SOLIDWORKS and ExactFlat make the design of soft goods easy [VIDEO]

Article by Dimos Siagoulis updated June 10, 2016

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Soft goods design such as shoes, bags, bedding etc., come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Since shoes, for example, are so common it is easy to underestimate the effort that goes into designing the perfect fitting shoe. That being said, you can quickly tell the difference between high and low quality shoes by simply walking around in them.

Soft goods design is not as simple as you would imagine, there are a number of steps that must be done prior to manufacturing. With the help of a SOLIDWORKS add-in called ExactFlat, the process can be done much more efficiently.

The Manufacturing Process

The soft goods design and manufacturing process begins with a 3D CAD model that needs to be flattened into 2D geometry. The traditional method of flattening involves a master pattern maker piecing together the design over a 3D form to look for sags or wrinkles and eliminating them.

Soft goods design process

Design > Flatten > Pattern > Nest > Cost > Document

ExactFlat uses various algorithms to optimize the mesh of the soft good product to eliminate the wrinkles and sag in the design freeing up a lot of time and manual labor. A great thing to note is that these algorithms support multi-threading so the more cores your computer has the quicker the optimization will be.

Flattened Shoe Design

Flattened Shoe Design

Exactflat also allows you to add seam allowances, seam types and notch chains on your pieces. Once this is done you can begin nesting. Simply click nest and ExactFlat’s algorithms will begin to nest your pieces. ExactFlat recognizes material properties when deciding how to nest each individual piece.  For example, thickness, grain direction, piece gaps and edge buffers are all taken into account during the nesting process. You can add some constraints to your nest by changing the run time or locking the rotation of a certain part etc.

The video below shows exactly how you can convert your 3D CAD file into a 2D Pattern for manufacturing.

Learn more about ExactFlat

Visit our ExactFlat microsite to learn more about the SOLIDWORKS add-in and the different applications for the software.

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Dimos Siagoulis

Co-op student from McMaster University on my second work term at Javelin Technologies Inc.