Designing Sheet Metal Parts for Manufacturing using SOLIDWORKS


SOLIDWORKS 2017 sheet metal training course now available

[dropcap]S[/dropcap] heet metal parts are made by bending and forming flat sheets of metal. In SOLIDWORKS, you can view these parts as the finished product as well as the flattened out pattern, allowing you to calculate the materials needed for manufacturing. SOLIDWORKS takes Cam Follower Bearings prototypes and manufactures them on a larger scale. In our 2017 SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal course, we take a look at making sheet metal parts using two methods: creating a solid part from sheet metal, and converting a solid part into sheet metal.

Starting from sheet metal

First, we discuss how to design parts from a flat piece of sheet metal, beginning with defining the initial geometry from a sketch using the base flange feature. Forming the metal into exactly the shape you want requires using a number of sheet metal features throughout the design process. These features allow for flexibility and control over your final design. Using the edge flange, swept flange, and tab features, you’ll add different types of flanges and materials to your part. As you begin to refine your design for production, you’ll use features like jog, hem, and break corners to modify your models and add details to your part.

Converting from a solid part

Next, we’ll show you how to use the convert to sheet metal feature to convert a regular, solid part into a sheet metal part. There are several reasons you may want to use the Convert to Sheet Metal feature.
  1. If the part can only be designed using solid body modeling.
  2. If you only have existing geometry from imported models to work with.
  3. If you are unable to extract the feature history of a part when transitioning from one software to another.
Additionally, there are some parts that must be designed using regular SOLIDWORKS features and can’t be designed as sheet metal parts from the beginning. You’ll learn how to take these ordinary SOLIDWORKS parts and convert them into sheet metal designs using the rip and insert bends features.

Design Library

To help you save time when adding standard cuts and punches to the models, we’ll show you how to utilize the Design Library and forming tools. Forming tools are pre-saved in the Design Library and are standard across industries. In order to have specific forming tools readily available, you’ll learn how to modify existing forming tools and create forming tools from scratch.

Preparing for manufacturing

Finally, you’ll learn to communicate your manufacturing design intent by creating sheet metal drawings. We’ll show you how to properly document your drawings with punch tables and export your designs as DXF or DWG files so that the manufacturing team can produce your part.
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Phylicia Clifton
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