I need to design a solid model for an elastomeric keypad. With most of the2D design work now done in AutoCAD it is time to move it to SW. I am looking for recommendations as far as the best approach to attack this. Here are some areas of concern:
First, I've had trouble trying to import even single DXF layers into SW as the basis for a sketch. Within ACAD each button type is a multi-layer block. I only need one of the layers for SW sketch purposes. The touble is that SW only seems to want to bring in one of the instances of each blocks rather than the whole 50-some button keypad at once. I've resorted to turning off all layers except for the one I want prior to saving a DXF, to no avail. Next I'll try to explode all entities before DXF output to see what happens. Any recommendations on this front?
The design has about fifty buttons of four different types. Ideally, I would create solid models of the five buttons and then bring as many as I need of each into an assembly. There are two possible variables:
(1) The height of the buttons is dependant on the thickness of the panel that they will protrude through. This is not yet known but assumed to be0.125in. at the moment. This may very well be half that by the time it is actually made.
How do I create a part and/or assembly that can take the panel thickess as a parameter for extruding the buttons? The formula would be something like "height = panel_thickenss + button_protrusion". The "button_protrusion" parameter will be different for various buttons and might range from 0.000in to 0.100in.
(2) Each button will have a different legend or graphic laser cut onto the top.
How do I design a part that I can then replicate many times within an assembly yet change the legend sketch during assembly creation time?
As I get into the assembly there are other considerations. One is that the buttons are joined at the bottom by a silicon rubber matt about 0.050in thick. The easiest way to model this is a simple 0.050in rectangular extrusion. However, each button has an underlying structure that cannot be filled in by this matt. My thinking is that the model for each button will be designed with a small square section of matt, enough to allow for the underlying structure and also to aid in mating. How do I get the button to cut a hole in the solid matt when placed into the overall assembly?
Simarly, I would like to have each button cut a suitable hole in the front panel based on a given clearance, say 0.010in. What's the best way to approach this?
I've been reading a lot on the archives about issues with incontext mates and related assembly matters. As a new user (about two months) some of this is confusing/daunting in that there's great fear of making assemblies that self-destruct (I've already had that happen). The worst of it is not knowing whether it is a "free SW feature" or an aspect of the approach taken in building either the parts or the assembly. I've taken the one-week "SW Essentials" course and will probably follow-up with the Advanced version after I get about six months' experience. For now, I could use a shove in the right direction.