Thilina's Blog

I might be wrong, but…

Rapid Prototyping using Solid-works

An enclosure design play an important role when we introduce an electronic product to the market since the pricing of the product also depends on the flexibility and the appearance of the product. Also in the PCB design process shape and the space in the enclosure is very important since it will decide how the PCB design constructs will be. Rapid prototyping is used to model any hardware part so that we can obtain a fair idea about the product shape, how it will fits etc. We had introductory lectures on rapid prototyping in Level 3 for the module “Electronic design and Realization” in university. Past week I was lucky enough to design a model and to watch how the rapid prototype is developed through SLA machine. In this article I wish to share some of my experiences in RP design using Solid works and the prototyping process.

clip_image002I was working on an agricultural electronic project for a Local company for past few months and I used a SHT71 sensor of Senserion as an input to my project.

While working on the project I needed a connector for the sensor since I realised that it’s much better to use the sensor via connectors in testing stage. Since I failed to find a proper connector via internet or local, but finally decided to design one using Solid works and RP it. Few important steps in designing the prototype using Solidworks are as below.

clip_image001 Measure important parameters and sketch a design of your model.

clip_image001[1] Run Solid works, then File -> New and Select “Part” as design and click ok.


clip_image001[2] Select your working plane, (XY,YZ or XZ)


clip_image001[3] 2D drawings can be done using the tools under the sketch tab, the option “for construction” is a very important parameter in design, the construction lines are ignored while building the components and are only used to keep the geometrical relationships among the geometrical objects.


clip_image001[4] 3D drawings are done using the tools under the Features tab, there are number of parameters and options available under each tool and wish to add detailed descriptions on this in my future articles.


clip_image001[5] The feature manager design tree is another important tool in Solid works which stores whole design process, which allows you to roll back edit and roll forward which will be very useful in modifying a design.


clip_image001[6] Typical view of Solidworks user interface is as below.


clip_image001[7] When considering saving you can save your part under *.SLDPRT extension which can use in making assemblies (a component by connecting a number of parts)

clip_image001[8] *.stl extension is used to send the product for RP process.

clip_image001[9] It also allows save/export the design to a number of file extensions.

clip_image001[10] You can also add materials to your model in design.

Photoview 360 is a tool which comes with solid works it allows you to render and see your design.

Few images of rendered designs are as below.

clip_image016 clip_image018


Video below shows how the RP machine works.

This is the image of prototyped component and with sensor.


Thank you very much for reading.

2011 March 28 - Posted by | Electronics, SolidWorks, Technology


  1. There are nice open source & cheap alternatives for printing 3D objects with a good resolution.
    The one that I think is the best so far is called Makerbot :
    It costs about 1K
    You will find a lot of information about it.
    There is another concept called reprap, it is a 3D printer that can produce most of the parts to replicate itself ;)) But I read that it breaks rapidly.

    Comment by Philippe | 2011 April 6 | Reply

    • Hi,
      I heard that in rapid prototype also theres a chance of distortion in the model when it exposed to ultra violet light and also they noted me that the model can withstand to high temperature as well.
      Thank you very much for the link and comment.. 🙂

      Comment by Thilina S. | 2011 April 17 | Reply

  2. thanks for sharing this wonderful post

    Comment by Travis mills | 2011 April 22 | Reply

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    Comment by smile | 2011 May 30 | Reply

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