A really helpful feature would be the ability to combine simple shapes to make more complex cutouts. Most graphics software has this ability, and it would save a lot of time to be able to take a circle and a rectangle drill hole and combine them to make a keyway for a switch, for example.
Posted By: Mike Phillips on Dec 18, 2010 06:32AM Category: Whishes
Thank you for contacting us regarding Front Panel Designer.
You can indeed combine simple shapes to make complex hole cutouts just as you say. Simply lay out the shapes on top of each other the way you need them, select them all (shift+left click each, or left click and draw a dashed box around them all), then group them together.
If this group is something you will use repeatedly, you can left click on the group and save it as a named macro file for use later.
Additionally, if you have third party CAD or graphics software, you can draw the shape you need as a DXF, then import it using the Insert -> Free Contour function built into the software.
If you need any assistance creating a custom shape, feel free to e-mail us for assistance.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 20, 2010 05:26PMReply
Hi Paul, thanks for the info.
I understand how this could be used to make larger objects out of smaller ones...but how could I actually cut out material from, say a circle?
I want a circle, minus a rectangular tab for the keyway...If I just group them, how will the software know to keep the tab for the keyway, since both objects are "holes" or negative space?
Posted By: Mike Phillips on Dec 20, 2010 11:20PMReply
Hello again Mike,
In our Front Panel Designer, use the "Insert" drop down menu, then select "Macro Object". A menu will appear on the right pane of the main software window (or a pop-up will appear in older versions of our software).
If you open the Standard folder, then Switches and Buttons, you will see several keyed holes available for your use.
Again, you can also use a DXF as I mentioned earlier, since you have experience with graphics software.
If all of that is not working for you, let me know and I can also show you how to use three D-holes to make a pattern for a keyed switch.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 21, 2010 12:09AMReply
Stellar customer support!!
Unfortunately the dxf's I make in Corel and export arrive in front panel express distorted. They are out of round, and in some cases the size goes from 10mm to hundreds of mm's, just importing. I have no idea why. Just a standard export from Corel X5.
I will look into your suggestions.
I still think it would be great to have the feature to be able to combine shapes directly in fpe; this would also facilitate a faster library build-up for your client-base since it will be so much easier to do. Just my $.03.
Wanted to add: tried the D-hole; it fit my needs. Great,thx.
Posted By: Mike Phillips on Dec 21, 2010 01:28AMReply
Hi, I don't know if this has been mentioned, but it SURE would help if we could lock objects to the page and not have them try to be selected when something else is on top of it...better yet, how about a layering system like illustrator or corel? Then we can lock/turn off the layers we are not wanting to change.
Sorry if this has already been suggested; if not it would really help. Thx.
Posted By: Mike Phillips on Dec 17, 2010 03:50AM Category: Whishes
Thank you for contacting us regarding Front Panel Designer.
We have indeed received several suggestions about layers, especially for a layer that can be used for notes or references.
We are working hard to come up with a solution that does not alter the "what you see is what you get" principle behind our software, as "hiding" a layer of milled objects on a panel can lead to the designer forgetting they are there.
For now, if you complete a layer of objects and you want them out of the way, consider grouping them and using the "move" command to send them well off the panel vertically. Once you have finished each layer, you can bring them each back onto the panel before ordering.
Let us know if you have any other questions or suggestions.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 17, 2010 06:29PMReply
HI Paul, it's a good point. A simple solution would be to implement the layers idea, and then if a layer is hidden present an alert to the user prior to ordering.
Additionally, you could keep a hidden layer very slightly visible, like 20% transparent. I'm sure there's a clever way to implement this.
Thanks for all you guys do.
Posted By: Mike Phillips on Dec 18, 2010 06:30AMReply
I'll second the lock feature for position and especially sizing. One slight accidental resize of my macro objects can ruin the whole panel.
Posted By: Curt Koopman on Jan 08, 2013 03:49PMReply
I definitely agree that a lock/layer feature would be very useful. But I don't understand what you mean by 'accidental resize'. How can Front Panel Designer support better in such a case?
