If a job can be automated in SOLIDWORKS and reduces the amount of time it takes to create I say do it, especially if it works every time. The flat pattern can be created automatically while making a drawing and since most parts require a drawing why not make your life a little easier with this tip.
What I have here is a basic 12″ x 12″ x 12″ box that you’ve probably seen a few times if you’ve followed these sheet metal articles. For this scenario I have to make a drawing for this part so it can go to the shop for forming. I also need a flat pattern to send to the laser. We can complete two processes in just one activity.
From the part I’m going to the white page at the top for New –> Make a Drawing From Part/Assembly –> choose the template I want. I’m going to create my views to assist in the bend operation. I’m going to take a top view, section that to get my side view, then make a detail view of the bend and finally, a small iso view in the corner.
Once I have my view it’s time to add in my flat pattern, but we haven’t created it yet. When I go to Model View –> scroll down to Orientation area and check the box for Flat Pattern this automatically creates a flat pattern view and configuration in the part.
With the flat pattern in place there are other options you may want, such as Flat Pattern Display or Flip View. A well experienced break press operator once told me to have most, if not all bends, to be up on the drawing the best I can. I then dimension up the drawing to my liking and go back to the part to verify that the flat pattern configuration has been created. From here you can right click and save out as a DXF or DWG.
More Flat Pattern Tips
For some more Flat Pattern related tips and tricks please read these articles: