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Exporting Inventor sketches to sheet metal flat patterns

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One of the new sheet metal enhancement in Inventor 2011 is the ability to associatively copy a model sketch into the flat pattern environment.  this could be useful if you have things like score lines you want to layout on the model, and should transfer into the flat pattern as well.  Let’s take a look at the procedure:

  1. Create a new unconsumed sketch in the sheetmetal model.  Don’t worry about color or linetypes yet, but change any non-relevant geometry to construction if you like.
  2. Right click on the model sketch and pick “Copy to Flat Pattern”.
  3. Enter the flat pattern environment and edit the properties (color, linetype, lineweight) of the copied sketch geometry.
  4. Save the flat pattern as a DWG, DXF, or SAT file and it will include the copied sketch geometry as well.

This can save a lot of unneeded flat pattern cleanup that might otherwise be required before programming CNC code off the flat.

Inventor – Sheet Metal Rules

What is a sheet metal rule?

Sheet metal rules include:
• sheet material and thickness
• bend and corner relief preferences
• miter, rip and seam gap value
• unfolding rule selection
• flat pattern punch representation (applied by default to sheet metal features during flat pattern creation)
• flat pattern bend angle reporting preference

•Easy way to organize sheet metal design properties that are unique to multiple vendors
• Consistency across designs
• Consistency in a multi-user environments

Video link: Created by one of the Cad Geeks

Sheet Metal – Using Legacy Flat Data

Many times we need to use existing 2D data to create 3D folded models within Autodesk Inventor. This data may be living in a dwg or dxf file format. This blog consist of the steps and video that speaks of some of your options when importing this data and creating the 3D model itself.
Steps used for using legacy flat data:
1.Start new sheet metal part, start the insert AutoCAD tool
2.Select dxf or dwg file
3.Select import options
4.Clean-up imported geometry trim and extend tools
5.Finish Sketch
6.Select Sheet Metal rule to be used
7.Use Face tool, select geometry
8.Create new sketch where needed project bend lines
9.Use fold tool to bend selected areas
10.Continue steps 8 and 9 until your part is completely folded

Video link:
Created by one of the Cad Geeks

Importing 3D Geometry into Sheet Metal

With 3D becoming more popular daily many companies are exchanging data in a 3D format and not to mention that the translators you find in the products these days also makes exchanging data easier than ever. Still there is a need to take that 3D data and bring it into the sheet metal environment to generate flat pattern layouts. Today we will take a look at using an iges file and the steps needed to use it within the Inventor sheet metal environment.

Video link:
Created by one of the Cad Geeks

Inventor Sheet Metal – Contour Roll

I just wanted to take a look at the Contour Roll command inside Inventor 2010. Of course this command will be found in the sheet metal environment, and by the way you can make some really cool shapes with it. So what is a contour flange:

A contour flange is defined using a profile sketch and a straight edge on an existing face. The profile sketch consists of lines, arcs, splines, and elliptical arcs. Contiguous geometry in the profile results in bends in the contour which honor the bend radius value of the sheet metal style. The contour flange can be offset to either side of the profile sketch.

One more important item of note since it lives in the sheet metal environment let’s not forget the automatic flat pattern that can be provided. Let’s take a look.

Video Link:

Created by one of the Cad Geeks

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