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Designing 90° Sheet Metal HVAC Duct in SOLIDWORKS – Part 3 of 4

Article by James Swackhammer created/updated February 6, 2019

Welcome to part 3 of this adventure of making a large sheet metal HVAC duct. We left off in part 2 splitting the single body duct into 7 bodies. Today I’m going to demonstrate how to save the bodies out and how to convert into the desired thickness of gauge sheet metal.

Using the “Split Command” gave use random names and numbers for our parts. I will first start off by renaming/renumbering the parts starting from the inlet and ending on the outlet. To reveal the bodies I hit the drop down option. Note: renaming the parts is a slow double-click.

Save the bodies into individual parts

To save the bodies out to individual parts I will right-click on the bodies folder and in the middle is “Save Bodies”. A new command comes up. I selected all parts by checking all the boxes. Before I end the command, there’s an option to make all these bodies into an assembly. I did this, but keep in mind that it’s certainly not needed. The new assembly can be saved by selecting where you’d like to save and you can name it accordingly.

Save Bodies

Save Bodies

Note: if you do the optional assembly from the “Save Bodies” command the parts will only be fixed in place and no mates will be established.

Convert Bodies to Sheet Metal

Moving on to converting these bodies into sheet metal parts is only a few step process that will be repeated for all 7 segments. I’m going to start with the inlet opening. In the “Sheet Metal” tab on the far right is “Insert Bends” option and I’m going to use this. I need to select a fixed edge or face, so I’m going to select an edge on the slit we made. Once I complete the command, it’s important to notice that there’s now sheet metal parameters added on and I’m able to flatten this.

Convert to Sheet Metal

Convert to Sheet Metal

My last step is to save this out as a DXF or DWG to be modified or go directly into the nesting program.

Important: please be careful when selecting a face to export, as it’s easy to select the incorrect side and get a reversed flat pattern. Pay close attention on what edge you’ve selected to be stationary and how the part flattens.

Save as a DWG/DXF

To change this into a DWF or DWG, all you have to do is right click on the face and select the option to export (near the bottom). I used the “Save As” and selected the correct file location. Next I can select different faces, views or sheet metal so I’m going to select “Sheet Metal” and click the check mark. I now get a new box with what the DXF/DWG will look like. If there are sporadic lines, here’s where you can delete them before the file is saved.

Save as DWG/DXF

Save as DWG/DXF

The last few steps is rinse and repeat for all parts. Follow this to the next article to see how to modify the DWX/DWG’s to get a nice laser/plasma and roller/press friendly part.

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James Swackhammer

James is a SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Application Expert based in the Javelin Oakville head office

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