Take a look below for answers to our Frequently Asked Questions, topics covered are:
How do I obtain a quotation?
Email a copy of the artwork with the following information:-
- Metal type and preferred thickness
- The quantity of parts you need
- The delivery date that you need the parts delivered by
- The country of delivery
Please also let us know if your enquiry is at the 'quote only' stage and if you need the quotation returned by a specific time/date, our CAD & Sales Technicians will prioritise your enquiry to work to your timescales.
Our quotations are valid for 30 days from issue.
Is there a minimum order value?
Our minimum charge is £30.00 + post + vat, this roughly equates to a sheet size of 300mm x 100mm on 0.2mm brass, this figure is correct as at October 2019.
Do you offer a discount for volume orders?
Yes, volume order discounts can be arranged.
Do you offer a student discount?
Yes, we offer a 10% discount for students, contact us for details.
What payment methods do you accept?
Payment can be made by bank transfer or by credit/debit card, if you'd prefer card payment we will send a payment request by email from Worldpay, unfortunately we are unable to take card payments by telephone.
Can I apply for a customer credit account?
Customers are welcome to apply for a credit account, drop us an email and we will send you our credit application form and copy of our terms & conditions, our credit terms are 30 days from invoice date.
Can I send hand drawn paper artwork?
Ideally artwork should be supplied in digital vector format, this ensures the highest quality final etched parts, we can where absolutely necessary use hand drawn artwork and ask that it is supplied as a black and white image and scaled as large possible on an A4 sheet of paper, unfortunately we can't guarantee the quality of the final etched parts when using this method.
What file format should I send?
PPD have the latest versions of Corel, AutoCAD and Adobe Illustrator, if you have used one of these packages to create your drawing please send it to us in the native software format, where an alternative package has been used please send us one of the following:
eps / dwg / dxf / ai / cdr / pdf(*)
When sending a pdf file please ensure that it has been created from a vector package.
We recommend that regardless of the format sent that you include a pdf of the image that we can use a reference to check for translation issues that may result when we import into our software, unfortunately we cannot accept responsibility for errors where no pdf is provided.
What is the largest file size that PPD can accept?
Generally speaking, if you can send it then we should be able to receive it, feel free to send us a 'We Transfer' or 'Dropbox' link and we can work from that.
Do PPD offer a drawing service?
Yes, we can create a CAD file form a sketched layout, we do ask that the layout is fully dimensioned to keep our charges as low as possible.
What colours should I use to represent full etch/halfetch etc.?
For etching artwork we convert your drawing to a black and white image which is converted to black and 'clear' on the phototool, if you plan to send us your artwork as a seperate 'back' and 'front' artwork then please send it as black and white, if however you are sending us one single part containing all detail on one image then please ensure that the halfetch detail is represented as a different colour to the full thickness areas and also that and halfetch detail on the reverse of the part is shown on it's own layer again as a different colour, historically going back to old 'camera' days the colours used were :
Black - Full thickness metal
Red - Halfetch (or surface etch) on the front
Blue - Halfetch (or surface etch) on the back
White - Full etch (hole) through the part
It's not critical that this convention is used as long as each layer is unique with a clear description and shown as a different colour.
Is the artwork for an etched part the same format as for a lasered part?
No, the artwork for the etching process needs to be supplied as a solid 'filled' part, for the laser process we need only the cut perimeter 'outline' to be supplied.
For orders that use a combination of both etching and laser please supply as for the etching process and we should be able to creat the perimeter laser detail from this.
I'm unsure whether I should request an etching or laser service, how should I supply my artwork?
Send it through to us as for the etching process (filled) and we should be able to work from that.
Can I send my own phototools to PPD to use for my order?
Yes, feel free to send us your phototools, please ensure that you retain a copy of the phototool or preferably keep a backup of the original digital file prior to sending it to us. Phototools could in theory be damaged or lost and although PPD take great care in the storage of phototools we do not accept any responsibility in the reprinting of tools where no digital file is supplied to us.
I would like to reorder a phototool in the future, how long will PPD store the phototool for me?
