SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Curvature Overlaps

Article by James Swackhammer updated April 17, 2020


Sometimes when you create a sheet metal design you must adhere to standard sheet metal sizes and what your company or outsourced company can cut on laser/plasma/water jet machines. Most companies will have tables large enough for a length of 120 inches but the lucky few might have lengthy tables doubling that to 240 in., or even 288 in., specialty lengths.

So knowing the maximums you can cut will help dictate the design. Taking a look at my silo roof design below — currently it’s just one large piece of steel. I know I can’t cut this, roll this or even lift this on top of the silo. So I need to make pieces. Making pieces has its own problems, like how do I attach one piece to another?

Cut Extrude

Cut Extrude

Cutting Pieces and Connecting Overlaps

Let me show how to do that. With my sheet metal loft already created I need to start breaking this out to manageable piece parts. First I need to think about how many I can/want to create then do a simple cut-extrude. Here lies the catch to this process when doing the “simple” cut-extrude, make sure to turn off Normal cut as this is not needed and will creates errors down the road.

Edge Flanges

Edge Flanges

Because this part is arced and curved there are sever limitations and typical commands will not work. To make this as easy as possible I just created a couple of edge flanges on one side. When connecting the parts together there will be a natural weld edge. A few alternates to this is to have the opposite flanges on the opposite side to have an under and overlap.

The way this could be created flattening the part out and using a forming tool. This might be the hard way but is far more accurate. The downside to this is it won’t be shown in the completed part/assembly as features created in the flat pattern are suppressed in the formed state.

Sheet Metal Part

Sheet Metal Part

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James Swackhammer

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