Sheet metal parts in SOLIDWORKS are generally used as enclosures for components or to provide support to other components.
You can design a sheet metal part on its own without any references to the parts it will enclose, you can design the part in the context of an assembly that contains the enclosed components, or you can design the part within another part document in a multibody environment.
Step-by-Step use of this feature in SOLIDWORKS:
We can just start off by creating some sketch geometry,
We are just going to do half of the component in this case because we are going to maintain the symmetry throughout the whole component.
Add some dimensions onto the sketch as shown.
Now that we are done with dimensions, we can just go to the sheet metal tools, just going to start off with the base.To use sheet metal tools, go to feature toolbar, right click and add sheet metal tools,
Go to base/Flange tab.
This tool is pretty much exactly the same as extrude feature in SolidWorks.
But we’ve got some options for the thickness of the sheet metal.
Select the sketch after selecting the base/flange tool in sheet metal tools.
This is the menu pallet for base flange tool in sheet metal tools,
This looks pretty much the same as extrude tool, but this has some additional options for thickness and bend allowance, which we will use as K-factor for now.
After applying sheet metal tool, click ok.
Now we are going to use a miter flange tool,
TIP: miter tool is used to add more material to the sheet metal.
Add the sketch which will form a part of the sheet metal.
Miter tool pallet.
Make sure use default radius is checked.
Set the flange position.
You can select more edges to add the sketch to the whole of your sheet metal design.
You can see that this will also miter the corners.
You can also change the position of the material.
If you don’t want to go right from the bottom you can also set the offset, just enter the value to the offset row and click ok.
So you can produce a quite complex sheet metal and the geometry is pretty easy which is one of the perks of using SolidWorks
Next, we are going to use edge flange, this works like surface extrude feature.
Initiate the tool, and select the edges that you want to extrude. Drag the edges to set the value of extrusion.
Applications for using sheet metal.
The example we took above can be mirrored and some more features can be applied and we will get this.
This designed can be modeled by using two reference planes and using the loft command in sheet metal in SolidWorks.
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