Creating Flat Pattern Drawings of Sheet Metal Parts (Alibre Design Tips)

29 Sep, 2008 By: Max Freeman

Use the Sheet Metal Workspace to create intelligent sheet metal parts and detailed drawings.

Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of Alibre.

In Alibre Design, you can use the Sheet Metal Workspace to create intelligent sheet metal parts and then create detailed drawings easily. The link between the detailed drawing and the sheet metal part is preserved, so when you make changes to either the drawing or the part, they are reflected in both.

Step 1: Create the Sheet Metal Part
Using a combination of flanges, dimples, cuts, holes, and other features, we'll create our sheet metal part. During the design process, we can unbend specific items, make changes, and then rebend them. This technique can be used to cut corner slots in multiple bends simultaneously, for example.

The Sheet Metal Workspace and our part.

Step 2: Create the Initial Flat Pattern View
After we have designed the part, we can easily make a drawing of it in either its bent or unbent state. First, we'll create a flat pattern. To do this, simply select the Flat Pattern option under More Options in the View Creation dialog box.

Select the Project as Flat Pattern option and the resulting flat pattern drawing.

Step 3: Create Additional Views
Now we want to add two more views — an orthographic and side view — for visual clarity. We'll select the Standard Views tool to create additional standard views. We'll select the two views in the dialog box and then press OK to place them.

Selecting our two additional views and the resulting drawing.

As you can see, we've quickly created an intelligent, editable sheet metal part and produced a flat pattern drawing that we can use for manufacturing. Remember, any changes that you make later will automatically be represented in the drawing, greatly minimizing the amount of rework you have to do.

About the Author: Max Freeman