January 28, 2016

How to use SheetMetal in SOLIDWORKS?


Sheet metal and weldments are two very popular tabs for the manufacturing industry specifically with metal.  Both tabs have their merits.The reason why designers turn to sheet metal function is for flat patterns. Flat patterns are 2D representations of the sheet metal object that can be cut and then bent back into shape. In order to explore this feature let’s get acquainted with a simple sheet metal object starting with the following box:

sheetmetal box

We will model this simple box by first starting a sketch on the Front Plane.

sheetmetal solidworks 

Using the sketch tools lets draw a rectangle centered about the origin. Please ensure to have the sheet metal tab active. If it is not active simply right click on any tab (Features, Sketch, etc) and select Sheet Metal

sheetmetal box

Once the sketch is complete, switch to the sheet metal tab and select Base Flange/ Tab. This feature will allow the designer to turn the sketch into a sheet of specified thickness. It will also automatically convert the part into a sheet metal part. 

sheetmetal flange

Next, let’s create a plane to sketch the box profile.  A plane can be created by selecting Features & Reference geometry. Once reference geometry is active, select a line and vertex as shown to fully define the plane. 

sheetmetal box

Once the plane is defined, sketch the desired box profile.  Ensure that the sketch is fully defined. It may also be noted that this is an open profile sketch.


Next, let’s select the Mitter Flange function to create the walls of the box. Once the function is active, select all four edges to ensure the box is enclosed on all sides.  Parameters such as flange position, gap distance, offset, etc allow designers to manipulate and adjust the box walls until it is as desired.

sheetmetal box

The box is now complete!  Users may notice that at the end of the feature manager tree is a “Flat Pattern” icon under suppressed state. By simply un-suppressing the Flat Pattern, the designer has access to the completed flat pattern. This flat pattern may be used to cut the shape out of raw material before bending it back into our box.

Sheet metal features in SOLIDWORKS makes designing quick and easier for designers.  Sheet metal is available for all versions of SOLIDWORKS; Standard, Professional and Premium.

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