Customer Provided Material  How it works
Front Panel Designer
Do you have an off-the-shelf enclosure you would like to customize for your project? Do you need a different front panel material or color than the one provided by Front Panel Express?

No problem, Front Panel Express can work with almost any non-ferrous material you send us. Following are step-by-step instructions on how to provide your own material.

STEP 1: Design your panel in Front Panel Designer

1. When setting up your panel, check the box for Use customer's material in the Front Panel Properties window.

Tip: If you have any questions about how to set up your panel, watch our tutorial Get Started

2. In case your exact panel thickness is not available in the Front Panel Properties, round to the next available panel thickness. For example, if your material is 1/8 (3.175 mm), you should select a thickness of 3.0 mm.

Front Panel Properties

3. When milling on customer material, there is usually one distinctive difference how the milling machine is set up.

With Front Panel Express material, we mill the panel shape out of an aluminum sheet. In the picture below, the red dotted line highlights the size of the finished panel.

Front Panel Express Material

On the other hand, materials provided by the customer often already have the exact dimensions of the finished panel.

As you can see in the below picture, this customer material has no extra border to clamp the material on.

Customer Material

To keep our machines from milling on our own devices, there are the following restrictions for panel layouts, which use customer provided material:

- Engraving: Any text, logo etc. must be at least 1.5mm away from the inner edge of the panel.

- Holes, cut-outs, etc must be at least 3.0 mm away from the inner edge of the panel.

- It is not possible to mill corner radii on the outer shape of the panel.

- In order to be able to mill corner radii, your material has to be at least 26mm wider and taller than the actual size of the front panel.

STEP 2: Submit your order via Front Panel Designer

1. Submit your order via Front Panel Designer's Ordering Program (Go to Order and click on Order active front panel).

2. After your order is submitted, you will receive an email from us with a 6-digit reference number in it.

STEP 3: Send us your material

1. Send your material to the following address:

Front Panel Express
5959 Corson Ave S, Suite I
Seattle, WA 98108
United States

2. Mark the reference point of your material.
The reference point tells us how to set up the panel in the CNC machines. As the reference point of the machines is in the lower left corner, it is best to mark the lower left corner of your panel as well.

3. Submit the 6-digit reference number with your material
(see STEP 2)

4. Please also include your contact data in the package.

STEP 4: Order confirmation/ Shipping date

Once we have received your material, we will send you an order confirmation per email. You will find your scheduled shipping date in the attached pdf.

Project of the month:
Instrument Panel for Hard Side Cases
(Courtesy of Scott Bradford,
This project comes from Scott Bradford from Supercircuits, a nationally recognized provider of audio and video surveillance solutions. When we saw the above photograph, we knew it has to be our next project of the month.
So many of our customers ask us about incorporating panels into cases, this is a prime example of how it is done.

Scott told us that they "use Front Panel Express for a variety of stock and OEM custom projects. [Front Panel Designer] provides us a fast, easy way to design panel control frames for hard sided cases, as well as internal mounting plates for power supplies and other equipment. We are able to mount monitors, knobs and switches quickly and easily and clearly label those connections".

Tip: If you like this project, you can download a template for an instrument panel for a hard side case in our forum. The templates are for a Pelican 1150 case, one of the cases Front Panel Express' customers like to use.

Go to Front Panel Express' forum

More FAQs: Customer Material

What material can I provide?

Front Panel Express can work with almost any non-ferrous material you provide. Not only are we able to work with powder coated or painted off-the-shelf panels, but we can also machine bent enclosure parts.
We can mill a variety of aluminum, brass, copper, plastics, etc. However, our machines are optimized in their ability to only cut non-ferrous material.

How to measure?

Be sure to use the correct measurements of your panel, when setting up the dimensions of your panel in Front Panel Designer.
You should use the outer side measurements for the width and height in Front Panel Properties. However, the required 1.5mm distance for engravings and 3.0mm for holes respectively, has to be measured from the inner edge (see following picture).

Measure Engraving

Which panel thickness you should select in the Front Panel Properties, depends on your requirements. If you would like to have a hole at Point A (see picture below), your panel thickness is 6.00mm. You would select 2.0mm for a hole at Point B.

Measure Thickness


During the milling and infill process, the panels get in contact with alcohol and paint thinner. Please make sure your panel surface is not sensitive to these chemicals. If you are not sure, you can contact us or send us a sample of your material to test on.

Front Panel Express - 5959 Corson Avenue South, Suite I - Seattle, WA 98108
Phone (206) 768-0602 - Fax (206) 768-0679 - -