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TOPIC: Draw2CNC machining service

Draw2CNC machining service 3 years 11 months ago #17208

  • parodi
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There's a new service available to manufacture CNC parts. Same design philosophy as ExpressPCB or PanelExpress, but for CNC'd parts: you can download a freeware simple CAD tool, draw what you want, order it, and receive it in a few days. Check it out...

http://www.draw2cnc.com/

There's sample pictures there of ruggedized enclosures for the Raspberry Pi and others made with this service.
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Draw2CNC machining service 3 years 11 months ago #17211

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Has anybody here used this service? How does it stack up against other services like this in the market? I am real interested in this because I want to create custom aluminum cases for my home automation devices, but especially a piece of hardware I need for my desktop PC. I now have 4 SSD drives in it but no practical way to mount them. If I can create a mounting block that holds say 6 SSD's and then mount it in a drive bay, that would be awesome!

Draw2CNC machining service 3 years 11 months ago #17212

  • Jon Chandler
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I did look at FrontPanelExpress for aluminum panels for my FAA project when the FAA's internal group failed to deliver as promised. Their software is easy to use with many options (for example, do you want openings cut before painting (for surfaces that show) or after painting (for holes that need a tight fit). The down side for my project was paying a premium for repeat small orders (quantity 10) compared to larger orders. When I wasn't sure that an order for 10 units wouldn't be the last order ever, I couldn't get an affordable price.

I'd suggest downloading their software, designing what you need and see if the cost is worth it for you. Looks like these guys might be geared more towards the one-off market. Keep in mind the options – a bracket of folded metal vs. a machined bracket or maybe even a laser-cut acrylic bracket.
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Draw2CNC machining service 3 years 11 months ago #17213

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Jon Chandler wrote:
I did look at FrontPanelExpress for aluminum panels for my FAA project when the FAA's internal group failed to deliver as promised. Their software is easy to use with many options (for example, do you want openings cut before painting (for surfaces that show) or after painting (for holes that need a tight fit). The down side for my project was paying a premium for repeat small orders (quantity 10) compared to larger orders. When I wasn't sure that an order for 10 units wouldn't be the last order ever, I couldn't get an affordable price.

I'd suggest downloading their software, designing what you need and see if the cost is worth it for you. Looks like these guys might be geared more towards the one-off market. Keep in mind the options – a bracket of folded metal vs. a machined bracket or maybe even a laser-cut acrylic bracket.

OK Jon thank you. That's my caveat... not knowing anything about the product or industry. I'm not going to pay $40 for a case that's for sure, and if one-off suppliers can get it down to a reasonable price, like say... an aluminum case for $2.50 and multiply it up say 4... so $10.00, I'm biting. If not, then well, I guess my dremel tool and hard work will have to do.

Draw2CNC machining service 3 years 11 months ago #17214

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I have used FrontPanelExpress for several projects. It's a great service. They have the same philosophy as ExpressPCB but for a different industry, one is for machined panels, the other for PCBs. In both cases it lowers the cost immensely when compared to traditional ways... Normally, you would need a CAD tool for designing a PCB or a metal panel (cost), know how to use it (time), and contact a shop which normally requires that you modify the design to their manufacturing capabilities (time), and require that you commit to a large order (cost). Yet FrontPanelExpress, or ExpressPCB give you a very simple, free, CAD tool which, although limited, is very simple to use, and orders can be placed for low volumes without requiring large setup costs. Both companies can do this because the designs are not completely custom; they comply with the rules inherent to the free CAD tool.

Draw2CNC implements the same philosophy, but for 3D CNC'd parts. I created Draw2CNC because I needed such a service in prior projects, where the setup or commitment cost of working with traditional CNC shops was unacceptable, and found no such service available. Just for reference, the anodized aluminum enclosure (roughly 4" x 3" x 2") that I needed in my last project was quoted by multiple shops in US, Germany, and UK, and all coincided in requiring a minimum order of 100 units, 8 weeks of lead time for the first one, and a cost per part of roughly double as much as it is to do it with Draw2CNC (without the quantity commitment or lead time!).

I sincerely hope you find Draw2CNC useful. Any ideas on how to improve the service are welcome, you have my contact details on the webpage. Although I designed the service with the intention to cover most prototyping needs as-is, if you need something done exceeding the capabilities of the standard service (like larger sizes parts, for example), please don't hesitate to contact me. Same if you find it difficult to draw the intended part with the CAD program from the webpage; simply email me a napkin sketch and I'll help you turn it into a drawing in Draw2CNC's program.

Draw2CNC machining service 3 years 11 months ago #17215

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Hop,

I think you're being unrealistic in your price point. Off-the-shelf plastic enclosures can hardly be had for that price, and off-the-shelf aluminum enclosures are much more than that. One affordable option might be extruded aluminum enclosures from eBay, with custom milled end caps.


Thanks for the information Parodi. I'll download the software and take a look. It's great to have resources willing to do low volume operations.
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