• Dave Martin

Stop Making Sheet Metal Flat States


When engineers and designers create sheet metal parts in Creo Parametric, they often create a flat state version of the part, often via a Family Table. Even worse, I'll see developed lengths documented on drawings or Bend Order Tables.

If you're not manufacturing your own sheet metal parts, then leave this to the people who are actually building your parts.

Calculation of developed lengths is a tricky deal. Sheet metal manufacturers are experts in this field. They often have reams of heuristic data based on their supplier materials and their machines, and whether they are air bending or bottom bending.

Some sheet metal manufacturers have told me that they will often get a production drawing and then re-create the model themselves so they can figure out the order of operations to build it. I remember one experienced builder expressing a combination of disbelief and something bordering on insult when receiving a drawing with Bend Order Tables. "I've been doing this for 20 years. And someone who's never bent metal, and doesn't know my tools, is going to tell me how to make a part?"

Stop wasting time creating flat states, developed lengths, or any other unnecessary steps, and stop burdening your data management system with unnecessary Family Tables. You should definitely test whether your part is developable and can be flattened. But the best thing you can do is provide your manufacturer with the original design model, and let them flatten it and calculate the size of the original blank to create the finished product.

Reminder, "Top Down Design in Creo Parametric" is free to read on Amazon today through September 14th! Download a copy and please write a review. Thanks!

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