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Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project
Illustration by Richard Downs
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Adding graphics to parts


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Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Adding graphics to parts

There are several ways to add graphics and text to a part. Then, we can import that drawing as a block Once we've added the features, we can then assign a material to And I come over here and not Make block, but come down to Insert block.

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Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project
2h 31m Intermediate May 21, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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
Subjects:
Prototyping Product Design CAD Manufacturing
Software:
SolidWorks
Author:
Gabriel Corbett

Adding graphics to parts

There are several ways to add graphics and text to a part. If you have a logo file in a vector based format, like DWG, DXF, Adobe Illustrator or .SVG we can normally use a graphics program and convert this file over to being a DWG or DXF file. Which we can then easily import into SolidWorks. Then, we can import that drawing as a block and either cut or extrude the logo into the part. Once we've added the features, we can then assign a material to it and make it stand out from the rest of the enclosure. In this case, here, I want to put a logo on the top surface of this cover.

So I want to open up the cover so click on the cover, click on open and there's the top surface, choose the top. I'm going to hit spacebar and click on normal two. Now I'm looking at the top surface here, it looks good. Now I want use a block to bring in a logo. So, make sure you have the block toolbar turned on, I have mine over here. If you don't have that turned, right click up here, come down to blocks and just go ahead and turn that on. It might be placed somewhere else on your screen, I just like to drag mine over to here. Now, in the last movie we covered decals, drag a decal in, and that's purely a graphic overlay.

There's no real data behind that, it's just a picture on top of a surface. In this case here, we're actually creating real geometry. We're going to bring in a graphic in a vector-based format, and we're going to, actually going to cut that or extrude that into a part. And that's going to be real geometry that we can use. This is great if you're going to be actually engraving on your part, using maybe laser engraving or something like that. Or you're pad printing or silk screening or some other process that you're going to be adding some material. And it's going to be a real feature inside your part, you can suppress the feature, you can show it, you can change the color, you know, a lot of different things you can do with it.

It's exact size, it's an exact location, it's not just an image overlay. So, this works really well for things that are kind of a vector based format. It doesn't work for pictures or things like that, it has to be a hard line drawing that's in a vector based format so that's a main requirement for this. But once we do have that, let's go ahead and click on this top surface and start a sketch. And I come over here and not Make block, but come down to Insert block. Let's browse for a file, 5.2 and then Logo. Now you notice that when we get to the logo file here, there's nothing in here.

My default's not looking for a DWG or DXF file, it's looking for a SolidWorks block, which was created on from SolidWorks. But you can click on this little drop down here, and choose either DWG or DXF. So, click on DWG and we have that logo file we generated. So, it solves being a little tricky there and not showing you all those available formats. There's only three, but like I said you can bring in autocad formats, DWG, or DXF, or you can bring in the native SolidWorks block format. So, in this case here we're bringing in a logo in DWG format, click on open.

And sometimes this comes in out of scale, so in this case, it's not too bad, it's just about the same size as the enclosure here. But I can scale it down here if I needed to, so, my block scale, if I take this like maybe 0.5, and then click the next little icon down here, it'll scale it down to whatever size I want. I can scale up again, 8.7, I can change the angle that it's at as well, so I can play with at 180 if I wanted to flip it around. But I want it back at zero, and bring it back to the main screen. Now as soon as you click, it places one right? You can keep clicking and it starts placing things all over the place, right? You might not want that.

Once you are happy with that click OK, it will turn that off and you have multiple blocks now placed on our screen. Let's go ahead and delete the ones I don't want I'm just choosing I'm deleting them and one thing cool about our blocks is, if you change one, it's going to change all of those. All right, so if you may be placing this logo multiple times in your design, on multiple faces, or changing things. Once you change that block one time, all those same blocks will automatically adjust, and change in size. Not the scale, just the size or the orientation, or something like, that.

Inside the physical file here, all those things will adjust. You can also click on edit, and here, if I may move things around inside of this file, like I said, that's what we'll propagate through to the other icons, they're using the same block format. When you're happy with the changes, exit back out of that and then, let's go ahead and exit out of the sketch. And you can see it shows up just like a regular sketch here, but if you click on the plus, you can see there's actually a block logo dash two right in there. Let's click on that sketch and let's go up to features, and we can either do an extruded cut or we can do basic extrude.

In this case here I'm going to do a basic extrude, and I can just do this as tall as I wanted to, for some reason didn't make it that tall. But in this case I probably only want to make it a small amount right, so I don't want to link it to the thickness here. I want to say I'm going to bring this thing up about 5000/th of an inch. So .005 so it's going to be more like a screen printing, just a thin layer of some epoxy ink on top of the part. Click OK, and there we have that color, and then I can click on that new feature.

And click on this little beach ball under appearances and you can see what's going on there, or I can click on it up here. So highlight it here, click on the beach ball, and I can assign a color to it. So if I want to choose this to be like gray or black, I can do that here, I can also come over here to the beach ball on the far right under appearances. And I've got all these different scenes, I've got appearances, I got all of the stuff I can add here. So, I can add a plastic look, you know if I wanted to make this a red feature I can drag this over here, and place it right on that feature itself.

Now that feature alone has that new texture, and under this little beach ball here, display manager, you can see that I've got a satin finish aluminum, color on the entire enclosure. Then I've got this red medium gloss plastic material sign just to that feature. So, a great way you can add some cool feature, and like I said, this is a real feature inside all works, it's not just a graphic overlay. So if I want, I can right click on it and just say suppress. Take it out, I can bring it back, I can go back and adjust that however I want to.

And like I said, this will come in when I do an output drawing, it'll be the exact size to location, scale, and everything else. Another great thing here is if you were not wanting to just do a overlay, if you wanted to actually cut this into your part, that would be a great way to do it as well. Instead of doing this boss extrude one, click on that let's just delete it. Take that out of there, we've already got that sketch. And let's just go up here to extruded cut. And I'll say link to thickness, we can just cut that right thru our part, so pretty cool.

Adding graphics to your design can be a final touch, or provide some vital function to a design. I get caution warning logo country award general instructions. By integrating the logo into the design we can easily document the requirements as well as directly upload files for laser engraving, silk screen, pad printing and many other marking processes.

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