Posted By: Diane Haensel on Jan 08, 2013 10:13PMReply
Accidental resizing would be if you select and resize the object by mistake. Shouldn't happen if you're careful but it can happen without locks/layers. More likely to occur is accidentally moving an object. Say an object is selected but out of view, if the arrow keys are pressed the object will move and you would not know it. I also don't like that you can save into a read-only file.
Posted By: ckoopman on Feb 13, 2013 05:11PMReply
Got my vote!
Posted By: R_Phoenix on Feb 16, 2013 05:02PMReply
Thank you ckoopman. Yes, accidental moving is a problem. And I like the read-only file idea.
Both goes on the IT wish list.
Thank you for your input.
Posted By: DianeHaensel on Feb 17, 2013 10:05PMReply
I would just like to add that I too would love to be able to lock objects from selection/moving. I have accidentally moved objects before and it's quite frustrating. Fortunately I draw all my panels in PowerCADD for Mac OS first, then redraw into FPE. If I accidentally move an object in FPE, I still have the locked object in PowerCADD for coordinate reference.
Posted By: Greg on Nov 21, 2016 02:12AMReply
Locking objects and lock origin would be very useful additions.
Posted By: Gary on Jun 30, 2017 05:16PMReply
I am using the "Sub-D 25 pole with changeable drillings" library macro, and wonder how I can change the mounting holes (or even find out what the present hole size/type is).
Posted By: Peter Bennett on Dec 14, 2010 02:29AM Category: Front Panel Designer
Thank you for contacting us today regarding macro objects.
In order to view the individual items in a macro, you will want to right click on the macro placed on the panel, then click "Ungroup all groups".
Next, you can double click on any individual item to view its size or change its attributes (like perhaps to make the flanking drill holes larger or tapped holes).
Do be aware, however, that it is best to regroup the items before moving them around the panel after they have been ungrouped.
Let me know if you run into any additional issues.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 14, 2010 05:27PMReply
I have a question, what is the difference between a circular cavity and a blind hole with a diameter of 1.25"? They seem to do the same but the cavity is much more expensive. When I want a 3mm cavity in a 4mm panel, is there a danger that when using a blind hole it may punch through instead of having a nice flat bottom?
Posted By: Kim Beumer on Dec 08, 2010 06:56AM Category: Front Panel Designer
Thank you for contacting us about Front Panel Designer. The pricing issue you have discovered has been remedied in the newest version of our software, Front Panel Designer 4.11. (The correction was more to lower the price of the cavity instead of increasing the price of the blind hole)
Click on the photo below to see pricing for a 1.25" x 0.03" deep cavity and blind hole in FPD 4.11.
There is no danger of using a blind hole instead of a cavity, just be sure to leave at least 0.5mm of material below the blind hole.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 08, 2010 05:15PMReply
Thank you, I will download the latest version.
Posted By: Kim Beumer on Dec 08, 2010 08:44PMReply
I just downloaded the 4.11 version and it still has the price difference, $5.06 for the cavity and $3.04 for the blind hole. Is there a way to update the pricing file?
Posted By: Kim Beumer on Dec 09, 2010 01:26AMReply
You are correct, those two items are not properly aligned (I previously had not set the depth to 3mm).
I will report this to our software designers and we should see this issue corrected in the upcoming release.
For now feel free to use the drill hole and take advantage of the lower price!
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 09, 2010 01:48AMReply
I have another cost question. It appears that a hole plus a blind hole is a lot cheaper than a countersunk hole. Is this true and I am kinda curious as to the reason.
So when doing a countersunk hole are some configurations cheaper than others and if so which ones?
Posted By: Kim Beumer on Dec 12, 2010 07:30AMReply
You are indeed correct, there are major differences between the prices of counter-bores and countersinks.
