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Sheetmetal lasercut (Ponoko, PCBWay & Local)


ozfalcon
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Discussion, Tips, Recommendations, Requirements & Tools.

Now there is online sheet metal laser cutting, I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in such services.

 

Suppliers

PCBWay & Ponoko do international shipping. Others like Oshcut and Xometry seem lacking in this area.

 

PCBWay (China)

https://www.pcbway.com/rapid-prototyping

 

Ponoko (USA)

https://www.ponoko.com/materials/category/metal

 

And also local sheet metal shops with laser cutting services.

At this stage, PCBWay are manually quoting jobs, While Ponoko is more automated.

 

Tools

You will need some sheet metal working software to produce the required files.

I use and recommend FreeCAD with it's sheet metal workbench.

It's free and there are plenty of online tutorials to get you going.

For boxes you will need to supply the unfolded design.

* Ponoko require an unfolded sketch in DXF

* PCBWay require an unfolded STEP and an unfolded sketch in PDF

 

Folding

PCBWay also do folding, But it's expensive.

For small jobs there are various small press brakes available.

* 300mm vice held press brake (ebay $200).

1962888382_300mmpressbrake.thumb.jpg.57e1e5ffa298b08782b87a0fa3565b98.jpg

* 200mm vice brake (amazon $100)

1120826027_200mmvicebrake.jpg.5b05e314cf51409e0bec4e42914e8540.jpg

* 100mm vice brake (super cheap auto $60)

44477953_100mmvicebrake.jpg.0d0c0ae6f1901ee844359e8b970a1c16.jpg

Note: You will need a press brake with removable fingers for small folds.

Or just use some pieces of wood and a vice to fold it that way (See youtube).

 

I'd recommend the 100mm vice brake to start with as they are pretty cheap.

Note: Vice Brakes offer some extra flexability allowing the sheet to hang to the side of the

press while a fold is being made. Something I realized after getting a 300mm press brake.

 

 

Materials

I can only comment on sheet metal (Low Carbon Steel)

Generally you will want 1mm, 1.2mm or 1.5mm thick.

If you want rust protection then using galvanized sheet metal should be the same price.

PCBWay also offer various surface finishes - But price may vary considerably.

I highly recommend requesting TWO quotes, One with and one without surface finish.

 

Tips

Sheet thickness will affect folds both in software and in physical folding of the sheet.

When designing a sheet metal box, Be sure to create the design in the desired sheet thickness.

When requesting a quote from PCBWay, You will need to specify the sheet thickness in the additional comments.

When requesting a quote from PCBWay, You will need to specify no folding only cutting in the additional comments.

 

 

Notes

Ponoko automated quoting price increases the more complex the design (eg. adding some extra holes).

This is yet to be tested, But removing chamfers or bevels may help in reducing cost if needed.

Edited by ozfalcon
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Box.thumb.png.6dcb0684b0f07f52643141ac48cc739e.png

Comparison quotes

Estimated weight of finished job (x10 units) is around 5kg for shipping.

 

PCBWay (China) (Initial quote)

Size 295.5mm x 278.9mm x 1.2mm thick

Surface finish: Chem Film (Chromate conversion coating) [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Fees[/TD]

[TD]Total[/TD]

[TD]Unit usd[/TD]

[TD]Unit aud[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]$213[/TD]

[TD]$82[/TD]

[TD]$14[/TD]

[TD]$309[/TD]

[TD]$30.90[/TD]

[TD]~$40[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: Expensive job cost

 

PCBWay (China) (Second quote)

Size 295.5mm x 278.9mm x 1.2mm thick

Surface finish: None, Also requested more competitive price [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Fees[/TD]

[TD]Total[/TD]

[TD]Unit usd[/TD]

[TD]Unit aud[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]$107[/TD]

[TD]$82[/TD]

[TD]$9[/TD]

[TD]$198[/TD]

[TD]$19.80[/TD]

[TD]~$25[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: Sales rep kindly recommended galvanized sheet as same cost alternative

 

Ponoko (USA)

Size 295.5mm x 278.9mm x 1.2mm thick [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Fees[/TD]

[TD]Total[/TD]

[TD]Unit usd[/TD]

[TD]Unit aud[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]$175.42[/TD]

[TD]$166[/TD]

[TD]$0[/TD]

[TD]$342.20[/TD]

[TD]$34.22[/TD]

[TD]~$44[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: Expensive shipping cost

 

What is a competitive price?

To me $10 au per unit + shipping for low qty (x10) would be a very good price.

The current PCBWay price $25 au per unit still seems expensive but doable.

Pricing of $40+ au is just too expensive for what really is not a big job.

 

I'd expect cost would be $1 if producing thousands of units direct from a china manufacturer.

(This is just a guesstimate for 295.5mm x 278.9mm x 1.2mm sheet cut)

Edited by ozfalcon
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Local sheet metal laser cutting suppliers

Word of mouth (In industry or friends) or local hobby/workshop groups often are a good source of such services.

But if that's not an option we have to start somewhere, so google search: sheet metal laser cutting service near me

 

*Total & Unit Cost INCLUDE 10% GST. Where no shipping is quoted use $40 estimate.

 

Quote request [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1]

[TR]

[TD]Hello,

I would like to request a quote for a small qty sheet metal cut.

Please quote price for sheet metal cut only. Folding is not required.

And please let me know if you stock galvanised sheet as an option.

