preparing your project
for cnc and fabrication
PROJECTS ARE BROUGHT TO US AT VARIOUS STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT. AT SOME POINT, EACH PROJECT WILL REQUIRE CAD FILES FOR OUR MACHINES AND DRAWINGS FOR OUR TEAM. FOR THIS REASON, DDF HAS DEVELOPED A STRATEGIC "DESIGN-PROOF PROCESS" TO PROVIDE OUR CLIENTS WITH A "PROOF" THAT WOULD NEED TO BE APPROVED IN ORDER TO GO INTO PRODUCTION.
this article IS A SIMPLE WALK-THOUGH OF THE TYPICAL requirements TO ACHIEVE THE BEST PRICING AND EXPERIENCE. LEARN HOW TO PREPARE EARLY-ON IN YOUR PROJECT AND WHAT OPTIONS YOU HAVE TO HELP YOU.
1. provide enough "level of detail" & information of your project to get a quote
The most important DETAIL items to include are:
- contact information
- a brief description and name of what your project is
- material types
- material thicknesses
- completion date
- whether or not you’ll be supplying the material or you want us to provide the material
- upload/email files for us (sketches, drawings, 3d model, 2d linework, artwork, reference photos)
After filling out the form (see above example) DDF will now analyze whether or not we need more information to provide a good estimate.
If we need more information we might need to set up a meeting whether in person or over the phone.
2. Providing cad files or opting for a design fee
Strong, accurate CAD drawings is the only way to give you real pricing for CNC. Without production-ready files we can only provide you with a rough “ball park” quote. DDF recommends one of the following routes to estimate the CNC portion of your project:
- DDF can convert your sketch/idea/image to basic CAD geometry to give you a rough quote (subject to change)
- You can provide us with CAD/VECTOR files (example formats: .ai, .dwg, .dxf, .3dm, .step) and you will get accurate CNC pricing (as long as the line-work is production ready).
At this point we will discuss/determine any possible design fees and add to your quote:
Depending on the complexity of the design and what is received, we may charge a design fee to produce any necessary or missing files. It all depends on what is delivered to us and how well we can “work” with it.
****If you decide to provide your own files, DDF will use your line work to program our machines with. If we run into any kind of difficulty or errors in your linework or files, we may request better files or we might need to produce our own, in which case we would discuss a design fee with you. It can certainly be more cost efficient to pay for a design fee and have DDF produce your files from the very inception of your project.****
Note: Converting your sketch/idea/image to basic CAD geometry is not the same as creating accurate CAD files for the machine, this is used only to generate a rough quote as mentioned above.
Note: There is still time to provide your own drawings even after you approve your quote, just let us know and we’ll remove it from the cost if it’s in there.
****Please keep in mind there is a strong chance that we may need to re-quote you once we have more information or more accurate/detailed design files****
3. receiving & approving your estimate
Once we fully understand your project and have everything we need to produce an estimate we will email you an official quote.
You will receive an email with instructions but typically we need a written approval for us to proceed with the project.
We also require a 30% deposit to confirm the order.
4. moving into pre-production & receiving our design proof for review
Once you approve your quote, the first thing we will do is provide our client with a proof.
DDF will abide only by an approved proof and will assume it to be what you want.
It’s possible we might need to go through a few proofs to make sure everything is correct and that we have your approval.
(below are two examples of the same design proof drawing that has been revised a few times, the “red-lines” indicate our revisions to what the client has changed)
Why do we do this?
To be in sync and to avoid costly errors.
This design-proof process ensures that what you provide to us is understood on our end and that nothing is lost in translation. This is something you can expect and anticipate from us. It is something that over time will make for great collaboration, trust and working-together experiences.
5. approve the proof and move into production
After you approve your proof we’ll be able to start programming your parts for our machines.
We will keep you updated on your project’s progress and let you know when we have completed your project
we put this article together to help you understand why we need certain things and how it could hold up the production schedule. by providing us with accurate/current information, details and working files we are sure to get going fast. but we do understand that sometimes files or even the design isn’t exactly ready yet and that projects can become a bit overwhelming. providing our clients with a proof and holding until we have approval is a crucial step to the success of everyone involved.
we will be updating this article as our process continues to be refined and improved…