Join Thom Tremblay for an in-depth discussion in this video How to reuse existing data with a fold operation, part of Inventor: Sheet Metal Design.
Many of the people wanting to learn the sheet metal tools of Inventor already work with sheet metal and might like to utilize some of the design information that they already have. Let's take a look at how you can bring in your old 2D flat patterns into the 3D world. We'll just start with a blank sheet metal part and just create a sketch. Let's start a sketch just on our x, z plane but instead of drawing, one of the options that Inventor has is to insert auto cad information. We can change our file type from looking for a DWG file to a DXF file.
This is the most common format people use for producing sheet metal parts in the manufacturing space so it makes sense to leverage that DXF format file for the inventor purposes. Let's open this up. We'll get some options for our dialog box. One of the things we want to do is constrain the end points. We want to take these loose lines and connect them in the way that Auto Desk Inventor does. We don't have to apply geometric constraints. And really none of the other options as far as Auto Cad blocks to Inventor blocks happen to be applicable in this particular file, but take note of them and keep them in mind if you start working with your own geometry.
Now let's finish this, and here we have our DXF information from an existing design in the Auto Desk Inventor environment. We'll finish our sketch and now let's start leveraging this to build our component. Let me turn this around. And the first thing I want to do is use the face tool. We'll simply select the geometry that I want to use, set the direction in the appropriate way. And say OK and it will generate a face.
Now of course, this is a flat pattern of a bent part so I want to go ahead and reuse that sketch to help guide me through the process of forming this into a three-dimensional part. So under the face feature I'll share the sketch. And we'll be able to see, not only the sketch information, but the information that was built into the sketch. For example, this first bend that I want to create using our fold tool will be 90 degrees.
I'll select my bend line and get it a preview of the direction the bend will go and what portion of the model will be bent. So, in this case it wants to take all the geometry to the right of the selected edge and bend it up 90 degrees. Well that's almost what I want. What I'd really like to do is take the geometry to the left of the selected edge and bend it up. To do that, I'll just simply toggle to flip the side. The direction it wants to bend is fine with me. And I'll go with that.
We can also alter where the fold location is, and we'll use that for the next bend. We'll apply that and now, let's select another bend line. In this case, we want to go down, so we'll flip our direction and we don't want to go 90 degrees. We want to set the fold angle to 45 degrees and we'll also change the fold location to be at the start of the ben. So all of the bending will be done from that edge forward. We'll say okay, and now we have our folded part leveraging our existing VXF data.
Simply turn off the visibility of the sketch and we have our 3D part. We're using this existing flat pattern data not only saves us time. We know that these flat patterns work, so we`re able to generate a 3D model from 2D information that we can already rely on.
- Preparing your Inventor project
- Adding flanges to a part
- Cleaning up edges with hems
- Using the Bend feature
- Reusing existing data
- Making cuts in parts
- Opening parts with the Rip tool
- Improving productivity with the pattern tools
- Creating and editing a flat pattern