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How to automatically create a SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Flat Pattern Configuration

Article by James Swackhammer created/updated August 12, 2019

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.

Sheet Metal Box

Sheet Metal Box

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.

Flat Pattern in drawing view

Flat Pattern in drawing view

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.

SOLIDWORKS Flat Pattern Configuration

SOLIDWORKS Flat Pattern Configuration

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.

Flat Pattern

Flat Pattern

More Flat Pattern Tips

For some more Flat Pattern related tips and tricks please read these articles:

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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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