
How big panels are you doing?

Also I welcome modification suggestions!


abbey road d enfer

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2018, 02:07:11 AM »
How big panels are you doing? Once you get to 25-50 pcs doing powder coat and silk screen becomes more reasonable economically.
The problem is generally not the channels, which are in sufficient quantities. One must accept to pay the same set-up charges for one single Master module than for 32 or 40 channels.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

john12ax7

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2018, 03:20:23 AM »
The problem is generally not the channels, which are in sufficient quantities. One must accept to pay the same set-up charges for one single Master module than for 32 or 40 channels.

Yes,  getting one of something always ends up a lot, not much way around it.

But I was thinking for the 32 quantity, with 1.5x10.5" size somewhere around $15-20 per unit  should be doable.


boji

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2018, 04:05:50 AM »
"somewhere around $15-20 per unit  should be doable."
 :o Where? Certainly not FPE.

john12ax7

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2018, 04:17:34 AM »
"somewhere around $15-20 per unit  should be doable."
 :o Where? Certainly not FPE.

If you go to a sheet metal shop that handles powder coating and silkscreening.  You should be able to find one locally.

FPE does engraving and infill, which is a more expensive process. A good option for small quantities, but not that cost effective when you need more than a few.

ruffrecords

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2018, 04:30:32 AM »
"somewhere around $15-20 per unit  should be doable."
 :o Where? Certainly not FPE.

Looking at your panel I can see a couple of options for reducing cost. The first is to convert all the graphics to a single hpgl file. This will be much  cheaper than all the individual items in the .fpe design. The other alternative is to try their new image printing option.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

abbey road d enfer

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2018, 07:10:55 AM »
Looking at your panel I can see a couple of options for reducing cost. The first is to convert all the graphics to a single hpgl file.
I don't get it; do you mean for engraving or silk-screening? Silk-screening, even with the cost of the film and screen, is generally very competitive with mech engraving, unless one choses restricting to elementary graphics.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

ruffrecords

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2018, 11:46:00 AM »
I don't get it; do you mean for engraving or silk-screening? Silk-screening, even with the cost of the film and screen, is generally very competitive with mech engraving, unless one choses restricting to elementary graphics.

I meant engraving.

Silk screen is definitely more expensive for small quantities.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

boji

Re: Faceplates in Eagle
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2018, 12:25:03 PM »
Quote
"If you go to a sheet metal shop that handles powder coating and silkscreening.  You should be able to find one locally. "
Ah yes, thanks. I have tried a local guy (his shop is a slice of heaven) but he is very busy with medical-grade, very large part orders. 

Quote
"The first is to convert all the graphics to a single hpgl file"
Ok cool. I think I get it..  export engravings from say Eagle, and then import it back into FPE software. I'll try that and recalculate.


 

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