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CAD software like SOLIDWORKS makes sheet metal design quick and cost effective. This course gets you up to speed with the sheet metal tools in SOLIDWORKS for designing parts and assemblies, and then takes you on a trip to the factory floor to see the final manufactured results. First, you'll learn to create base features, flanges, and bends that add strength and connections. Then find out how to flatten parts and add holes, cuts, and corners that are manufacturing ready, and use the Convert to Sheet Metal command to convert imported geometry into native sheet metal parts. Author Gabriel Corbett also shows you how to create assemblies from multiple parts, use the Pattern and Mirrors tools to effortlessly duplicate existing work, and then document and export your designs. Finally, take a tour of a sheet metal fabrication company and learn about the machinery and processes that occur during manufacturing.
A raise of parts or features can be used in the apart or assembly mode of SolidWorks. In this example, we'll cover using the Pattern tools on the part level. The Pattern tool needs two basic pieces of information. Number one is what to pattern, and number two, what direction do we want to pattern in. This can be any edge in the direction that we need to place the parts in. We saw some examples of this in the chassis walkthrough, and now we're going to add onto that design. First we're going to cut a hole on the front panel, and then build a cover. We'll then pattern that cover. To get started, let's take a look at that front face.
You can see here, that cut already placed on the front cover there, and what we want to do is take that cut, and we want to pattern it along that front panel. So let's go over to the linear pattern under the Features tab, inside of there I want to choose the direction I want to pattern in. So I'm going to choose this linear edge at the top. Soon as I do that, I get a little example of what's going to happen, and obviously they're too close together. So I'm going to type in 4.0 as my spacing between the parts, and four of them looks good, because they're patterned across the entire face, and when you are happy with that, we can go ahead and select Okay.
You notice I am using the Features to pattern, so I am patterning that feature alone, not the bodies or faces, and click Okay. Now, we have added those cuts. Now, what I would like to do is actually build a lit cover. It's going to go over one of these and we will pattern the covers well. So, let's pick the front face. Start a sketch. I'm going to click on the space bar, and click on normal two. Then you come down here. Now, what I want to start with is a little center line from the top of that cut-out down to the bottom, and then when I go in, and I'm going to use the center point rectangle.
I'll snap right to the midpoint of that. Makes it easy to go in, and add a couple dimensions. This case here 4.0 and this line over here, 1.0. And that way it's always centered no matter if that cutout moves anywhere in the design, I'm linked right to it. Okay. Let's go to sheet metal, let's go to based flange tab, and this case we're going to be making a little flange. Let's go ahead and choose reverse direction because you can see it's actually interfering with the front panel. I'm just going to push on the outside and then turn merge result off because I really want this to be a separate piece, and click on OK.
Then I can add on to this, maybe an edge flange on the bottom. Bring it out a little bit. Give it a length 0.5. Looks good. Click OK and continue adding on to that body. It can cut the holes. I can add some fill-its, whatever I need to do. Now that I have independent body, I can now pattern that body across the front panel. To do so, let's go back to Features, let's go up to Linear pattern. Let's choose direction one and come down here, 4 inches is good. But instead of features to pattern this time, I want to come down to bodies to pattern.
I want to take that entire cover, and pattern it along the part. Now, I can choose it here from the view window, or I can go up here, expand out the tree, and come down and choose, from the cut list, that last feature. You can see that I already had four inches in there. So that's going to give it a nice spacing between the parts. They all happen to be touching then. Click on okay. And I'm going to pattern that part all the way down there, so you have close parts touching all the way down the part. And that's exactly what we're looking for. Patterns can really save a lot of time and can quickly be changed.
Use patterns for features, parts, or assemblies.
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