Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project
Illustration by Richard Downs

Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Adding decals to the design

If you already have some artwork or logos that you'd like to add to And you can adjust some things here, you can do the mapping on it, you can change Right-click at Decal > Browse > Desktop > Exercise files > Chapter 5 > 5.1 > Images.

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Watch the Online Video Course Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project
2h 31m Intermediate May 21, 2014

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Real-world projects are vital to mastering SolidWorks, and sheet metal enclosures are a perfect example of a typical project. Sheet metal enclosures house and protect circuitry, wiring, and other sensitive electronic parts and frequently require customization by a professional CAD designer. So take a firsthand walk through designing a sheet metal enclosure for circuit boards and panel-mounted connectors, as well as fans, power cords, and switches, with SolidWorks. Gabriel Corbett covers the key techniques for working with in-context parts and assemblies that dynamically adjust based on the master part model. He'll show you how to use equations to drive the size of the box and calculate vent holes, work with circuit boards, and download connector components. Plus, learn how to add decals before prepping the final drawings for manufacturing.

Topics include:
  • Working with the Base and Flange tools
  • Building the rough enclosure shape
  • Designing the cover
  • Adding vents
  • Adding components
  • Cutting holes for connectors
  • Adding graphics
  • Making assembly drawings
Gabriel Corbett

Adding decals to the design

If you already have some artwork or logos that you'd like to add to your design, adding a decal is an easy way to get a great looking part. Decals can be simple line art, logos, photographs, or even screenshots. We can place a graphic on a flat or curved surface, and there is lots of options for modifying the location, orientation, and backgrounds. Let's take a look. I have final number 5.1 opened up, and I want to place a logo here on the top surface. So the first thing thing we're going to do is we're going to come up here to, if you notice there's actually four little tabs here.

So the first one, you've got the Properties manager and then you have the Configuration manager and then finally you have the Display manager. And under Display manager you also have three icons here at the top and the second one over is the decals one. So you want to add a new decal here. First, I can either open the decal library, which will pop up over here on the right. Or you can right click anywhere in this grey area over here and click on Add Decal. So first, we're going to go ahead and just use the regular decals that are already available to us. And these are some that are preloaded from Solid Works, so you can just easily drag and drop these onto the design wherever you want.

So in this case here, let's put the registered trademark. And I'm going to do it a couple different ways. One is, in this orientation here, I'm just going to drag that into the screen, and you'll notice it actually puts it kind of at that angle, which you probably don't really want that kind of flowing over the entire top of your part like that. So that's probably not the most optimal settings for that. So you probably want to cancel out of that one first. So the best practice is to choose a face, click on it so you're looking normal to it. Then come over here and click on decals library, then you can drag and drop that icon on there or that logo.

And then you know, scale the decal to whatever size you want, you can rotate it here. If you click on this little gold circle in the center here, you can spin the logo or the decal around. You can drag this little line out, and it just gives you better control, what angle, you want to set that up. Once you got it to the right location, and the right size. Drag it around and just click on the green check mark to place that logo. Now you can see that it's on that face. You can see, you can spin them around, it stays with that model and if you do like a rendering of this, they'll show up in whatever color that image is.

You can also play with it a little bit more, if you click on the plus next to its name. Click on the decal itself, you can right click on it, you can say Edit decal. And you can adjust some things here, you can do the mapping on it, you can change some of the projections and views and so things to take a look at inside of here. Also illumination you can change the amount of light that's actually on that part and the diffusion, reflections and things of that nature, too. So once you've made all those adjustments, click on OK and we're good to go. Now I have a logo that I've produced and generated for the top cover of this already, and that one's not on the basic library.

So I'm going to right-click over here say Add Decal. I'm going to browse, and I'll click on Desktop > Exercise Files > Chapter 5 > 5.1, under Images, I have this N, which is a logo for a fictitious company and click on that, and we're going to place that right on that top surface. I'm going to choose that top surface. Remember we gotta go back and click on the face itself, so go ahead and click out of that. Cancel that again, come back. Go on that top surface, Right-click > Add Decal > browse > Desktop > Exercise files, and Chapter 5 > 5.1 > Images > Logo.

