Every new SOLIDWORKS release contains hundreds of enhancements, and with that many enhancements, not all are covered at our Value Added Reseller (VAR) Rollout events.
One enhancement that I have been waiting for made it in the 2019 release of SOLIDWORKS. In years past, there was no connection between defining a material for a part and its sheet metal manufacturing characteristics (ie. Bend Allowance). For example, you could easily define the part’s material to be “AISI 304 Steel” but then select a Gauge Table for Aluminum in the Sheet Metal Properties.
No longer! SOLIDWORKS 2019 introduces some new intelligence that closes this gap, and I’ll show you how.
First, I’ll get started with a new, empty part. In the feature manager, just right click (RMB) on the existing material and select “Edit Material”.
To create a new Sheet Metal specific material, you will need to add a new “Custom Material”. For organizational purposes, I first create a new sub-folder (Category) specific for my Sheet Metal materials. Organize this in a manner which best suits your company’s needs.
At this point you can create a material from scratch, but to make things easy I’ll just copy an existing material as a starting point – in this case 1060 Aluminum Alloy – and paste it in my new “Sheet Metal” Category (Simply Right Click any existing material, “Copy” and then “Paste”). For additional clarity, I renamed the material to “1060 Alloy – SM” to differentiate it for anyone else that may utilize my new material definition.
Now for the exciting part! Within this new material’s properties, if I scroll to the right I discover a “Sheet Metal” tab.
Within the Sheet Metal Tab, I can select the Sheet Metal Process specific information to use whenever this material is selected. This information is retained in the material properties for future use. *For more specifics on each of these selections, be sure to check the “Help” for a detailed explanation.
Lastly, when using the material in your next sheet metal design, be sure to select “Use material sheet metal parameters.” I used one of the supplied sample tables in this example, so be sure to create your own based on your available tooling and stock sizes. In this case, I only have the Gauges and Bend Radii available that we frequently use.
To fully reap the benefits of this new feature, be sure to get your entire team utilizing this new material. Your “Custom Materials” database can be located on your shared network drive; the location is defined in Tools, Options, “File Locations”.
As you can see, SOLIDWORKS packs each new release with 100’s of productivity enhancements based on Customer Driven Enhancement Requests. So be sure to spend some time reviewing the “What’s New” guide. Additionally, if you have you run across some functionality you would like to see changed or enhanced, be sure to Log In to the Customer Portal and fill out an Enhancement Request today!