Designing the diamond pattern in SolidWorks

Continuing the discussion from CNC Routers for FRC Robotics: See the belly pan picture in post 1.

What is the process for designing a belly pan (and other pieces) that have the diamond pattern when using SolidWorks?

Do you want to layout your electronics/other parts on the belly pan without the diamond pattern and then apply the diamond pattern after, or do you want to layout the diamond pattern first than put your electronics on that?

Looking for the best way to do this.

Thank you.

I’ve always found this tutorial to be a great place to start.

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Usually do the holes first, then add the lightening pattern.

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I’m almost certain that they design the layout of the electronics then design the swiss-cheese. As for the technical aspects I think the best way would be to:

  • Make a sketch of all the mounting locations
  • Extrude-cut the lightening pattern (see the tutorial posted by Cad321)
  • Convert the mounting location sketch
  • Offset the mounting features to ensure sufficient material
  • Connect the offsets to the web intelligently
  • Extrude the now complete sketch
  • Add a carpal-tunnel-inducing amount of fillets

Reason I think that workflow is best is that it allows all of your individual sketches to be relatively simple and independent, so if you need to go back and change the webbing thickness/spacing or move the hole locations you should need to exert the minimum manual effort. Equations/global variables are also your friend for dimensions consistent across sketches and features.

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You can do it in either order, with different tradeoffs.

If you lay out the electrical board first, you can make a lightening pattern that minimizes weight and guarantees you’ll have mounting holes/strips/surfaces exactly where you want them. This is almost certainly how they made the one in the post you reference.

If you care more about getting the bellypan made ASAP, and know you’re not likely to finalize the electrical layout until pretty far into build season, you can just make a fairly generic diamond pattern and feel pretty confident that wherever you put your electrical components, you won’t be lacking for spaces to attach them to. This works best if you’re not relying on precision mounting holes (using double sided tape, for example).

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