Unless agreed at the time of order, PPD will store the phototool plus the digital file originally sent to us for a period of 5 years.
What is the thickest metal that can be etched or laser cut?
For an etch only process we would recommend that the thickest we etch through a sheet is 1mm, at this thickness the undercut will be significant, depending on the complexity of the part a higher quality result would be achieved by using our laser and etching combination service.
For laser only parts we can cut metals up to 6mm, (up to 12mm for mild steel).
What is the largest sheet size PPD can etch / laser?
The largest sheet size we can process depends on a number of factors such as the metal type and thickness and also whether it's a laser only service/etching only/etch & laser combination, take a look at our Stock Metal PDF file that lists the maximum sheet size in each case.
I would like to order multiple copies of the same part, what is the most cost effective way to arrange the sheet?
It is recommended that you send us only one copy of the part and let us know the minimum number of parts you require and also the typical repeat order volumes if known at the time of order, our CAD & Sales Technicians will create a sheet that keeps the setup cost of the phototool as cost effective as possible for you whilst ensuring that the number of repeat copies is practical for production.
My order consists of many different parts, what sheet size should I use when setting up the artwork?
Unless there are parts that are longer than 600mm, we recommend that you create a sheets at 300mm in height by between 200mm and 600mm in length (include a 10mm unetched border around the sheet), it's no problem for us to handle sheets longer than this but please keep in mind that sheets greater than 600mm will incur an oversize tooling charge.
You should also keep in mind that the setup charge for the phototool is based on the total area, therefore it is more cost effective if you can create a smaller sheet and run multiple copies (the height of the sheet must remain at 300mm).
Please let us know if the dimensional stability of the parts is critical and we will recommend the optimum sheet size for the required accuracy of the parts.
I have a 3D metal component, can PPD etch a design onto this?
At the moment we cannot etch onto a 3D object, all of the parts that we manufacture are flat 2D sheets.
Do PPD etch gold or silver sheet?
At the moment we do not offer a gold service, we do however offer etching and lasering (or combination) service for silver, send us your artwork and we will advise on the sheet size of silver you should send us.
The part I would like etched has surface etch detail in the same position on both the front and the back, is this possible?
Usually a surface etch at the same position on both sides results in a 'full' etch (a hole) through the metal, we do however have a method that results in a surface etch on both sides where required, there is an additional cost for this service, contact us for further details.
Can you etch into the metal to different depths?
Yes, technically it is possible to surface etch detail to different depths on a sheet, the feasability of this option is dependant on the individual design, send us your artwork and we'll advice on the suitability of the design for this process.
What is the turnaround time for orders?
One of our first responses to a customer request for a quote/order is 'when do you need the order delivered?', In the vast majority of orders we deliver according to our customer's reply. In over 95% of orders during 2019 the delivery time between receipt of the initial email and delivery was within 7 working days, with 12% of orders delivered next day.
Do you offer an express service?
Yes, we do, PPD allocate spare daily capacity within our production schedule to urgent express orders, depending on the size of the order we can arrange a next day service which can be vital for our customers who work in the film/tv production industries where orders can be time critical.
The express service does include a surcharge to our standard costing and is charged on an individual basis depening on the complexity and size of the order.
Do you ship overseas?
Yes, we supply customers worldwide and have a number of options for delivery depending on the urgency of the order.
Which couriers do you use for shipping orders?
For our UK deliveries we use Royal Mail Special Delivery and TNT, the default services we use are next day by 1pm for Royal Mail and next day by 5pm for TNT, there are earlier timed options available for both of these services, contact us for details.
For our customers outside the UK we use TNT International for orders that are time dependant and for non urgent orders we use Royal Mail Airsure, TNT Intl. is between 1 - 3 day delivery from dispatch and Royal Mail Airsure can be up to 2 weeks.
Do PPD offer any additional services?
In addition to our etching and laser services we also offer a vinyl cutting service, we also offer laser cut wood/acryllic/paper etc. using our CO2 laser, please contact us for details.