How to use flex feature in SolidWorks

Overview: Flex feature is used in modelling to deform features in an instinctive manner.

 
There are different types of flexes. Example: Bending, Twisting, Tapering and, Stretching.
 
TIP: limitation of this feature is that this feature can only be used in single solid.
 
Image 1

This is an example of a bracelet which is modelled using flex feature in SolidWorks.
 
Step-by-Step use of Flex feature in SolidWorks.
 
Image 2

Sketch a rectangle on the front plane, and extrude it to produce a model which will look like a ruler.
 
Image 3

This solid will be used as an specimen in this example to illustrate the use of flex feature in SolidWorks.
 
To start the flex command, go to insert dropdown menu, select features, click on ‘flex’.
 
Image 4

This is the property manager for flex feature.
 
In this there are options to select the modelled part.
 
There are options to input the values for angle, selecting the trim plane, and triad.
 
Triad is a tool which is used to interact with SolidWorks to let the software know the current axis we are using.
 
Or Triad is used to input the axis. And/or set the angle.
 
The origin like tool in the middle of the model is triad. In the triad bend axis is located.
 
Image 5

Concept of bend axis: bend axis is an axis in flex feature about which the bending takes place, when this feature is used.
 
Image 6

There are two more planes which have to be selected while using this feature.
 
These are two trim planes.
 
These trim planes have two roles,
 
First is to decide the start and end position of the validity of this feature.
 
Second is to set the angle in twist flexing or set the radius in bending flex.
 
This setting is performed by dragging these plane in required directions.
 
Image 7

You can also set the angle of twist by directly entering the value in the angle dialog.
 
Image 8

Red arrows represent the trim planes.
 
To limit the effect of flex feature, set the trim planes to the limits.
 
To apply this feature on just half of the model, set the second trim plane to the half, and right click on the triad click on move triad to plane 2.
 
As represented in the following screenshot.
 
Image 9

This was the twisting part of the flex feature. Now let’s study the bending part in this feature.
 
Select the bending option on the property manager.
 
Image 10

Make sure that hard edges is also checked.
 
Image 11

By changing the bend axis, you can change the direction of bending,
 
Here y axis is set as the bend axis.
 
Image 12

Now select the z axis as the band axis and the bending direction will change accordingly.
 
Image 13

Setting z axis as the bend axis and moving the trim plane to the extreme point.
 
Image 14

There are numerous variations in this tool.
 
Contact us for more information about flex feature in SolidWorks at support@nccs.com.au or call 03 86770871