In order to make an angled countersink, the milling tool has to make a great many small stepped passes to cut the conical shape. For a counter-bore (no steps), an end mill can make a few passes and cut the shape much more quickly.
If your project involves material 4mm or thicker, you can take advantage of this by using hardware like standard socket cap screws along with the through hole in a blind hole.
As always, let us know if you have any additional questions.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 13, 2010 04:54PMReply
I am sorry if I keep asking silly questions but where do I find the difference between counter-bore and countersinks in the software. Going through a number of different holes the trend seems to be that metric DIN74A is cheaper than ANSI 82 degrees for essentially the same hole while some manually controlled ones can be even cheaper than that (sometimes that is). Somehow I am not capable of finding any logic in the pricing structure.
Posted By: Kim Beumer on Dec 13, 2010 08:01PMReply
Hello again Kim,
A counter-bore is a countersink with a 180 degree head angle. There is no separate item for this type of countersink, but instead it is simply entered with manual parameters.
The DIN74A is cheaper to mill than the ANSI 82 degree countersink (assuming 3mm hole size) because the DIN74A requires less milling time.
Going too in-depth into how we calculate pricing would probably not make me very popular with our software developers.
If you would like to discuss it more in detail, feel free to give us a call.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 14, 2010 05:23PMReply
So far I have had no problems with the design process but when
I try to print my design my printer outputs a blank page. The
print preview and everything looks right. No error messages or
anything. Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong? HP computer
with windows vista 64. HP 4280 printer which works perfectly
with every other program. Thankfull for any help you can give.
Posted By: David Nelson on Dec 01, 2010 08:28PM Category: Front Panel Designer
Dear Mr Nelson,
Please let me know if this helped.
Posted By: P Neumann on Dec 01, 2010 09:27PMReply
Yes, I followed those steps and still when I try to print
my printer only outputs a blank page. Up until the printer
outputs a blank page every thing looks normal. Seems like it is not sending the info to the printer even though it
tells the printer to print. I saved the panel and did every thing I do in a normal cad program but does not print
Any sugestions? Dave
Posted By: David Nelson on Dec 02, 2010 05:15PMReply
Can you please e-mail the file in question to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, can you tell me which version of Front Panel Designer you are using (Help -> About in the software).
This will help us attempt to replicate your issue.
Thanks for your continued patience.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 02, 2010 05:48PMReply
I emailed a file and the version #. If you didn't get
it let me know and I will send it again. Dave
Posted By: David Nelson on Dec 03, 2010 09:44PMReply
Thank you for forwarding along the file in question. We attempted to reproduce the issue at hand without success. We will, however, forward along this file and the issue to our software developers for additional testing and analysis.
Thank you for your assistance, our greatest asset in software development is the assistance we receive from our customers!
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Dec 06, 2010 06:09PMReply
I just thought of something as a temporary band-aid:
You should have a printer called "Microsoft XPS Document Writer". Please try to print your Panel with this printer. It should save as a .xps file (alternative format to .pdf). Now you open this file and hopefully you can see the panel. If this is the case you could print the .xps file and get your desired result this way. Please let me know if this works.
Posted By: P Neumann on Dec 07, 2010 02:19AMReply
Any way to add a curved slot cavity? Or is this in the works for a future version of fpe?
I'd also love to be able to do a curved slot in a rectangle cavity.
Posted By: Thor Lewis on Nov 27, 2010 02:29AM Category: Front Panel Designer
Thank you for contacting us regarding Front Panel Designer.
While there is no way to make a curved slot cavity directly in the software, you could import that shape as a DXF and specify that it be a cavity.
If you do not have any third part CAD software, feel free to e-mail us the curved slot in an FPD file and we can make a DXF for you.
The curved slot in a rectangle could be done in a similar fashion with a DXF, and we could also create such an item for you from a curved slot set inside a rectangular hole or cavity.
Feel free to contact us via e-mail for more information.
Posted By: Paul Birkeland on Nov 29, 2010 08:09PMReply