The design and development of a fully functioning e-commerce tool allowing customers to order bespoke cut wooden and metal raw or finished materials that links directly into the manufacturing process.

PanelShaper Web Tool for Ordering CNC Cut Material


Since 2020, I have been working alongside Ripple Group, a dedicated retail interior design and manufacturing facility in Manchester, with a wealth of experience and history spanning over 40 years in the trade.

I was approached to design and develop an online e-commerce tool that would help to fill gaps and make the most of their CNC machines during downtime between jobs which would allow customers to place accurately cut CNC machines material for DIY projects or trade jobs.

The project required two main focuses. Firstly, to create an easy-to-use user interface that would simplify a quite complicated process of choosing materials, finishes, and dimensions of their products. Secondly, to integrate these orders into their existing workflow so that CNC operators could easily pick up the jobs and fit them into production gaps throughout the day.

Our Approach

Like all good businesses, we started by doing our research into the existing and similar online tools that would potentially become competitors in the industry. We spent a lot of time reviewing these tools, seeing what was done well, what could be improved, and how we could implement these learnings into our own work.


From there, we first started on the user interface of the actual tool, with a goal to make it very easy to use across all devices. Wireframing was first on the list followed by fleshing out the wireframe into a design and potential branding options to introduce to the client.


Once we had a wireframe and branding options approved by the client, it was time to build. There were two main development jobs to complete during this project: the tool itself, and the rest of the website which would introduce customers to the PanelShaper brand and explain the process.
The tool was developed using WordPress’s e-commerce platform WooCommerce, to control the checkout process, order management, and integration into the business workflow. The tool itself was built using custom PHP that would slot into WooCommerce’s existing functions.

A big part of this project was to ensure that the formulas and calculations within the code were true to the material costings, taking into consideration a number of factors such as machining costs dependent on material, and the various options such as edging and finishes which all had many factors that adjusted the pricing. The client also needed an area in the backend where they could easily update the prices for raw materials and these various factors to be in line with price increases etc.

The Outcome

The PanelShaper website and online ordering tool are now live and performing well. After working closely with the client to develop marketing materials and a small local campaign in the run-up to the initial launch, it was a great success. We continued to work closely with PanelShaper during the first couple of weeks post-launch to highlight any potential bugs and ensure that the workflow from the tool was being sufficiently fed into manufacturing without any issues.

PanelShaper is now growing from its initial concept of a way to fill in the gaps during production into a small business of its own, and the client has since invested in further machinery and dedicated vehicles to deliver stock as opposed to collection only, and will soon be launching more material options.

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