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SolidWorks Sheetmetal

By Matt Lombard For CVSWUG meeting October 20, 2005

Portions borrowed from Mike Sabochecks sheetmetal presentation

Sheetmetal Rules
Sheetmetal work in SolidWorks requires that you remember a couple rules: Parts have a constant thickness Thickness faces are always perpendicular to the bend faces (material is never sheared at an angle) The bend faces are limited to cylindrical, planar, conical shapes
The exceptions are form tools and Lofted Bends

The next 6 slides show examples of Sheet Metal Parts Determine whether or not the part can be flattened with the reason why.

First correct answer wins a Prize.

The Flatten Test #1

Can it be flattened: Yes or No? Why?? Or Why not??

Ans. = No, Sphere

The Flatten Test #2

Can it be flattened: Yes or No? Why?? Or Why not??

Ans. = No, Partial Torus

The Flatten Test 3#

Can it be flattened: Yes or No? Why?? Or Why not??

Ans. = Yes, all planes and cylinders

The Flatten Test #4

Can it be flattened: Yes or No? Why?? Or Why not??

Ans. = Yes, all planes and cylinders

The Flatten Test #5

Can it be flattened: Yes or No? Why?? Or Why not??

Ans. = Yes, All cones

The Flatten Test #6

Can it be flattened: Yes or No? Why?? Or Why not??

Ans. = No, Spline geometry. Where??

Insert Bends Flatten Bends No Bends Rip Base Flange / Tab Miter Flange

Old School

Unfold Sketched Bends Edge Flange
New School

Closed Corner
Hem Break / Trim Corner Jog Lofted Bend

Sheetmetal Functions

New School vs Old School

There are two basic methods SolidWorks sheetmetal can be used: Model the part using regular SolidWorks functions like extrude, revolve, etc.
This is Old School
Generally used only for imported parts and rolled parts

Start with an open sketch and a Base Flange feature

This is New School
Much more powerful Way more options

New School vs Old School

If youre new to SolidWorks (since, say 2001), you may not realize there was an old way.

It used to be the Old School way was the only way to model sheetmetal parts in Solidworks.

The old way works, but it is very limited and you have to constantly mess with feature order to get it to work right.

You should use the newer methods by default.

Base Flange
Base Flange requires an open sketch

Edge Flange
Select an edge, hit the button, pull the flange Flange Length and Position buttons are self explanatory Offset allows you to create a dogleg flange You can also change the angle of the flange

Edge Flange
Edit Flange Profile allows you to change the sketch of the flange and alter the shape

Miter Flange
Miter Flange requires an open sketch on the edge of the part

Propagate to tangent

Allowance for flattening

Fold / Unfold
To put a feature across a bend, unfold the bend, put in the feature, then fold it again

Use offset entities to make slots! Select face to remain stationary

Collect finds all the unfolded bends

There are no settings for the Tab function, it just adds a tab to the sketch face

Sketched Bend
Draw a line all the way across the part
Dont cross bend lines Line must go all the way across Control bend angle and direction Black dot selects stationary face

Like a double sketched bend on steroids Allows you to keep the original length of the tab or add material as it jogs

Buttons and dimensions should be self explanatory

Way cool.

Corner Break
Chamfers or rounds sharp outside corners

Puts you into a selection filter model to pick short edges across the thickness and bend faces

Selecting a face breaks all corners on face

Forming Tools
Forming tools drag and drop from the Design Library

Forming tools maintain a constant thickness (they may add mass to the part)

Red faces create holes in the part

Only works on sheetmetal parts

(Use Indent, or Deform Surface Push for non-sheetmetal parts)

Forming Tool Trix

Here are a couple of things that youre not supposed to do with forming tools
(examples on my website)

Form across bends


Forming Tool Trix

For other things that forming tools cant do, use the new Flex tool in SW2005 for sheetmetal and non-sheetmetal parts

Lofted Bend
Lofted Bend is meant to make a looks like transition from one shape to another. This does not strictly adhere to regular sheetmetal industry practice for parts like this

Lofted Bend
Lofted Bend can also be used to do all sorts of things you shouldnt do with sheetmetal:

and yes, these can all be flattened out

Old School
Chamfers or rounds sharp outside corners
Rip corners Build box shell Insert bends


Old School
Old school is very order dependent New school has a suppressed feature that remains on the bottom of the tree

Finer Points
How does SW handle bend allowances? K Factor Bend Allowance Bend Deduction Bend Table

A very good mathematical description of how SW handles bend allowances is available as a Knowledge Base article on the SW website.

Finer Points
How does SW handle bend reliefs? Tear = zero thickness cut Rectangular = default depth is half of thickness Obround = full round cut

These settings are kept in the Sheetmetal feature in the tree.

Finer Points
Sheetmetal automatically creates a link value called thickness, which allows the thickness of the entire part to be changed at once

Link Value symbol

More Info from Sean Adams all sorts of Technical info Society of Manufacturing Engineers Technical Moderated Groups Tons of Sheet Metal info Tech Newsletter SolidWorks Express Newsletter