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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.
At this stage, we now have the board fully made, we have pems in there, and we've got the components ready to cut the holes through the enclosure at the exact location where these are mounted on the board. And we want to do that in context so if we ever move the components around on the board or the board moves around in the enclosure, we want those holes to automatically track wherever those components are placed on the board and inside the enclosure. So it makes it really easy to make modifications of the board, and the enclosures automatically adjust as needed, so it's a great way to do that.
First thing we want to do is we want to make sure we're editing the correct part. So this part here is the one we want to be editing. So click on edit part, and then click on this face right here. Now, if you've got a lot of components in your design and we only have a few here, so it's not that big of deal, but if you have a lot of components, sometimes it's hard to see what's going on. So first thing we want to do is we want to switch over to a wire frame view so I can see the components I have and everything behind it. If sometimes there's too many components behind that, what you can do, is also click on the Section view. And my section, I want to bring it like right behind where that first face is and make sure I flip it over.
So I'm just So I'm just really looking at this very small section of the design, and the parts that are actually cutting through. So if I switch back over here to shaded mode, you can see what I'm looking at. Just, have just a very sliver of the board. So there's nothing behind there to confuse me when I'm looking at it. Go back to wireframe. Click on that front face. And now we're ready to start doing our sketch. So click on Sketch > Start a Sketch, and let's start zooming in over here. Now we've got components like this, and it's already got some geometry here.
So, couple ways we can do this. The first one is just select the lines in a pattern around the outside of the part. So I'm just going to go ahead and just select these guys in a series. And then say convert entities. That brings that into our current sketch. You can also, by the way, if you're choosing a line, you can right-click on it and say Select Chain. That's another great way to do that. Once you've got that selected, then you can go over here to Offset Entities. Make sure you're saying make base construction, I'm going to offset that line a certain distance. In this case here I'm going to say 30,000s, and you can see right there and the base turned into a construction line so I only have one line around that part.
That makes it real easy to go. Let's do the same thing with these over here. But instead of doing Convert Entities, I can also just snap to the parts. So for a circle, I can just snap to the center of that little LED light. Same thing on all these. So, it doesn't really matter which way you do it here. If you do a Convert Entities and an offset or just draw a circle, either way works just fine and then just click on all four of those. And let's go ahead and say equal, and then dimension one of those. And we want to make it a little bit bigger so let's just make it like an OE5 hole.
And maybe a little bit bigger. It depends on what you, you are doing. If you want to have those actually protruding out through, you might give it a little more clearance if you just try to show the light through. You even might actually make it a little bit smaller. So, that's a couple options there. And then finally down here. This one doesn't have as many entities that we can easily just switch over. So, let's go back to that sketch, you know if you pop out of that sketch, you can always go back here, click on Edit Sketch. So you're back in the editing mode. And then, over here I'm just going to draw a rectangle out. So I'm going to choose a rectangle over here in the corner.
And I'm going to bring it down slightly below the board. Now, I can just use basic dimensioning techniques. Dimension from the top of the board to that cut out. I'm going to give it 30,000. Dimension from the side of the connector to this, again 30,000. And do the top. So it's a little bit more tedious to do it like this. But, you know, there's no real good lines to convert and bring over. And we want to make sure is we have a simple rectangular cut out for this one. So we do have to add the dimension four times but overall it gives you a nice little piece. And then like I said, if this connector or this component will move on the board, this rectangular cut-out will automatically track where it goes.
As soon as you're done, click on Features, click on Extruded Cut, I'll link that to the fitness, click OK, and there we have it. Let's go back to the shaded with edges. Turn off the Section view, and here's our whole design with our cut-outs and looking pretty nice.
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