SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

Introducing the Surface Flatten Tool in SOLIDWORKS

By Stephen Petrock on February 21, 2019

Creating designs in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD can sometimes be complex and nothing is too easy. Many of the shapes have intricate designs and details, which makes them complicated. With the diverse set of tools at your fingertips available in SOLIDWORKS, creating shapes is pretty straightforward. But creating the CAD model is just step one.

Conveying your design intent and then ultimately getting the product manufactured finishes the process. The surface flatten tool introduced a few years ago can help you share your design with various stakeholders. Check out this week’s Video Tech Tip to see how you can use the surface flatten tool in SOLIDWORKS.


The surface flatten tool can be used to take your complicated 3D models and turn them into a flat 2D surface in just a few clicks. This tool is not just for surface models, it works for solids as well. 

To use this tool on solids select the faces you want to be leveled and the tool calculates the flattened shape. There might be some shape distortion in the process, what is known as a non-developable surface, and that’s ok. The surface flatten tool will show the distortion presented in terms of compression and stretch in the shape. 

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