Okay, click on that face and we drop it right in there. Now we can scale it down. Notice this background is black, and we have some mask image options down here. So we have No mask, we have Image mask file, we have Selective color, and we have this Decal alpha channel. And so this file happens to be a .PNG file. So PNG's naturally have a transparency layer in them, and if you click on that one you can see that it actually just wipes out the background and you're only getting the logo itself. If you have selective color, you can choose a color from that logo to mask away, so if it had a black background or a white background you could choose the white or the black and you could remove that part of it.

If you have an image mask file, which we don't here, but if you had a file that had the same black, kind of a negative of this, you could easily place that on there to wipe out the background. And no mask will just give you the whole image as it is. But in this case, the best option here is going to be the using the alpha channel. And this takes that out. You can click on this little button here which will flip it around as well. You can take that, other color out, but we don't really want to do that either. But, anyways, once you have it the way you want it and looking nice, we can adjust its size by clicking on the arrows up here or, sorry, the corners of the box.

Drag it around, and just click on OK. Great. There it is again. And you can do the exact same thing if you wanted to add it to other faces. Click on a face. Right-click at Decal > Browse > Desktop > Exercise files > Chapter 5 > 5.1 > Images. Grab it again, and click on a face, and again, it's coming in pretty large, so just grab the corner, bring it down, drag it to where you want it. Use that Image alpha channel ,and then just click OK. Sort of easy to just add it to the face you want.

And I also want to point out that we've got a circuit board in here, so I'm going to go ahead and hide this component on the top, and there's my circuit board and let's go ahead and open that part up. So I click on Open. For this one, I want to add the texture of the image of a circuit board. So if you have a finished board, a really great way to make a design look great, is to take a picture of the top of the board and take a picture of the bottom of the board and then just use those as decals to overlay over the parts in solid works, and look exactly the same. I don't have an exact image of this board, but I do have an image of a circuit board I'm just going to overlay here.

It's not going to be perfect, but it is just going to give you an idea of what it would look like if we had a complete board with a good image of it, we can just drag and drop it right on top of that surface. So click on this face here. I'm going to click Normal to it. And then I'm going to go up to the decals section here. Here it is. Right-click. Add Decal. Browse. I'm going to go to Desktop > Exercise files > Chapter 5 > 5.1 > Images, and I'm going to choose this board two, click on Open, click on that face, it's going to drop it on there.

I'm going to use this rotate thing to rotate it around, and there it is. I'm just going to scale this up so that it fits the board. And I can be bigger than the board, that's totally fine. And notice it doesn't overlap any holes. So if you have a hole, or an edge of your board. It only goes on the surface there, so it's not going to continue on over a hole, or over the surface, so you can adjust as needed and once you've placed it, it looks good. Click OK. I can do the same thing on the other side. Click on that face > Right-click > Add Decal > Browse > Desktop > Exercise files > Chapter 5 > 5.1 > Images and let's this time we use board one, click on OK and click on a face, it drops it on there, do the same thing we're just going to rotate around, drag it out, scale it.

And then click OK. Great, once you got that on there, we should be able to go back to our original design. You can see it now propagates through here. Like I said, it's not the right image for the board but it is a circuit board design and it looks fairly believable that it could be a board. And it just gives your design that more polished look. So, like I said, if we did have the final design for this or even just the bare circuit board without any parts actually placed on it yet, great way to add this to your design and it really improves the look of a lot of things you have here. Once you go back, and we look at, we can close some of these things up here.

Find the different parts we have, show that cover again. Great, and there's our completed decaled chassis. Decals are a great way to make a design look complete, and especially nice if you'll be rendering the design. Definitely look into decals as a way to take your designs to the next level.

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