DIY Guide – Designing for Composite Panel Kit A

This guide is intended to help customers specifically with the purchase of panels from the supplier of Panel Kit A.  It will also help you with the drawings required and has important info you should know.

What process is used to manufacture the panels from supplier A?

The skins are hand laid with chopped strand mat and biax fabric. Liquid gel-coat is used and the process of vacuum infusion draws the polyester resin through the DIAB perforated core so the skins are physically attached to each other every 20mm.

What size of panel can be made?

Panels up to 3.0m wide and up to 10.0 m long can be manufactured with Panel Kit A

Is there any cnc cutting that cannot be done?

If you have an aluminium insertion in the panel we are not able to cut the aluminium and small cut-outs such as handles have tight radius corners which are also not possible. These cuts would need to be completed by the customer.

Can you cut corners with no or little radius?

There will be a minimum of a 5mm radius with ALL corners that are cut with the cnc machine – see next question.

What size bit does the cnc machine operate with?

We use a 10 mm bit so for locker door cut-outs there will be a minimum of 10 mm gap between the cut-out and the locker door insert panel.

Can the panel be cut right along the side of an insertion?

Where you have an insertion in the composite panel design such as a length of aluminium or a pultrusion, you need to leave a minimum of 2-4 mm of panel between the insertion and any cut-out. This is to avoid damage to the cnc bit and the manufacturer will move the insertion location accordingly if your drawing does not show this.

What CAD files does the Manufacturer use?

If you are doing your detailed panel drawings on CAD and would like the Manufacturer to use your files for the production of the panels, we can do this if you can provide your CAD files in the STEP format together with a 3D model if it’s possible. For quoting purposes we still need the files in a pdf format.

Can you cut a rebate for a locker door insert panel?

Some locker door frames require a rebated profile (say 20 x 20) to be cut in the panel rather than a simple cut all the way thru’ the panel. Yes, this can be done – if marked clearly on the drawings and a drawing of the rebate dimensions are included.

Where are the Composite Panels made?

Our Panel A Suppliers are located in SE Queensland one hour from Brisbane.

Does DIY Caravans ship composite panels?

Composite panels are not suitable for general freight since they are often large and need to be handled with care. DIY customers collect their panel kits from the chosen Manufacturer when they are ready for despatch. Some clients use the chassis or truck body they are going to be assembled on, others hire a trailer or light truck. Every time the panels arrive at their destination damage free and in a cost-effective manner. Click here for more info

Is the cnc cutting of the panels included in the cost?

The cnc cutting of the perimeter of the panel is included in the cost of the panel. If you require further cnc cutting of the panel – eg window and door cut-outs – this will normally be priced as a separate item called ‘Profile cutting’ and is calculated per linear metre.

What is the difference between using Aluminium or the fibreglass pultrusion as Insertions in the composite panels?

Fibreglass pultrusions are generally more expensive to buy and install – and have the benefit of not transmitting heat (or cold). Aluminium insertions can act as a cold bridge and cause condensation on the inside of the van if ventilation is poor though this rarely occurs.

Fibreglass is likely to be stronger than aluminium and both products act as a conduit for running cables through the composite panel. Aluminium will provide better screw purchase though you can use special ‘banana’ rivets if you need to attach items into a pultrusion.

In Kit A pultrusions are available as 50x25mm  and aluminium insertions used are generally 40x25x3mm  to 50x25x3mm. In your drawings please specify clearly which insertion you require.

What is the lead time for Composite Panel Kit A to be manufactured?

As a made-to-order item there is a lead time for the manufacture of Panel Kit A of approx. 8 weeks depending on supplier orders. When you receive a quote it will contain the current lead time if you go ahead with the purchase.

I want a rolled roof with Panel A – what radius can I use?

To avoid a fractures in the outer skin we would not recommend you try to roll the panel tighter than a radius of R400-R500. More info on rolled roof designs here

Can the Supplier specify and cut the kerfing slots for the rolled roof?

Yes they can and this will be priced separately. Some customers choose to do this at home and once the panel has kerfing slots extra care needs to be taken when handling the panel. More info on rolled roof panels here.

To ensure consistency and proper alignment, the length of the roof panel will be projected from the side wall panels. The location of the kerf cuts for the roof panel will mirror the radius sections of the wall panels with an additional 50mm added in the front of the roof panel which the customer can cut off as required. Few projects go together perfectly as planned and we do not want the roof panel to be short.