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

Panel-mounted components


Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Panel-mounted components

Panel mounted components are very similar to board mounted We can place them directly into the assembly And, you got a few different options here.

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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

Panel-mounted components

Panel mounted components are very similar to board mounted components without having to worry about the board at all. We can place them directly into the assembly and then cut the corresponding holes in the enclosure. There's a couple different ways to work with panel mounted components. Number one is I can cut the hole were I need it to be first and then place the connector in it. Or secondly, I can place the connector where I want it and then cut the corresponding hole to size. So in this case here I found an example of, I already cut the hole, and here I have the connector. And we're just going to go over some basic mating techniques, here just bring that in. So we know that right here in the back of this connector, we have a little foam washer here, so we know that's mated face, and I'm going to mate that to this one here.

Bring it together, and then I can still slide this around here. We know that this central face here is going to be inside of here, and if you pick the edge by accident, go back to that, pick that face, make sure you're choosing that face first things first. And then pick this face here those slide together. Now we still have one more degree of freedom as this thing is spinning around, so we want to kind of clock that thing. Couple of different ways we can do that, number one is there is a little tab up here at the top that we can link to, or if I can look inside here, I can see I've got a front plane; we got a top plane, and we have got a right plane.

So if I just show one of those or I can just use it. I can say like that right plane and maybe this right plane. And we'll just those are going to be mated together, and we're going to set at parallel, click OK and that just squares up that connector. So there are a couple different ways you can do that. This component here does have that little key at the top, so make sure that you're using a corresponding cutout and orienting the connector the correct way. The other way we can do this, if I close out of this, is grab that same connector. And now, notice this connector is an assembly so you have a bunch of different parts all in here that build up this assembly.

And sometimes, that's kind of hard to work with when you're building a design because you're having a bunch of subassemblies inside of your design. So one quick way to actually deal with this and make it simpler is to open this connector up, so I'm going to go ahead and click on this, click on Open and as an assembly, you do have a couple of nice things; I can adjust this nut in the back here; I can move it around to make sure I have got the correct panel thickness and adjust a few other things, but when you have got it all perfect we will up here to File>Save As. And, you got a few different options here. I'm going to go ahead and click on Save as copy and continue.

And, then down here, I want to save, not as an assembly, but,you could actually save this out as a part. So, I can save assembly as a part, and I've already done that here in our exercise files. And if you click on, actually those files you can see here, Save as part. And then you can choose do I want to save that exterior faces, exterior components or all components? And I'll go ahead and choose the exterior components, which I will clear out anything in the inside that we're not seeing, so that it makes it a little lighter weight assembly for when we go forward. Click on Save. You can see I've already got it saved, so just go ahead and override it.

And save it as a lynda part, and there it is. Now, I can go and open that part now. If I open as part, click on it, open it. And you can see now, it brings it in as a bunch of solids. But it's all inside of one part. So, it makes it a little easier to bring it in, especially the complicated assembly. And it's bringing it as one part, not as a bunch of subassemblies with nested parts and stuff like that. So just, especially if you're just buying one part number, you don't want all that extra data. So it's a lot better to do it that way, especially if you don't need to manipulate the assembly in your final design. Let's go back over here to the assembly.

Now I can bring in that new part here. Grab the part, drag and drop it in. And again, I can place this in here first, spin it around, and let's get it oriented correctly, so it's going like that, made it up. We're going to click on this face here. Again, pick on that foam on the back. Mate those together. And then bring them in. Now I can finish mating this up and putting it wherever I need to go, but I want to point out that I can now cut a hole in this based upon where this is. So I can make an in context edit, edit part.

Click on that face, start a sketch, and where my sketch is going to be I'm just going to snap it to wherever this outside edge is, and if you can't necessarily see it even though it's, sometimes you have to have to go over the edge, and it will show the center point, and then I can draw out a circle, add a dimension. And I'm going to be getting that dimension value from the data sheet, or you can just reference this part here. So if I change over to wire frame, I can see some of these, see lines inside of here and where they actually are. There's a lot of lines, so sometimes it's a little bit hard to see, but it does give you a nice representation of what's happening behind the scenes, and I can adjust this value here to get the correct size cut out for my connector.

In general, most of the same placement techniques apply to panel meta components as do board meta components. And we get the ability to pattern the components and create cutouts at the same time.

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