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Using the SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Bounding Box to create Flat Pattern Data

Article by James Swackhammer created/updated September 6, 2019

Several times in my career I’ve had rush jobs that need an estimate right away, or, the material might be a long lead request/special order coming from another city or in some cases a different country. Having the basic dimensions of a part can help make this happen. Previously I showed how to automate the creation of the flat pattern but now I’m going to show you how we can take that a step further and automate the outside dimensions.

Sheet Metal Flat Pattern

Sheet Metal Flat Pattern

Looking at my well used example sheet metal 12″ x 12″ x 12″ box and the flat pattern configuration, we can see the automated bounding box is in a diamond shape and doesn’t portray the part how I want the outside dimensions to show.

Automated bounding box

Automated bounding box

In the Features tab and under References choose Bounding Box. The default box is set to best fit, if that doesn’t produce the box you want then you can click on Custom Plane and choose a plane to make the box go around. If the default plane doesn’t give the outcome you’re looking for, you can also create a plane and then change the bounding box.

Configuration Specific Properties

What I like about the Bounding box feature is that it automatically creates properties in Configuration Specific Property Manager. This will add length, width thickness and volume – I suggest adding in weight as well.

Configuration Specific Custom Properties

Configuration Specific Custom Properties

What this bounding box creation as well was add these custom properties into a BOM and placed it on the drawing. I then deleted the dimensions that the Bounding Box created to clean up the drawing. If you’re going to do this, I suggest saving this BOM style.

Sheet Metal Drawing

Sheet Metal Drawing

Save as a BOM Style

To save this BOM style, click right on the top left 4 arrows of the BOM and click Save As at the bottom. Choose where to save the BOM style but just make sure that SOLIDWORKS is linked to it when you go to do this again. The file type should be .sldbomtbt.

Save the BOM style

Save the BOM style

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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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