Unfolding/Refolding Sheet Metal



Once a sheet metal design has been completed, a logical next step would be to create a 2D drawing of the part.  Since sheet metal designs require an unfolded drawing view for manufacturing purposes, a simple process is available for unfolding your completed part and then returning it to its folded state.

  1. Select the part at the part editing level.

  2. From the Tools menu, select Sheet Metal - Unfold Sheet Metal Part (or from the Tools Fluent Ribbon Bar).  The part is displayed in an unfolded state in the scene.

  3. At this point, you would proceed with the steps for creating a 2D drawing of a sheet metal.

  4. Once the unfolded drawing is completed and you’ve returned to the scene environment, select Sheet Metal - Refold Sheet Metal Part from the Tools menu to return your part to its folded state.


Example of a sheet metal drawing with unfolded and folded part views


Note: It is important to note here that when a sheet metal part is unfolded, a configuration is automatically created for its unfolded as well as folded state, as verified by accessing Configurations from the Format menu. Changes made to an unfolded sheet metal part will not be saved if refolded.


Also, the sheet metal part will display an arrow to denote the Up/Down direction that is used in the 2D Detailing Environment. Bends that fold in the direction of the arrow refer to Up bends and Down would be the opposite direction. When creating 2D Detailing Views, the bend line call-out can display the bend direction that will refer to the 3D directional information.


The user can specify the direction and orientation of unfolded sheet metal parts using its anchor. The anchor of a part can be moved to an alternate stock or bend feature to reference the selected feature as the unfold base.


The original anchor position in the illustration below is on the shape indicated by the pointer.




When the part is unfolded, the original anchor position results in the following direction/ orientation of the part.




To reposition the anchor, select the sheet metal part, select "Move Anchor" from the Shape menu, and then click on an alternate bend/stock shape to relocate the anchor. Alternately, you can select the anchor and then use the TriBall to reposition it. It is important to note that if you place the anchor on a bend feature, the reference position for the unfold orientation will be relative to the "first" bend stock of the selected bend.


When the part’s anchor is moved to the shape indicated by the pointer in the following illustration:

the unfold orientation is adjusted, as follows.


SMAnchor2.gif    SMAnchorUnfold2.gif