Forming Sheet Metal Flanges


Sheet metal design can be a complex design process! Today, lets focus on how we can use and manipulate geometry in SOLIDWORKS to create sheet metal bodies with some stepped edge flanges.


Edge Flanges can be used to add an attached wall to any sheet metal body. The edge flange will inherit the radius and thickness parameters of the base flange. Ensure you have the Sheet Metal tab enabled in the CommandManager. Next, let us explore how we can add and manipulate edge flanges.

Manipulate Edge Flange Parameters in the Feature Manager

A feature that can often get missed is the ability to edit the flange profile. The profile sketch can be manipulated beyond just a simple rectangle. It must be a closed profile that connects to the original selected edge. Relations can be added and deleted as well! For this exercise, we are going to delete and add relations to add parallelism to the edge flange.

Redrawn Edge Flange Using Sketch Relationships


You can add bend lines to a flat face of a sheet metal part with a Sketched Bend feature. This lets you dimension the bend line to other geometry. Sketched bends only allow lines in the sketch and the bend line also does not have to be the exact length of the faces you are bending!

Using Sketched Bends to Create Stepped Bend Profiles


You can also create this sheet metal part by converting a solid or surface body using the Convert to Sheet Metal tool. After you create the part, you can apply all sheet metal features to it. In the FeatureManager you specify the fixed face and thickness of the sheet metal part, the default bend radius, and the edges on which to create bends.

Using Convert to Sheet Metal from a Solid Body


We can modify our new sheet metal part further by adding an extruded cut to one of the flanges. In this example, creating a line as you would with sketched bends will create a break where the extruded cut can be controlled.

Creating an Extruded Cut to Modify and Create Final Result


So, what have we learned? Ultimately, there are multiple ways to use the sheet metal tools within SOLIDWORKS to reach your solution. Based on the geometry created within this blog post, building a solid and converting to sheet metal after the fact could be simpler. If you’re looking to enhance your skill with the sheet metal tools, DesignPoint offers an excellent two day training course on SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Design that will teach you all about sheet metal design and aid in preparation for you to take the Sheet Metal Certification!