Helical Sheet Metal Modeling

Ever needed to model a helical shaped bent/twisted/rolled sheet metal part in SolidWorks?  Sounds like fun huh?  Actually it is pretty simple with a few little tricks and the Lofted Bends command. 

Bent Helix

Start by creating a helix based on a height and revolution.  As I am working with a single part for auger flighting, I am creating my shape for 1 revolution with the intent of add multiple instances in an assembly for final welding.  Second, I will create two perpendicular lines as independent sketches on two perpendicular planes.  Now we can create our Swept Surface using the Helix as a guide curve.

Swept Surface

Next, we create an opening for the shaft by creating a sketch to match the ID of the flighting.  We create a Surface Trim command to remove this surface data.

Surface Trim


Finally we are able to create two 3D Sketches by selecting each edge of the helical swept surface and using Convert Entities for each one.  With these two open profile 3D Sketches we can create a Lofted Sheet Metal feature.  All we need to do is select each one, and chose a thickness to apply.

Lofted Bend

There you have it a sheet metal lofted part based on a helical swept path!  Enjoy!

Brian Reel

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