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Build Log: P Millett's DCPP "Engineer's Amp"
Build Log: P Millett's DCPP "Engineer's Amp"
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Old 22nd October 2017, 02:42 AM   #71
audiowize is offline audiowize  United States
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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I feel the need to mention some things here about Front Panel Designer and FPE.

1. A DXF can be used to define the perimeter shape of a panel. A separate DXF can be imported for interior cutouts. The interior cutout DXF can be broken up for editing.

2. 4mm aluminum isn't cheap. My local vendor wants $40 for a 0.16" (4mm) piece that's 11x13".

3. Anodized aluminum isn't cheap. I'd spend another $60 sending said part out to the only anodizer I know who doesn't regularly screw up terribly. She also takes about 10 days to turn things around.

4. Chromating isn't cheap. I don't even know where I'd go to get a panel anodized on one side and chromated on the other.

5. A scratch free finish is usually very rare. On any panel that isn't raw aluminum, FPE will guarantee a scratch free finish.

3mm anodized AL without the chromated rear surface is $62.69. When I compare this to the $31 that my local metal supplier wants for the same size/thickness piece, I note the following:

1. The piece from FPE will have a CNC finished edge. The piece from the metal supply shop may be cut by a hydraulic shear, which doesn't do wonderful things to the edges. The tolerances held will also be much tighter on the CNC.

2. The piece from FPE will be scratch free and anodized.

3. The piece from FPE will take a little longer to get.

If you want a more economical option that will save you from having to manually drill everything out (which never turns out perfectly), I've found a place or two local to me who have a waterjet and will make about whatever I want for about $100.
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