SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal: How to Create Custom Form Tools


Creating a custom forming tool for SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal should start by taking advantage of the Forming Tool feature. The Forming Tool feature is used to define the stopping face, the faces to remove, and the insertion points.

It is also recommended to save the custom tool as a form tool file type (*.sldftp), this will provide more flexibility on where the file is stored.

Let’s get started by using an existing part file that contains a boss, fillet features and a sketch.

solidworks sheet metal form tool part

The area inside the sketch will be removed using the Form Tool Feature, but we need to separate the faces using Split Line first. Let me show you that real quick.

Click  (Features tab and expand Curves icon). Click Projected and Single direction. Select the sketch to project and the face to be split. Hit the green check mark.

solidworks sheet metal form tool split line face

A new face is created and can now be selected separately.

solidworks sheet metal form tool new face

Now let’s use the Forming Tool command to identify the stopping face for the tool, faces that need to be removed and the insertion point when the tool is applied.

Click   under Sheet Metal tab. Select the top face for the Stopping Face and the separated face as the Face to Remove.

solidworks sheet metal form tool

Let’s establish the insertion point. Click the Insertion Point tab. The insertion point (green dot) is at the geometric center of the stopping face. We will need to create a coincident relation between the origin and insertion point.

solidworks sheet metal form tool relations Hit the green check mark twice.

The Form Tool feature is created and colors are applied to the model to clarify the geometry.

solidworks sheet metal form tool color example

  • Cyan = geometry not included in the tool
  • Red = faces to be removed

Without a Form Tool feature, the cyan geometry would have to be removed and the red appearance would have had to be applied to the faces manually.

Now let’s create the actual Form Tool. Click File, Save As and select file type Form Tool (*sldftp).

Name the file Emboss with Keyhole and save it to the appropriate Forming Tool folder C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2018\design library\forming tools.

Or create your own directorie.

solidworks sheet metal form tool saving as

The Form Tool is now created and can be used simply by dragging and dropping on to your part.

solidworks sheet metal form tool in design library

Drag and Drop the Emboss with keyhole on to a face and use the Form Tool settings to rotate, flip or even change configuration.

solidworks sheet metal form tool on another part

Now we can use the position tab to place the Forming Tool with a few Smart Dimensions.

solidworks sheet metal form tool position on another part

There you have it. You have successfully created a custom form tool and placed it on your part.

solidworks sheet metal form tool emboss on another part

Somethings you may want to consider when creating Your Form Tool.

  • Save to a folder that is marked as a Forming Tools Folder. Right click folder and select.

  • Add a second Form Tool feature rather than patterning it, this will ensure sketch geometry placement for both.
  • Confirm thickness of Forming Tool to Thickness of Part file.
  • Make sure Link to form tool is selected in the PropertyManager. So if you change the original forming tool, the changes propagate to target parts where you use the forming tool.

Have a great day.

Roger G. Ruffin Jr.

Sr. Application Engineer

Computer Aided Technology