Tips & Tricks: Sheet Metal modelling tricks


For many SolidWorks users, designing sheet metal models is commonplace. Users will certainly often have an accurate picture of what a sheet metal model should look like but designing it can sometimes raise questions.

Below are a few modelling techniques for Sheet Metal parts.



Cone-shaped Sheet Metal parts are traditionally always modelled in SolidWorks using the ‘Lofted Bends’ feature. However, when using this feature, it is always worth remembering that the appearance of bending lines at bending points has its own conditions.

Bevel lines and points are formed in a cone created with the ‘Lofted Bends’ feature only when the Loft profiles used have an identical number of lines and / or arcs. That is, when, for example, a cone is “lofted” from a rectangular shape to a round one, the program cannot form bending lines if the circular shape is implemented with only one circle. If, for example, 5 straight lines and 4 arcs have been created in the sketch of a rectangular profile, then the corresponding 5 straight lines and 4 arcs must also be created in the sketch of the round profile. The figure below shows an example of such a cone. The second image shows the corresponding lines and arcs indicated by arrows.


YouTube There is more information here.



Sometimes there is a need to modify the geometry of the page to be bent. In this case, the ‘Edit Flange Profile’ function in the ‘Edge-Flange’ feature can be used. In this function, the program enters sketch mode, so that the side to be bent (a rectangular sketch in the initial situation) can be edited. For example, the sketch can be detached from the ends of the plate by dragging the lines attached to the ends of the plate toward the center of the plate. The sketch can be resized, and relations can be added to it. The figure below shows the simplicity of using this feature.

SolidWorks help There is more information here.



In SolidWorks, there are two ways to convert a piece modeled as Solid geometry to Sheet Metal. When a part is a Sheet Metal part, it can be shown in the model and drawing in its so-called application geometry.



When the model is already “plate-like” and has a uniform wall thickness, the ‘Insert Bends’ function can be used. This feature can be used, for example, for Sheet Metal models created in other design systems and imported into SolidWorks. This feature can be found in the Sheet Metal tools or in the SolidWorks Insert menu under ‘Sheet Metal’> ‘Insert Bends’. The figure below briefly shows how to use the function. Under ‘Fixed Face’ is the surface of the board that you want to be fixed when the model is converted decided. When the sheet has the uniform wall-thickness required by the Sheet Metal section, the program automatically detects the bending points of the sheet. The bending radius determined in this function change the sharp corners on the plate. The bending radius that already are on the plate retain the bending radius.



The ‘Convert to Sheet Metal’ feature (SolidWorks Insert menu> ‘Sheet Metal’> ‘Convert to Sheet Metal’) can be used to take advantage of a previously modelled closed volume. That is, one shape can be extruded and dimensioned, and then either all or part of this shape can be shaped into a Sheet Metal section. Like the ‘Insert Bends’ function, this function defines a fixed surface under ‘Fixed Face’. Bending points can be selected under ‘Bend Edges’. A short example of using the function is, for example, the trough shown in the figure below.

SolidWorks help Here is further information on the various techniques that can be used to convert a model to a Sheet Metal section.


This was a brief introduction to a few techniques. You can always contact our support service if there is anything left to worry about. Also, keep in mind that there are a lot of different SolidWorks-related videos on YouTube-PLM Group.


Best regards Sheet Metal

Niklas Johansson

PLM Group Support

Was this article helpful?
1 out of 1 found this helpful



Please sign in to leave a comment.