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AutoCAD

Bend It Like an Expert

30 Nov, 2003 By: Andy Wendt

How to create sheet-metal flat patterns in AutoCAD.


Few CAD users seem to know how to create a sheet-metal flat pattern with proper bend allowance. Except for those that use 3D CAD software that automatically creates sheet-metal flat patterns, most companies have their engineering departments create a dimensioned drawing of formed sheet-metal parts and leave the flat-pattern calculations to the shop.

The manufacturing trend for sheet-metal parts, especially for prototypes and small production runs, is to use computer-controlled laser or water-jet cutting machines. These precision machines cut with outstanding accuracy, and they can import CAD geometry for a cutting pattern.

I formulated a method to produce accurate sheet-metal flat patterns using AutoCAD to perform the calculations while constructing geometry. This method is ideal for small production runs of accurately cut and formed parts without a custom-made die. However, it works for any sheet-metal flat pattern, even if total precision isn't needed.

Download the full article (PDF, 4 MB, December 2003)

 


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