How to Flatten a “dumb” solid in SOLIDWORKS

Article by Vicky Guignard updated April 11, 2016

Article

It is very common in the sheet metal industry to share or receive files from other CAD platforms. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to recreate the part in order to get everything that we need out of it. SOLIDWORKS has great tools to convert imported bodies allowing us to work with imported files as we would with a native SOLIDWORKS file.

One common example is when you need to obtain a pattern from an imported .STEP or .IGES sheet metal part file.

Steps required to Flatten a Dumb Solid

Here are a few simple steps to take in order to flatten your imported part:

  1. In the SOLIDWORKS open dialog set the file filter to the required file type, in this example it is a STEP file (*.step / *.stp)
STEP Options

STEP Options

  1. Then select Options from the window before opening the file
Pick Options

Pick Options

  1. Select the Perform full entity check and repair errors, and Automatically run Import Diagnostics (healing), click OK then open the imported file.
File Format Options

File Format Options

  1. Say yes to Do you wish to run Import Diagnostics on this part?

Step 4

  1. Then select attempt to heal all from the import diagnostics PropertyManager, then Ok.
Import Diagnostics

Import Diagnostics

  1. When asked, do you want to proceed with feature recognition say NO (you could say yes, but for this particular instance we want to convert our .step file to a sheet metal part so that we can have the flattening capabilities, and it will be simpler to do so with just a simple imported body).
FeatureWorks Dialog

FeatureWorks Dialog

File imported into SOLIDWORKS

File imported into SOLIDWORKS

  1. Under your Sheet Metal toolbar, select the Convert to Sheet Metal tool
Convert to Sheet Metal tool

Convert to Sheet Metal tool

  1. For the Sheet metal gauge, I will select the gauge table, and select Sample table steel table from the pull down menu. You could always select your own custom tables. Set it to your desired gauge.
Use Gauge Table

Use Gauge Table

  1. Under Sheet Metal Parameters, you will need to select a fixed entity, that is the face from which all the bends are from.
Select face

Select face

  1. Under Bend edges, you could select individual bends or click on the Collect all bends button.
Collect all bends

Collect all bends

  1. When done, click on the green checkmark/Ok to accept. This has created 3 new features in your feature Design Tree:
  • A Sheet Metal Folder, which contains your sheet metal parameters
  • A Convert Solid Folder, which contains the bends used for this part
  • A Flat Pattern feature that you can unsuppress to view your Flat pattern at any time
Sheet metal folders created

Sheet metal folders created

You now have a sheet metal part with sheet metal parameters that you can flatten!

flatten a dumb solid

Flattened Part

Learn more about Sheet Metal

Take a SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal training course either online or in a classroom near you.

Related Links

Get Certified SOLIDWORKS Services from Javelin

Javelin Experts can help you to:

Posts related to 'How to Flatten a “dumb” solid in SOLIDWORKS'

Find Related Content by TAG:

Vicky Guignard

Vicky has been working in the CAD industry since 2010 and has a background in machine design and steel structure design. Vicky works closely with the Javelin sales team, helping to solve complex customer challenges utilizing the SOLIDWORKS product line. She is also an instructor for Javelin and delivers private, and public training in Western Canada, as well as online through Javelin's JOLT training. Vicky has been an Application Engineer with Javelin since 2014.