SolidWorks Electrical - Creating 2D Cabinet Layouts

By Elliot Weber


The tools inside SolidWorks Electrical used to create 3D layouts are incredibly powerful, since they use the physical model dimensions and locate them in 3D space. However, if you need to quickly organize your electrical enclosure you may use the 2D cabinet layout tools in the SolidWorks Electrical 2D Application.  In our project, we assign physical locations to our components.


Define the properties in the location tab


In the properties of these locations we define specific manufacturer components from our database of enclosures, din rails, ducts, etc… The electrical components will also have manufacturer parts associated. These parts not only contain a reference to a 3D model, but also to a 2D footprint. Here is the workflow on how to create a 2D cabinet layout:

  1. We access the the layout command through the Process tab.
  2. Then, we select the locations where we wish to create a 2D layout. This creates a new drawing for each location selected in our project.

Access the layout commands through the process tab


3. We now have a cabinet layout tab that appears and allows us to add parts if we haven’t already defined them for that location. Also, any parts associated with that location will be shown as components that can be inserted into the layout drawing. One thing to note is that when inserting the enclosure, the size of the enclosure is typically larger than the title block and will need to be scaled down.


SolidWorks Electrical - Selection Menu

Insert as cabinet


4. The electrical components and their associated manufacturer parts may be inserted into the 2D layout drawing. It uses the 2D footprint from the manufacturer part database. As each of these 2D footprints are placed, they are associated with the electrical component as a symbol. It is possible to have a electrical component that is associated with a line diagram symbol, schematic symbol, control symbol, manufacturer parts, 3D SolidWorks part, and 2D footprint.


Cabinet Layout in SolidWorks ElectricalLayout in SolidWorks Electrical


5. When placing multiple components, we may specify the spacing between components as well as the order of components. This is especially useful when we have a number of similar components to add such as a terminal strip. We can set the spacing to be 0mm between terminals. This places every terminal alongside each other in that strip.

 Placing multiple components


6. We finish our 2D layout by adding ducts contactors, PLCs, breakers, transformer and terminals. When adding ducts and din rails, we may specify the exact length. We may even choose to add dimensions to call out exact locations. Individual components may be placed with a right-click>Insert.


 Adding ducts contactors, PLCs, breakers, transformer and terminals


This 2D layout tool is managed entirely in the 2D application and makes a great compliment to the 3D layout capability we have with the SolidWorks Electrical 3D add-in. It’s quick, easy to use, and uses your existing manufacturer part database. 

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  • How do I add the cabinet or internal panel? When I click on the add cabinet button, it tells me I have to select a location from the cabinet layout panel to execute this command. I already gave it a location when I created the drawing page and the Cabinet layout panel shows all my components, not any locations.

  • Can you please fix the pictures? They aren't showing up.


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