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Creating flat patterns

From: Sheet Metal with SolidWorks: Enclosure Design Project

Video: Creating flat patterns

After we started building our assembly drawings and And that should be one to one.

Creating flat patterns

After we started building our assembly drawings and our part level drawings, we might also want to make file patterns for laser cutting or water gate cutting or even router cutting for our parts. Now I've got 6.3 dash one opened up and I want to point out that I am referencing the 6.2 files as, as that assembly because we got to the point here that we're working on the assembly drawing for that. We haven't completed this drawing yet but I do want to go to the next step here and save out a DWG DXL file in a flat pattern state so, we're going to be doing that in the following movie but in this case I just want to make that flap pattern, so how do we do that? How do we go to that next step? So I'm going to start a brand new sheet, and I don't want this border here.

I want to get rid of this border. So right- lick here, and say, properties. And I want to turn off display sheet format. Let's get rid of that altogether. Then click down here on custom sheet size. And whatever it says down there, and it's okay. Just click OK. And hopefully that whole drawing board is left. Now you want to think, okay, well how big is my part going to be when I flatten it out and it's full scale, one to one scale? So right click, go back to properties and that's where you're going to input that data here. This doesn't have to be a real sheet of paper, this can be a sheet of aluminum or a sheet of steel.

So, it's fine to make this you know, 48 by 96. In this case here I might make it 48 by 48 or 24 by 24. Some round number of a standard size sheet of material. Most material comes in 4 foot by 8, or 4 foot by 10 foot, or 4 foot by 12 foot sheets. A lot of aluminum comes in 4 by 12, a lot of steel comes in 4 by 8, but you know, you can order it in different sizes. Those are your standard sizes. Think of that kind of like a sheet of plywood. Same thing. 4 by 8 sheets of plywood is a very common thing.

And sometimes you might be working in wood and that might be one of the options. So in this case here I'm going to make it 48 by 48. Click OK, and that just makes it a full size sheet of paper, that's going to be our flat pattern cut. Now let's go back to our part, view layout, model view. And we've got this assembly opened up. We don't have the parts opened up. So let's go back to this one here and open up this part. Cancel out of that, click on that, click on open part. That's the part we want the flat pattern of. Now let's go back to our drawing, let's go back to that sheet and we are seeing model view click on that on and then click on the next and you know it's going to bring on a regular view here.

One of those options, the very first one is actually flat pattern, click on Flat Pattern and it should flatten your part up for you. And then I should be able to drop that right in the center of my drawing. And that should be one to one. But, if it's not, click on it and let's double check. So, slide down to scale and we can move it over and make sure you have this little radio button here called use sheet scale checked and then click OK. And then again, make sure that we've got the right size scale on our drawing view. Right click on it, go back to properties and make sure up here it says one to one.

Really important, you don't' want to send out your parts for laser cutting or water jet cutting expecting them to be full size and all of a sudden you get a quarter scale piece. So that's really important here. This sheet maybe is to big so let's change that to, let's say 12 by 12. So it's a multiple of 48, click OK and zoom out. It places it up here, I can slide that down; so now I have a 12 by 12 sheet of material that this fits on. Because it's a pretty small part, we could even go back change the properties, and change it to 11 by 8.5.

That way, when we print it on a regular sheet of paper, it comes out full size and scale. And you can actually use this as a little prototype. You can print this out one to one, cut it out with a pair of scissors, or an x-acto knife. And then fold it up, and see how it looks with your design. And I do that quite a bit. Before we do anything else, I do want to go over here, and I want to select the center points. And center lines get rid of those. And a lot of times when you're sending these files out for laser cutting you don't want to include the bend lines.

So, to quickly get rid of the bend lines just go up to view and sketches and just hide the sketches, so you don't see any of that there. And especially if there's bend notes or anything like that you could also hide annotations. So, you want just a clean line of just exactly what you want to cut out. And notice also if you flip this part over, so notice we're looking at one side of it. I can also click the flat pattern and let's flip that over. Flip view, here it is. If you flip that over notice we've got the counter syncs on the other side here.

So choose wisely which side of the part you're showing on your flat banner to make sure you're getting the correct things. So we definitely want to have those counter syncs in there but we're not going to laser cut the counter syncs. But we do want to cut it and add the counter syncs later so I do want to show that so that they know we're trying to counter sync those holes in there. That's important, to build or flip it one way or the other. Now, at this point in time, we're going to save out to DWG or DXF, but that's going to be the next movie.

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