The Sheet Metal module of Solidworks is an extremely useful addition to the Solidworks modelling box of tricks that sometimes get overlooked. This collection of specialist tools allows users to create 3D parts from flat sheets of metal. These can be made in 3D and then ‘virtually unfolded’ within Solidworks to give a fast, cheap and easy manufacturing method.
A Whole Suite of Sheet Metal Tools
Solidworks Sheet Metal contains around twenty specialist tools that allow the creation of brackets, sheet metal enclosures and many other Sheet Metal parts. These include various flange and edge options, as well as more complex options like Lofted Bends, Gussets and Forming Tools.
One of the most useful aspects of Solidworks Sheet Metal is the ability to flatten, or unfold, 3D designs after modelling. These ‘flat patterns’ can then be easily cut using simple machines like laser cutters, reducing production cost and lead time.
Not Just For Metal!
Despite the title, the Solidworks Sheet Metal module can be used for many other types of models than Metal. It is especially useful for creating 3D packaging, such as cardboard boxes. The flat versions of these models can then be exported to your favourite graphics editor, allowing you to create accurate artwork that looks great when used with rendered 3D models.
Learning Sheet Metal
Although many of the Sheet Metal tools are fairly simple to use, once you are familiar with them, it can be difficult to relate them to real-world models, especially if you are used to Solid modelling and don’t have any real-world experience of Sheet Metal parts.
Luckily Solidworks Engineer Johno Ellison has created a comprehensive online learning course that covers the background theory of Sheet Metal, as well as explaining every tool in simple and practical terms. Get the course free for three days using the following link: https://bit.ly/34hVHrT
Happy modelling and rendering!
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About the Author: This is a guest post by Johno Ellison, a design engineer with over fifteen years or experience, who specializes in SolidWorks 3D CAD modeling. Johno is the author of the following online SolidWorks courses:
Master Solidworks 2019 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2018 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2015 – 3D CAD using real-world examples