Certification Series – (CSWPA) Part 2. Sheet Metal

The Advanced Sheet Metal Exam

Welcome back! My name is Julio Calles and I am stoked to walk you through some tips and tricks that can build your confidence while you prepare for the CSWPA. As a  reminder SOLIDWORKS offers a variety of different certifications that can help you stand out in today’s competitive market.

My colleague, Dan, covered The Advanced Drawing Tools Exam and today I want to cover Sheet Metal!

Let’s dive in…

Julio C

Overview of the Exam

The Sheet Metal CSWPA is designed to test your skills and ability to use SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal tools in a quick and efficient environment. The exam consists of fill in the blank as well as multiple choice questions. The following topics are covered in the exam:

  • Creating flanges such as edge flange and miter flange
  • Using the Closed corner feature
  • Gauge tables
  • Bending calculation options
  • Bend allowance
  • Bend deduction
  • K-Factor
  • Creating Hems
  • Use of the Jog feature
  • Sketched bend
  • Forming tool
  • Unfold and fold
  • Flatten
  • Convert to Sheet Metal
  • Hem improvements
  • How to create multi-body sheet metal parts
  • Understand sheet metal cut list properties

Time: 90 minutes
Minimum of 100 points out of 145 points are required to pass

*Make sure to have Excel installed on the computer you are using to take your exam.

Experience Preparing and Taking Exam

First things first, you should be familiarized with all of the features under the Sheet Metal toolbar ribbon. These are covered in depth during the 2-day sheet metal course offered here at DesignPoint.

Sheet Metal Toolbar Ribbon

My first resource to start studying was the Sheet Metal Sample Exam provided by SOLIDWORKS. When looking at the sample exam I decided to take it without referencing any resources prior to help me understand where I needed additional development. After having taken the sample exam for the first time I decided to go on YouTube and look at a couple videos of other engineers’ approach on the sample exam. The videos provided a lot of insight to tips and tricks I was unfamiliar with. In addition, going through some of the exercises from the SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Training book proved to also be useful. The books are available for students who take the course here at DesignPoint. Finally, I took the sample exam once again using the tips and tricks learned online which helped me gather a lot more confidence.

Something that you definitely need to understand before you take this exam is K-Factor. In SOLIDWORKS the K-Factor is just another way to calculate Bend Allowance. It is a ratio that represents the location of the neutral sheet with respect to the thickness of your sheet metal part. There are tables where this information can just be referenced but a basic understanding of the material science might help you visualize what’s going on. So when you bend the metal it stretches and the K factor is one way of knowing how far to stretch it.

SOLIDWORKS K Factor calculating Bend Allowance

The K-Factor is calculated as follows:

  • BA: bend allowance (BA=pi(R+ KT) A/180)
  • R: Inside bend radius
  • K: K-Factor which is t/T
  • T: material thickness
  • t: distance from inside face to neutral sheet
  • A: bend angle in degrees (angle through which the material is bent)

Learning Goals and Tips

Make sure to use the “Swept Flange” as much as you can, it will help you save time overall.  It is a feature very similar to the “Sweep“ feature. For the path you can also select the edge of your part to sweep it along.

Swept Flange in SOLIDWORKS

After having taken the exam I was glad that I had spent some time working on Convert to Sheet Metal exercises. One of the exercises from Lesson 4 in the SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Training book proved to be a great exercise to learn the ins and out of the feature, especially when creating multi-bodies. To do this, simply click “Keep Body” in the feature (please see picture below). When you select “Keep Body” the software will keep the body in case you would like to make additional conversions out of it or perhaps any other function it may serve as.

Keep Body

In addition, always try to create the edge flanges under the same feature rather than using separate edge flange for each separate edge. When creating them separate you will most likely end up like the picture below where there is intersecting material between the flanges. When adding them under the same feature the system automatically trims them for you!

Flanges. Good and Bad

Don’t be afraid to give our Support Team a call if you have any questions, we love everything about SOLIDWORKS and will always be happy to help.

Good luck!