An Electrical Engineer Using Sheet Metal?

As an electrical engineer, I typically stick to designing detailed schematics or tweaking my wire and cable routes. Because of this, there really hasn’t been a need for me to dive into some of the really awesome features that SOLIDWORKS has to offer. I usually leave those features to my more mechanically inclined teammates.

However, this time I decided to dabble in something I’ve never tried before: Sheet Metal. I recently started working on a new project that required me to design a custom electrical enclosure. To my surprise it was actually really easy to use. I extruded a box, I converted it to sheet metal, and voila, I had my first sheet metal part!

I was happy with my first attempt, but it wasn’t really what I wanted. If I tried to have this part made in the real world, every machine shop would have laughed at me and told me to try again.


On my second attempt, I extruded a sketch again, but instead I simply made a flat sheet. I decided to try the Edge Flange command instead. THIS is what I really wanted. Now I was able to design the four sides to the enclosure. After only a couple more clicks using the same Edge Flange command, I had my enclosure!

In order to dial-in this new part, I used the Corners command to clean up all the sharp edges, I added some vents on the sidewalls for air flow, and also included some through-holes for cable glands and screws. If I say so myself, this is coming together nicely for someone who has never touched Sheet Metal features before!


My favorite feature is yet to come! I still can’t send the completed box to my local machine shop – they will still just laugh at me. Therefore, the Flatten command helps to complete the package by giving me the ability to create a flattened view of the enclosure. This flat image can now be added to a drawing that includes all the dimensions, call-outs and notes they require to get this project accepted, completed on time, while also keeping my overall design time in check.

Once the enclosure is complete, it’s on to the next task. We need to insert components within the assembly, work with SOLIDWORKS PCB for placement of the circuit board, and even routing our wires that are connected directly to our electrical schematics.

Even though I had fun designing this enclosure using Sheet Metal, the Electrical world is where I belong.



Come join the SOLIDWORKS ECAD team as we continue to design our Frozen Drink Dispenser during our Town Hall series where we explore the collaborative and intelligent features that help us design more efficiently.

DESIGN, ANALYSIS, and FINALIZING DOCUMENTATION, 1:00 PM to 2:00 EDT, May 19th, 2020. Click here to register.


JP Emanuele

JP Emanuele

JP is a Territory Technical Manager, SOLIDWORKS Electrical, North America.