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

Using block cutouts


From:

Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Using block cutouts

If we end up using a connector in several places And then click on the featured self and it should highlight over here as cut feature And go over here and click on Make Block.

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

Using block cutouts

If we end up using a connector in several places in a design or across several products, it makes a lot of sense to create a block out of the sketch so we can easily drop that cutout into multiple designs. Also, many manufacturers will also provide a DWG or DXF file of the cutoff so we can bring that into our design and just place it. If we already have a design with a cutoff which I have over here, I'm going to spin this around, you can see that I've got a sketch inside of this part here. So let's go ahead and find out where that actually is.

So you can always find out where these things are, if you click on the like the inside face. It'll highlight where the part is and which part you're talking about. So let's click on the part itself and let's say Edit Part. And then click on the featured self and it should highlight over here as cut feature two or cut extrude two and go ahead and click on the sketch and say edit sketch. Now you can see here's all the sketch I have and how we place that in here with all the right dimensions. Now I want to be able to use the same cut-out in multiple places without having to do all this work. And this one's not really that hard, but some of them really are.

There's a lot of work involved in creating those sketches. So first thing is, I have the blocks toolbar turned on over here, and if you need to turn that on you can always just right click up here, here in the gray area all the toolbars will show up, and turn on blocks. So, I'm going to select all those entities. And go over here and click on Make Block. And that shows you we've selected all these. Click on insertion point and drag this little manipulator right to the center point of that and click OK. And that makes a block inside of the assembly. Here it is. And if I right-click on it, I can say Save Block.

And, I've already placed it out here one time, but I'm just going to do it again. I'll just call it block one is fine. And by default it's going to save it as a SolidWorks block. Now, we can import both SolidWorks blocks as well as DVAGB or DXF files, but we can only save out the SolidWorks blocks. So, when you're happy with what you have, click on Save. That saves it out, and notice it turns it into a gray with no dimensions. So that's a block. Now if you don't want that to be a block in this design, you can always go back and hit undo. That brings it all back, but it also still allowed us to save out that block while it was a block.

Now, exit out. Now I'm back to where I was. I want to add a couple more holes. So I'm going to click on this surface here, I'm going to click on sketch and instead of doing some drawing, I'm going to bring in that block. So, I'm going to go over here to Insert Block, select that block that I just did which is going to be on the Desktop > Exercise Files > Chapter Four. And it's going to be that block one we just created. Go ahead and click OK. And now you see it just kind of stuck to my tooltip and I can drag it around and place it wherever I want. In fact, I can place multiples of that same block easily in my design one after another.

And then you can dimension them as needed, you can dimension them one to the next. You can dimension them, cancel that for right now, but you can add dimensions, you can place them, you can add some construction geometry like. Maybe like a line between the individual pieces, snapping into the center point. A great way to that is hold down Ctrl, select the different lines, make them all equal. And then you can drag the whole group, you can slide it out, you can say one point two five, you can space them all out. So a lot of things you can do with the blocks and they all kind of move as a group.

When you're happy with them, go ahead and go to Features < Extrude Cut, < Link to Thickness and go ahead and cut it through. Now, I think these are probably a little too close but I just want to illustrate that it's really easy once you've created a block. Drag it into your design. Drop it onto a sketch, and go ahead and just cut it through. So it's a great way to do it, really great way to reuse geometry. And then keep in mind you can also take that same sketch block and put it in your design library. That way any time you're using that same connector, just drag that block in and you've already got the hole.

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