SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE Works xApps Project Part 5: 3D SheetMetal Creator

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated September 23, 2021

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We are continuing with our 3DEXPERIENCE Works circular saw project by tackling the design of the base plate. The current design is fairly simple, consisting of a flat sheet metal plate. For the redesign, we are going to take advantage of some of the tools available inside of the 3D SheetMetal Creator Role (xSheetMetal App) to add some features and complexity to the part, while ensuring manufacturability.

Watch the video below for the complete details of how we redesigned this base plate!

Creating a New Base Plate with 3D SheetMetal Creator

The new base plate will generally follow the same design as the original. So instead of starting our base plate from scratch, we can take advantage of our existing geometry and save ourselves a great deal of time. Using the Convert Entities command, we can turn existing model edges into sketch geometry.

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Base Plate

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Base Plate

New Base Plate Design

New Base Plate Design

Once the sketch is complete, we can use the Wall command to give it some thickness. When the first sheet metal feature is added to your component, the app will prompt you to specify the sheet metal parameters. These are the parameters that will be applied by default to all subsequent sheet metal features.

3DEXPERIENCE Sheet Metal Bend Radius

3DEXPERIENCE Sheet Metal Bend Radius

Adding Bends to Your Design

We want to ensure that our circular saw will glide easily across a number of materials. To do this, we will bend the front lip of the base plate at an angle. Start by sketching a line on the top face of the base plate where we want our bend to go. Then, using the Bend From Flat command, select the sketched line, a fixed point and the angle for the bend.

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Adding Bends to Your Design

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Adding Bends to Your Design

Create Additional Walls

For the other three sides of the base plate, we want to add material in the form of vertical walls coming up from the base plate. The Wall on Edge command allows us to create a wall using existing edges from other walls. Simply select the edges where you want the walls to go, and specify the desired height and angle of the walls.

Create Additional Walls

Create Additional Walls

Notice that the relief options that we had specified previously are automatically applied.

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Relief Options

xSheetMetal Relief Options

Integrating the Component into the Sheet Metal Design

The current design has a separate angle bracket component. However, in an effort to reduce cost and streamline our design, the angle bracket can be converted into sheet metal flange that mimics the angle bracket.

Integrating Components

Integrating Components

Before we can create the angle bracket, we need to add a clearance cut to our base plate. Using existing model edges, we can add sketch relations to my sketch to ensure correct positioning. We can then use the Cutout command to remove the material from the base plate.

Following the same steps as we did with the design of the new base plate, we can convert the existing geometry into sketch geometry, making any edits to the sketch as needed. Even though this sketch is out of plane to the base plate, it can still be used with the Wall on Edge command to add a wall to our design.

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Wall on Edge

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Wall on Edge

Ensuring Manufacturability

The new angle bracket flange looks great, but it will not do us any good if it cannot be manufactured. When working with sheet metal components, we are often looking at our part in a folded or flat state, making it easy to miss potential overlaps being created. The Check Overlapping command detects overlapping geometry in both the flat and folded states. With this information, we can take a measurement of our overlap and edit the dimension for the clearance cut to resolve this issue.

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Ensuring Manufacturability

xSheetMetal Ensuring Manufacturability

Applying a Material

The last step in the redesign process is to apply a material to our base plate. Using the Apply Material command, we can browse the material library and apply a brushed aluminum material, ensuring that this part has the correct material properties as well as an appropriate appearance for creating realistic renders of the circular saw.

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Applying a Material

3DEXPERIENCE xSheetMetal Applying a Material

The 3D SheetMetal Creator role with the xSheetMetal xApp make it easy to work with sheet metal designs. Whether you are designing components from scratch or reusing existing geometry, the suite of available tools will make it possible while providing seamless integration with the rest of the 3DEXPERIENCE design apps and fostering collaboration with the rest of your team.

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TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.