Kindly include shipping cost (separate) if you are able to do this quote.

I have attached file in step/dxf/pdf formats.

Thanks, Michael.

 

x10 units

Job Size 295.5mm x 278.9mm x 1.2mm thick

Standard low carbon sheet steel, Galvanised optional.

(A366/A1008/HR250 1.2mm (0.048 inches) thick)

 

Shipping address

Michael.S.G.[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Notes: Updated to specify Cut only, No folding.

 

Google results for quote requests

 

Excel Laser Cutting

https://excellaser.com.au/

Quote [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]1.2MM ZINC ANNEAL[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$290[/TD]

[TD]Included[/TD]

[TD]$319[/TD]

[TD]31.90[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: All part prices quoted ex GST

 

 

Sydney Laser Cut

https://sydneylasercut.com.au/

Quote [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]1.1mm MS250[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$280[/TD]

[TD]Included[/TD]

[TD]$308[/TD]

[TD]30.80[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: Unable to fold this part

Note: All part prices quoted ex GST

 

 

Lasercut Services

https://lasercuts.com.au/

Quote [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]1.2mm HR250[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$250[/TD]

[TD]$35[/TD]

[TD]$313.50[/TD]

[TD]$31.35[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: All part prices quoted ex GST

 

 

Hygrade Laser Profiling

https://www.hygradelaser.com.au/

Quote [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]Cold Rolled 1.2mm[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$144.70[/TD]

[TD]$40 est[/TD]

[TD]$203.17[/TD]

[TD]$20.31[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]Galvanised 1.15mm[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$142.50[/TD]

[TD]$40 est[/TD]

[TD]$200.75[/TD]

[TD]$20.08[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: All part prices quoted ex GST

Note: No shipping quoted, Use estimate.

 

 

SMS Laser Cutting

https://smslaser.com.au/

Quote [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]Galvansied 1.2mm[/TD]

[TD]Yes[/TD]

[TD]$360[/TD]

[TD]?[/TD]

[TD]$396[/TD]

[TD]$39.60[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Pending[/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: All part prices quoted ex GST

 

 

Laser 3D (NSW Branch)

https://laser3d.com.au/newsouthwales/

Quote [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]MS-CR-01.2MM[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$250[/TD]

[TD]$40 est[/TD]

[TD]$319[/TD]

[TD]$31.90[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: Minimum invoice value of $250

Note: No shipping quoted, Use estimate.

 

 

D&D Smith

https://ddsmith.com.au/

 

 

Laser Wizard

https://www.laserwizard.com.au/ [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]1.20mm Galvanised[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$153.05[/TD]

[TD]$40 est[/TD]

[TD]$212.36[/TD]

[TD]$21.24[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]x10[/TD]

[TD]1.15mm CRC[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$155.33[/TD]

[TD]$40 est[/TD]

[TD]$214.86[/TD]

[TD]$21.49[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: All part prices quoted ex GST

Note: No shipping quoted, Use estimate.

 

 

Lasermade

http://www.lasermade.com.au/

Quote [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]X10[/TD]

[TD] [/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$225[/TD]

[TD]$45[/TD]

[TD]$297[/TD]

[TD]$29.70[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

Note: All part prices quoted ex GST

 

 

Tips

Suppliers will be able to do folding depending on their Press Brake capabilities and your part size/complexity.

Be sure to include in the request if you require folding or not. Some suppliers may assume you do and quote with folding included.

Larger industry suppliers often have a minimum order value (Example $250). Note these and go for the more flexible suppliers.

Edited by ozfalcon
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Conclusion

PCB Way provides competitive pricing (Ask for better quote if initial quote is obviously too high) and is a good option if local suppliers are unavailable.

Both Hygrade Laser Profiling and Laser Wizard quote reasonable pricing providing some local supplier flexibility if QC or other issues arise.

 

 

Courtesy email

If a supplier has taken the time/trouble to provide you with a quote, Then be sure to respond to their quote in a timely manner.

Thank them for their quote and inform them you will contact them by the end of the week if you wish to proceed.

 

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Progression of order

 

10/2/2021 Quotes requested

 

17/2/2021 Order confirmed with Hygrade Laser for Galvanised option.

 

22/2/2021 Invoice received including updated shipping cost ($35).

 

22/2/2021 Invoice paid by direct bank deposit.

 

23/2/2021 Goods received by courier.

 

 

Updated shipping cost [TABLE=border: 1, cellpadding: 1, width: 500]

[TR]

[TD]Qty[/TD]

[TD]Material[/TD]

[TD]Folding[/TD]

[TD]Job[/TD]

[TD]Shipping[/TD]

[TD]Total*[/TD]

[TD]Unit Cost*[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]10[/TD]

[TD]Galvanised 1.15mm[/TD]

[TD]No[/TD]

[TD]$142.50[/TD]

[TD]$35[/TD]

[TD]$195.25[/TD]

[TD]$19.25[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

* GST Included

 

Goods received

Visual inspection shows sheets and cuts to be satisfactory.

Powerbox_Received.thumb.JPG.029f6ddedb7ec297a89d02da0b8b14f3.JPG

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Courtesy email

If a supplier has taken the time/trouble to provide you with a quote, Then be sure to respond to their quote in a timely manner.

Thank them for their quote and inform them you will contact them by the end of the week if you wish to proceed.

 

This is what people should do

It shows you are professional

 

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