SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal and Flat Pattern View Direction

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One of the questions that came out of one of our training classes today is “How does SOLIDWORKS determine the direction of the view layout for the Flat Pattern view it automatically generates?”

So we started looking and trying out different options and here is what we found, prior to SOLIDWORKS 2011 we were unable to specify a Grain Direction in a sheet metal part so the Fixed Face viewed Normal To was the direction for your Flat Pattern. With SOLIDWORKS 2011 SOLIDWORKS added a series of new properties for Sheet Metal parts that a lot of information that is useful for manufacturing. Two of the Properties are Bounding Box Length and Bounding Box Width and because of this SOLIDWORKS now lines up your Flat Pattern view with the Length in the Y and your Width in the X directions, thus for many people not give them the desired view layout. So if you want to change this you can use the Grain Direction, found by editing the Flat Pattern feature, and selecting an edge or sketch line for the Grain Direction (X).

Grain Direction

The alternative option is:

  1. Select the view to rotate.
  2. Select the Rotate View icon found in the Heads-Up Toolbar.
  3. Enter the value of the rotation angle.

Rotate View