How do I CAD wires?

Please, I need help CADing wires because I do not know how.

What software are you using? I know Solidworks has an electrical module and Creo has built in stuff for doing wires. Not sure about Inventor.

If you don’t have to, don’t. Only CAD what you need.

I don’t know what you’re using it for or what program you using but if you find out I would like to know, Robots would look much better in CAD

If you are using inventor, I used this tutorial a while back to learn

Sometimes (generally at 2 AM) you just want to do unnecessary stuff to make your renders more beautiful :D.

115 tried doing wires in Solidworks for a couple years. It was extremely time consuming and wonky to get the program set up to do it using the wire-maker deal Solidworks has, and ultimately didn’t help us anyway.
Your efforts are best spent somewhere else. Anywhere else.

Remembering to leave room for electronics is important. Actually CADding the writes themselves isn’t. But if you really want to and you’re using SolidWorks, you can create a custom structural member profile. After you do that, you can basically play connect the dots with a spline and the structural members tool will create the wires pretty easily.

Happy CADding! (But seriously, I’d find something else to spend your time on.)

But… beautiful renders…

In all seriousness though, ya CADing wires really isn’t important (especially not during the hectic time that build season is). While I do mess around with CADing wires once in a while, its generally after build season when I have a bit more down time.

If you ever get a chance to see a Holy Cows robot in person, check out the wiring. The ones I’ve seen, the wires look like a CAD model. Just beautiful!

Trick questions, you don’t. Closest thing that would be worth your effort is CADing tie down points.

Here’s a chance.

I feel the need to offer a little bit of a counterpoint to everyone saying to not do wiring in CAD.

I believe that is worth trying to do at least once, preferably in the offseason.

Yes, it’s a trap, but it’s a trap for a lesson worth learning.

Draw a circle on the xy plain. Then draw a line from the center of the circle on the z plain zig zaging through space. Now loft the circle along the line.

Another (admittedly debatable) counterpoint:

Do it…but don’t use the fancy, tricky to learn, time consuming spline based routing environment that Inventor and Solidworks provides. We’re looking for fast, dirty, and easy here…if it works for wiring the real thing, it should work for CADding it, right?

Don’t even try to be that realistic. Equation curves? Splines? 3D sketches? Too much time! Stick to basic sweeps off of 2d sketches, and even then, only straight lines and arcs. That’ll cover most everything. Funky bit where this doesn’t work too well, like a wire looping from a PDB port down to flat with the bellypan? Don’t worry about it, it was small and probably insignificant. We’re after the big things.

Still, it seems like a lot of time and effort. So find ways to make it easier. Lots of wires taking similar paths? Model them all together on a single sketch packed in tightly and systematically, or maybe just as a single tube. Go out of your way to have as many wires in that path as you can, it’ll save you that much more time, right? Spending lots of time finding models of all your connectors? Work to standardize, maybe even replacing bunches of little connectors with options that can be approximated as one big block. Trouble squeezing wires through a small space? Make it bigger or adjust your routing, it was probably going to be tricky in real life anyways. Losing track of where wires are going to/from? CAD lets you colorize things with a click of a button, maybe develop some kind of labeling system based on that. Can’t set up your work planes quite right to get a wire to run through space the way you want? Just build it along pre-existing structural members instead. Still running out of time? Just say that some wires go through a tube piece – no one will ever know they aren’t actually modeled, right?

What you’re left with is an approximation, which may not resemble the way you currently wire at all. Extremely straight lines, with a lot of wires taking the same path. Very little floating in free space. Lots hidden by structural members. Multiple connectors replace with one…

…hey, this is starting to sound pretty great, isn’t it?

Of course, you’ve still got to follow through on the actual fabrication. But that can be a lot easier with a picture in front of you of how it’s all supposed to go.

Being lazy about your real-life wiring leaves you with lousy wiring. Being lazy about your CAD wiring can accidentally give you great results in real life.

Of course, even this method is still near the bottom of the list of “productive ways to spend CAD time.” This is only helpful if everything else is basically all set.

1 Like

This is honestly not something I would pursue during the season because you can simply leave the correct spacing in your design for the wires to pass through. This is going to increase your rebuild time dramatically and is not going to serve much of a purpose.(like modeling threads which is sort of pointless) If you do this, make sure to use lightweight mode and even better, speedpak the assembly the wires are contained in. Do not do this at the top level assembly or you will have a really bad time!

But to answer your question and give you the means to actually do it, this video (start it at about 12:40) below is one of the more proper and easier ways to create your wires without using SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D or any automated routing features. This will give you the most control and the most accurate routing available to your student level of SOLIDWORKS. This entire 3D sketching video is really well done if you want to learn about additional techniques such as welded frames.

2338 uses the Autodesk Harness Environment extensively, and it’s hugely beneficial. The tutorials in the help menus are very helpful. I strongly recommend to any team with the manpower to dedicate to harness CAD, do it. Knowing what the electrical will look like, and knowing what fits where before you put it in the robot makes life a million times easier.

That last link with 1538’s wiring, where do you buy those cable bus connectors that are on the CIM motors and speed controllers? I am about to order a ton of them.

The ones on the CIMs are Anderson Powerpoles. My teams use these absolutely everywhere, and they’re wonderful. You can snap them together and configure them into block connectors of any size.

Andymark has the 10-12 gauge size: Powerpole Kit 50 Red and Black Housings 100 Contacts - AndyMark, Inc. I also recommend having the 30 amp, smaller gauge size on hand. This site has a more complete selection:

The smaller ones right on the Talons are Deans Ultra connectors. Amazon has them, as do many other places:

Knowing how to plan and model wiring is a useful skill… It can be done in the robot build season as well.

OP, please respond with what software you are using and what you would like to get out of the effort.

This might be useful background information if you are using SolidWorks.