Making Small Scale Electronic Devices – SOLIDWORKS Live Design

SOLIDWORKS Champion, maker, podcast host, and Guinness World Record holder Kirby Downey demonstrates how you can tackle impressively cool projects (such as making your own soundboard) using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD and 3D Sculptor. We got to learn tips about prioritization, leveraging available libraries/resources (for example, to integrate mostly prewritten code and circuit boards), and modeling techniques that can be applied to almost any project.


LIVE Design is great for showcasing passions, especially with user guests. In this post, we’re taking a look at various highlights from Kirby’s episode in some detail. In this particular episode, Kirby shares his inspiration for making a custom soundboard for his podcast. Of course, there’s more to making something than just software. In this episode, Kirby shows how he navigated the online resources and products to make his soundboard within a reasonable timeline and budget – even before he got to designing.


But of course, with this being “SOLIDWORKS” LIVE Design, we also learned how Kirby designed the keys’ basic shape before creating the soundboard’s exterior. The shapes and dimensions of the keys are important because the body must be sized around them, and the keys must protrude from the body to be operable.

As Kirby references the SOLIDWORKS model, he jumps into the xShape app to create a beautiful, swoopy design for the exterior. This xShape design can be opened later in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD as needed.

Kirby makes some cuts through the exterior to enable the wires to plug into the soundboard electronics so the soundboard can function. It’s important to note here: Kirby utilizes the Export feature in the 3D Sculptor’s xShape app to make the model body more portable. But keeping xApp and SOLIDWORKS designs synced natively by opening/saving through a simple 3DEXPERIENCE® connector inside SOLIDWORKS is most advantageous – especially when using the two in production!

Finally, Kirby demonstrates both his custom-made soundboard and a larger scale purchased soundboard (purchased once he felt confident that soundboards were here to stay on his podcast).

Learn More

For more of Kirby’s designs, go to Also, listen to The CORE Podcast, where SOLIDWORKS Champions Kirby and Jonny Harrison discuss design, making, and other cool topics.

Be sure to subscribe to our SOLIDWORKS YouTube channel for more live stream content, and check out for more information on previous and upcoming streams.

Sean O'Neill

Sean O'Neill

As an Industry Process Consultant, Sean's role is to help amplify the 'best of' both our products and our community, via the stories we showcase on our livestreaming programs (like SOLIDWORKS LIVE) and other digital outlets. Sean is also the creator of both the SOLIDWORKS Champions Program and the SOLIDWORKS Influencer Program.