More and more I see FRC teams using sheet metal or wondering about using sheet metal. If you have a part that is of constant thinkness, you can consider using sheet metal. I personally used sheet metal for laboratory robot design. It’s strong, light, easy to fabricate and when time is an issue – sheet metal is a great option.
So here are Marie’s tips - some may have been proposed by others but I thought I would put them together.
- SolidWorks Sheet Metal is available to all teams. Right-click in the Command Manager in SolidWorks. Click Sheet Metal to get all the sheet metal tools.
- Usually you design in 3D and then create the flat pattern in 2D. I like to flatten after every feature I create, just to be sure the part will flatten. I recommend if you are new to sheet metal, go through the sheet metal SolidWorks Tutorial under Help>SolidWorks Tutorials.
- If you have a sheet metal mentor or sponsor, ask “what is your bend radius” or “what is your preset tooling” Don’t enter in a bend radius of .5 (theoretical ) or 0 (what you think you want), these don’t exist – really. Don’t use a hole diameter, that isn’t a standard for your sponsor or sheet metal house that you work with. This will save time.
- New at SolidWorks 2013 is the ability to export the flat pattern right to DXF for manufacturing and to create multi body sheet metal parts.
- How much will it cost and when can I have it? Try Solid Quote from Rapid Sheet Metal http://my.solidworks.com/item/015100/0550050104. Solid Quote is a free Add In that will give you an idea on how much things cost and how long it will take. The app works with SolidWorks and PTC Creo.
- Simple Stress. Stay away from holes close to edges. Ask your sheet metal manufacture for rules of thumb based on material, thickness and your design. A little conversation up front, saves design time and mistakes.
Once, I went to a senior citizen center and talked to a "tin knocker" before I picked up a mouse for a new project. You can learn alot from an experienced tradesman. Marie