Perforated or engraved panels

Perforated or engraved panels


Perforated or engraved panels can be used for many purposes, for acoustic or aesthetical reasons, to depict works of art, letters, logos, etc. However, the fabrication process is rather labor intensive both for preparation work and also for the actual routing out of shapes and drilling of holes. Decisive is whether the panels are used for exterior or interior application. For exterior applications, i. e., increased exposure to weathering, the panels are first primed, then fabricated and subsequently coated.

Work preparation: the CNC machine is programmed panel for panel based on the delivered plans. A production worker prepares the milling machine.
©Kilian J. Kessler


©Kilian J. Kessler


For interior use, coated panels can be drilled or routed and then left as they are. When individual CNC routing must be programed on the basis of CAD drawings, the process takes two or three times longer than for standard perforations. This is the case especially for irregular and randomly located patterns.

After the cutting, a lot of handwork is required: the edges are broken with the help of a special planer, extra cutting remains are removed with a sponge, and in the end, the fine fibers are burned off and cleaned, and finally, the edges are water-proofed.
©Kilian J. Kessler


©Kilian J. Kessler


For perforated or engraved panels, various aspects have to be considered. In addition to the designed shapes and patterns, the panel stability and fastening of the panels is crucial, distances between perforations or engraved areas should not be too small, and for larger panels, a solid perimeter zone is required, so that the panels are not too fragile for handling on site and installation.


©Kilian J. Kessler


©Kilian J. Kessler


Common drill hole diameters are 6 or 8 mm; since these panels are not coated after fabrication, they are for interior application only. These small diameter holes are located in a grid of 16/32/48 mm in both directions. For exterior applications or if the panels must be washable, a minimum 20 mm hole diameter is required.


©Kilian J. Kessler


In the future we want to be able to realize even “crazier”shapes and patterns with new equipment and plants. After all, the most beautiful thing about ornamented panels is the diversity of patterns and images that make the building claddings come to life.



Drill radius
6 or 8mm


Punch radius
min. 3mm, bevel 1.5mm


min. 12mm


min. 50mm


Article by
Pascal Zürn, Foreman of panel fabrication and finishing


Photos by
Kilian J. Kessler, Zurich, Switzerland

2 Responses

  1. What kind of CNC Router bits do you use? Burr style, or another multi flute style? Diamond coated I imagine?

    1. Hi Bryce. We use diamond-coated milling cutters for processing fiber cement.

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