January 7, 2016

SOLIDWORKS Flat Patterns


Flat patterns of complex geometries can be difficult to produce whether they be for sheet metal parts or even plastic parts.  Industries have different requirements and SOLIDWORKS 2016 has tools to help the designer achieve their goals. 

 Consider the following plastic cover:

flat pattern in solidworks

To create a flat pattern of the top curved, complex surface we simply use the flatten feature from the surfaces tab and select the faces and edges required.

flat pattern solidworks

In doing so, we have a flattened version of the surface shown in the component preview.  In SOLIDWORKS 2016 designers can now flatten any surface, including ones that contain holes.  In this example that mean the arrow marks.

flat pattern

By selecting perimeter of the 3D curved arrow and adding it to the Additional Entities property box, it is now included and formed onto the flattened pattern

In designing flat patterns stresses are induced when forming the shape.  To see the stretch and deformation the designer can simply right click the flat pattern and select deformation plot.

flat pattern stress

The deformation plot shows the areas of stretch and compression from the forming process. 

flat pattern deformation plot

In order to alleviate these stresses we can introduce relief cuts, a new function to SOLIDWORKS 2016.  


By selecting the cut line entities, the software will can update with a new flattened pattern.


Now when we check the stretch and compression plot as a result of forming, we find that the part is subjected to far less stress.

SOLIDWORKS 2016 delivers new and improved tools to help designers make flat patterns easier and quicker than before.

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