Importing Sheet Metal


SolidSolutions has recently welcomed another 11 Technical Interns to the team, they are currently being put through a 12 week induction and as part of this they’ll be blogging about what they’ve learned. Having recently sat on the SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal training course we asked our Sheffield Trio – Will, Alex & Jordan – to explain how to turn imported files into fully functional SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal.

So let’s start with Alex’s explanation of the Convert to Sheet Metal tool.

Convert to sheet metal

“Convert to Sheet Metal” allows the user to quickly convert parts into sheet metal models, from there a flat pattern can be automatically created. This is a useful tool if the initial part has been created using standard part modeling features such as extrudes and lofts. The tool also works well on imported Sheet Metal files, to use it simply follow these steps.

  1. Define the desired thickness and bend radius either by selecting a gauge table or by entering it manually. In this example, I have used a sample table for steel and selected 14 gauge with a 2.54mm bend radius.
  2. Select a fixed face, here I have selected the bottom face has been selected as the fixed entity. This decides which face the remaining faces are bent from.
  3. Select required “Bend Edges” to define the bends in the sheet metal part. SOLIDWORKS will then automatically select “Rip Edges” which create cuts in the sheet metal body.
  4. Due to the structure of this component it is impossible to bend the fourth edge to complete the shape, so we’ll need to use a “Rip Sketch”. A “Rip Sketch” will cause a “Rip Edge” to be added at a chosen location based on the geometry of the sketch.
  5. Where two edges meet the gap and type of corner; Open Butt, Overlap, Underlap, can be selected for all or individually. For this example, I have selected an Open Butt corner type with a 1mm gap
  6. The part is now converted to sheet metal and can be viewed as a folded or flattened part.

Want to know more?

Visit the SolidSolutions blog to view more methods for working with Sheet Metal parts from our new engineers Jordan and Will.


NT CADCAM is the UK's most established SOLIDWORKS reseller in England, Scotland and Wales. Offering a fully supported CAD and CAM product portfolio and high levels of expertise internally, makes NT CADCAM unique within the SOLIDWORKS community, giving customers the confidence and assurance they need that their support issues will be dealt with both promptly and efficiently. As a SOLIDWORKS Certified Training Centre, NT CADCAM provides clients with fully certified and accredited trainers who are experienced engineers. NT CADCAM is part of the Solid Solutions Group.