SolidWorks Lofted Bends for Complex Sheet Metal Parts

SolidWorks and it capabilities with Sheet Metal parts is second to none and one of the questions that always comes up is how do I flatten out those really complex parts. The answer to that question is relatively simple and it is to use the Lofted Sheet Metal Bends. Now there is a little work to do to get the desired result and I have an example that we are going to go through in this article.

Example 1 – Flattening a Helix

(Special Thanks to Ray Baade from Ace Metal Crafts for providing the example part)

We start with a Sweep, this could be done with a helix but we went with the other approach of using a Sweep with the Twist Along Path With Normal Constant Option.

Helix-Step1

Next to get the ends to a Normal state we added a couple of Cut Lofts

Helix-Step2

We then created two 3D Sketches converting the inside and outside edges and used Delete Body to remove the current model and get us ready to make our Lofted Sheet Metal feature.

Helix-Step3

Our last step is to create the Lofted-Bend by selecting our two sketches and assigning a Material Thickness.

Helix-Step4

You can see the result in our flattened part.

Helix-Step5

I hope this design help you with your parts that you need to create. I have attached the part to this post for you to review. Helix

Josh Altergott, CATI Support Manager

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Josh Altergott
Josh Altergott is Support Manager at Computer Aided Technology, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations in Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. He is a regular contributor to the CATI Tech Notes blog. http://blog.cati.com/