Sheet Metal, SolidWorks, Tips & Tricks

Changing the Fixed Face for a Sheet Metal Flat Pattern

Changing the Fixed Face for a Sheet Metal Flat Pattern

24 May, 2011

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I get questions from time to time regarding sheet metal flat patterns, specifically, “How do I change the ‘up’ side of a flat pattern?” Sometimes you just want to change the direction of a flat pattern, i.e make “up” be “down.” One way to do this in SolidWorks 2011 is to simply select the flat pattern drawing view, look at the properties of the view, and click on a button to “Flip view,” as illustrated: If you want to take this a bit further, besides simply reversing “up” and “down,” you can open the SolidWorks sheet metal model and directly select any face in the model to be the “Fixed face,” which is the face that is “up” when SolidWorks generates a flat pattern. To do this, edit the Flat Pattern feature and select the top box, labeled “Fixed face.” Next, select any face in the model. This face becomes the new “top” for the flat pattern, as well as the face other faces unfold flat to, as shown: If you want to take this a bit further, besides simply reversing “up” and “down,” you can open the SolidWorks sheet metal model and directly select any face in the model to be the “Fixed face,” which is the face that is “up” when SolidWorks generates a flat pattern. To do this, edit the Flat Pattern feature and select the top box, labeled “Fixed face.” Next, select any face in the model. This face becomes the new “top” for the flat pattern, as well as the face other faces unfold flat to, as shown: Here is an example of what would happen if you picked a different face as the fixed face in the same model: As you can see, you have the ability to make any face the “up side” of a flat pattern, giving you total control of the flat. If we could only control the weather like this, we could avoid April snowstorms like we had last week! As you can see, you have the ability to make any face the “up side” of a flat pattern, giving you total control of the flat. If we could only control the weather like this, we could avoid April snowstorms like we had last week! Written by John Setzer

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