Common SOLIDWORKS sheet metal issues

Have you ever seen any of these sheet metal issues with SOLIDWORKS?

These are some pretty common sheet metal issues. With the first image above usually one or the other of these situations will occur. You’ll either end up with a flat view of your bent part or, more commonly, you’ll wind up with a bent view of your flat pattern.

Understanding how SOLIDWORKS works with sheet metal parts can help us determine what is going on. When you create a sheet metal part, you have 1 configuration: Default. Once you make a drawing of a sheet metal part, SOLIDWORKS creates a derived configuration of this named DefaultSM-FLAT-PATTERN to be used in drawings.

If you have a situation where one of your views is flat, or not flat, like it should be, the fix is pretty easy. Open up the model, and go to the offending configuration and click on the ‘flatten’ button on the command manager:

This will flatten/unflatten the current configuration which will result in your views updating:

The next situation can come into play if your Bend Allowance is incorrect. In my example above, I’ve got a part that’s clearly over 10” long with a flat pattern showing as 2.5” long.

This occurs when your Bend Allowance is not set correctly. For more information on how bend allowance and bend deduction are determined, please reference the following help topic:

With large radius bends like the one I have shown, it’s not good to use a bend allowance (as I did). Bend allowance is the arc length of the bend as measured along the neutral axis of the material. By using Bend Allowance and providing a value, that tells the software that the length of the bend, in the flat state is equal to the value provided. When working with a set bend allowance for a given thickness material with a default radius, it can be easy to overlook it if you roll a part to a larger radius. In cases like this, I tend to have the software use the K-Factor. K-Factor is a ratio that represents the location of the neutral sheet with respect to the thickness of the sheet metal part. (Where 0 = the length of the part along the inside radius, and 1 = the length of the part along the outside radius).

Hopefully this can help you troubleshoot some common sheet metal issues going forward.

Fred Zobel
Senior Support Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.

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