Flat Pattern Views for Sheet Metal Multi-body Parts

Article by Alin Vargatu, CSWE created/updated December 13, 2011

SOLIDWORKS has supported sheet metal multi-body parts for the last two releases, but that still came as a pleasant surprise for me.

The advantages are huge and clear — you can design all your sheet metal components in the context of one part, generate a handy cut-list and sprinkle the drawings with nice balloons, like in assemblies. You can even include structural members or regular solids if needed. Oh, and let’s not forget how nice the Edge Flange can bridge two separate sheet metal bodies (fig. 1). Magic!

Sheet Metal Multi-body Parts

Fig. 1 – Edge Flange Merging 2 Bodies

What about drawings?

The problem seems to appear when you need to create drawing views for flat patterns. You do not seem to get the Flat Pattern option in the “Model View” dialog box.

If you take a moment to think about it, you cannot have a Flat Pattern for the whole part, since it is now an “assembly” of sheet metal bodies. But each body has its own Flat Pattern. So let’s take another look at the “Model View” dialog box. Have you noticed the little “Select Bodies…” button (fig. 2)?

Fig. 2 – Select Bodies…

Click on it. You will be sent back to the part model and ask to select one or more bodies. Since you want the Flat Pattern view, select just one body – the one for which you want to create the strip layout.

Fig. 3 – Select the Body for the Flat Pattern

Now you will see the Flat Pattern option (fig. 4).

Fig. 4 – Flat Pattern View

That’s it. As I said… a pleasant surprise in the end!

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Alin Vargatu, CSWE

Alin is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and an avid contributor to the SOLIDWORKS Community. Alin has presented multiple times at SOLIDWORKS World, Technical Summits, and User Group Meetings, while being very active on the SOLIDWORKS Forum.