When it comes to modeling with SOLIDWORKS the one theme that persists is flexibility. There are always many ways to do the same thing. This flexibility means you can take the countless SOLIDWORKS tools and use them in a variety of ways to create just about anything. The only challenge, sometimes, is how to get started. In this week’s Video Tech Tip, we show you how to get started with creating a sheet metal part in SOLIDWORKS. Think of this as two ways to do step one for creating a sheet metal part.
Sheet metal parts are made with a constant thickness. They start out as one flat sheet and then are cut and bent to make the final product. When it comes to creating a sheet metal part in SOLIDWORKS you have two choices for the first step: converting to sheet metal or building up from a base.
Method 1 – Base Flange
For this option you start with the Sheet Metal option right away. First, you do a sketch and then define the sheet metal options like thickness and default bend radius. Then, you build up from here. It’s very easy to add edge flanges and other sheet metal features from the base. This is the most straightforward approach but it could prove difficult to create complicated shapes.
Method 2 – Convert to Sheet Metal
For this option, you start with a 3D shape and then convert it to a sheet metal part. Converting the shape will take the existing solid or surface body and convert it to a constant thickness sheet metal body. This enables you to use the familiar sketch tools to create the shape of the sheet metal part. So typically, this option is reserved for more complicated sheet Metal shapes.
No matter what method you choose, you’ll be able to use the full suite of sheet metal design tools to create whatever concept is on your mind.