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Shadow Board Design & MFG Workflow

We have developed a linear workflow for image capture, scanning, design, project management, and manufacturing Shadow Boards.  We stock our shadow board materials: Foam and Plastic, for fast delivery.  The process is completely LEAN reducing our cost, price, and lead time to our customers.


To start a review of our workflow, we have a video that is helpful:  The video walks through the initial process that OSAAP developed to scan photos of tools into our Free CAD software (Blue Shadow).  The key thing to note in the video is the frame on the light panel.  The frame size is hard coded into Blue Shadow as the datum used to scale the tools to the correct size.  If the frame is not the exact size in Blue Shadow, the scaling function will fail.  A document that reviews all our light panel options is available for your review.

You have the following light station options available: a local salesperson loaning you a panel, purchase a fabric light case with a 30-day return option, or purchase a system outright.  We recommend the Light Station for high volume requirements. For more information on light stations you can go to our OSAAP Technologies website. 

If you do not have a Light Panel and your tools/parts are simple shapes you can trace the items and skip the photo process: 

We offer a free design service:  If you upload photos to your customer portal, we will do an initial design for you.  You can include a help photo, which is an example of how you would like the items laid out in the board and we will do our best to match the design.  Without a help photo, we will use our best judgment for the layout.

We provide the Blue Shadow CAD software FREE.  Please fill out a web-form, and agree to the Software License Agreement, to request Blue Shadow. Blue Shadow is written specifically for our application of design Shadow Boards and is easy to use.  We have a full Knowledge Base for training connected to the Software behind the HELP icon Link. The Best Practice is to upload the photos to your customer portal and wait a day for us to send you back a design.  Then download the design from the portal and make changes in Blue Shadow if needed.  About 50% of our customers design from scratch with Blue Shadow as well - which you are also welcomed to do.

If you are running exclusively on MAC OS, we can set you up with a personal remote desktop to dial into Blue Shadow.  Please request a Remote Desktop through the sales department.


Your customer portal is a Web application while the CAD software is a Microsoft application; the two are not currently linked.  Many customers have multiple portals to separate and manage projects.  Please email support to set up your first portal.  Once you have multiple portals you can set up an admin account to manage all your projects from one location.   We are extremely proud of the work we have done with our customer portal and project database.  The customer portal provides you visibility into the design, approval, and manufacturing process along with excellent revision control and traceability.

We can also work with your 2D and 3D CAD files from Solid works or most other mainstream software packages.  Here is a link to a video walking through the process of converting a 3D file to the OSAAP design platform.  A 2D STEP is an excellent way to send us a complete Shadow Board design.

If you want to manufacture the boards yourself you can pay a fee to convert the design you developed within Blue Shadow to a .dxf or .stl file, more info here.  NOTE: We do not provide .dxf or .stl files to companies that resell Shadow Boards.  The conversion service is meant for Companies that want to manufacture Shadow Boards for in-house use.  Please contact OSAAP's management to request a file conversion account.

Our pricing at OSAAP is quite simple.  We start with the dimensions of the material needed and then add any secondary operations such as Laser Text or Backer-board.  The prices are then discounted automatically based on the volume ordered of the same design.  An example of a price for a 18" x 20" x 30mm thick board with Laser text is attached.

A word on delivery and lead time:  While the time to process an order does depend on the order size, most orders ship quickly because:

  • All the material we provide is normally in stock

  • The design workflow and approvals are streamlined with CAD software

  • Our Web Portal provides you visibility into the project status

  • Our CNC machines are programmed automatically by an algorithm on our server

A final and important point is that we do not write the NC Code manually to our Milling machines.  The NC Code Post is fully automated via DFM rules that are hard coded into an algorithm.  This means every board we make is the same regardless of when or where it is manufactured.  OSAAP has manufacturing sites is the USA, Germany, Mexico, UK, UAE, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.

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