Apply a Bounding Box to any Model using SOLIDWORKS 2018

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE updated November 18, 2017


Let’s take a look at a common scenario that crops up after a design is complete – the design of packaging!

Item to be packaged

Item to be packaged

While some designers may be savvy and experienced enough to embark on their own packaging design, others will need to speak to someone with some expertise in the packaging arena.  One of the first questions that will be asked from the packaging designer will most surely be “How large is the Item”.

While this question could throw us into a wide variety of discussion topics, I am going to focus us on the super-practical aspects of getting an immediate report upon a volume of a box that encloses my part.

In order to perform this operation in prior releases of SOLIDWORKS, one would have had to be working with a weldment or sheet metal component in order to make use of the “Bounding Box” functionality.  This tool has been brought into the mainstream in SOLIDWORKS 2018 as you can make it available from it’s location within the reference geometry toolbar.

Upon entering a few quick values, taking an automated approach or judging the enclosed area against a custom reference surface or plane. We can choose weather or not we would want hidden bodies or surfaces included in the bounding box envelope.

The resulting bounding box will leave a feature within the model’s feature tree, just below the origin of the part.

As you may have expected, our bounding box for this particular component, turned out to be something like this:


SOLIDWORKS Bounding Box applied

The unexpected bonus to the “Bounding Box” tool is the reported dimensions that are carried into the Configuration Specific Tab of the Custom Property Manager!

Configuration specific properties

Configuration specific properties

With the values reported within the Custom Property Dialog, they should also be available for varied use throughout the rest of the designers work with the component.

Thank you for taking a look at our SOLIDWORKS 2018 content, check back often for additional updates and articles on new and existing SOLIDWORKS functionality.

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006 and migrated along with his team members to the TriMech Solutions team in 2021.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.