Mechanical Engineering Meets SOLIDWORKS Electrical Episode 2 – 2D Drawings

Article by Angus Hudson, CSWP, last updated on January 5, 2018

Welcome back readers! Previously on Mechanical Engineering Meets SOLIDWORKS Electrical  I discussed my project to design and build a new home theater. Last time I covered the components I would be using and set them up with information and symbols in my SOLIDWORKS Electrical library. In this episode I will put my components to the test by creating SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D Drawings to design the wiring and connections for my system!

To the Drawing Board!

Before inserting any symbols, I first needed to insert the parts they would represent in my home theater. It was very straightforward to use the Insert from Manufacturer Component command to insert components with all the correct information applied. I grouped these components into several locations to provide me with more information when it came time to wire the whole system. The symbols could then be inserted directly from the component context menu, again automating all the necessary linking. At this point, it was simply a matter of re-positioning my components and drawing location outlines to create a detailed representation of the physical system.

Location outlines are an easy way to provide context and organization

Location outlines are an easy way to provide context and organization

No Connection Left Behind

The final step in my SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D Drawing design was to connect all the components. SOLIDWORKS Electrical continued to make this process as easy as possible by allowing me to set up custom cable types representing the different cables I would be using. I was able to customize a wide variety of options for these cables, such as manufacturer, number of cores, bend radius, actual colour, and line style for my drawing.  With that done, all I had to do was draw the connections between components and select the cable information to apply.

With all the cables in place, the Detailed Cabling manager made it a breeze to associate the cable and component terminals. This process reminded me of creating mates in 3D CAD, allowing me to specify exactly how my components go together. The manager then clearly indicated how my components were connected, allowing me to ensure that no connections were missed.

The SOLIDWORKS Electrical detailed cabling manager allows terminals and components to be connected to each other, thus specifying exactly how the system goes together

The detailed cabling manager allows terminals and components to be connected to each other, thus specifying exactly how the system goes together

While the line diagram contained all the information needed to route the cables, it did not indicate where each connector would be plugged in. SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D Drawings provides users with several different formats for conveying this information, such as schematic drawings or reports; I chose to include the information as a connection table. This was done by simply creating a connection table symbol for the AV Receiver and including references to the relevant properties. I was able to insert this table anywhere in on my line diagram, giving me all the information I needed to wire my system, all in one convenient drawing.

The connection table provides all the information needed to hook up the system

This connection table provides all the information needed to hook up the system

For the moment, the “Wire Length” column of the connection table is not providing meaningful information. Although I could manually estimate the wire lengths for these cables, this detail will be left to a future part of the series. Once the wires are routed in 3D, their exact lengths will be communicated back to my drawing, taking the guesswork out of purchasing/cutting cables and wires.

Final Thoughts

As a user of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, the transition to SOLIDWORKS Electrical was seamless, regardless of my minimal knowledge of electrical design principles. The intuitive tools for applying manufacturer part information to components will feel natural for almost any 3D CAD user, and allow easy standardization within and between projects. The process of associating symbols to components, cables, and their terminals is fluid and allows users to fully capture their designs with ease. SOLIDWORKS Electrical provides a powerful platform for designers to create not just drawings, but complex digital representations of their physical systems. With a mechanical background, I was certainly thankful for this link back to the physical world!

SOLIDWORKS Electrical 2D Drawings

The finished 2D Design

Until Next Time

Thank you very much for joining me on this journey through 2D electrical design with SOLIDWORKS Electrical. Stay tuned for future blogs detailing the continued design of this project with SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us and discuss how SOLIDWORKS Electrical can assist your ongoing and future projects.

Related Posts

Related content by tag:

Angus Hudson, CSWP

Want to learn SOLIDWORKS?

Take a training course from our team of Certified SOLIDWORKS Experts