# Developing Ruled Surfaces

• posted
I am developing some soft good concepts and would like to use ruled
surfaces as a reference to create flat patterns. I would like to create
a set of ruled surfaces that could be flattened out for a pattern
maker. I have been looking but it does not seem that the sheet metal
functionality works with surfaces. Does anyone have any ideas?
• posted
functionality works with surfaces.
Sheet metal is not infinitely thin. Thicken the surfaces to solids.
• posted
Curiosity question: Will SW flatten all developable / flat wrap shapes, i.e. a thin walled extrusion with elliptical section?
All else failing, Rhino might be suggested. It'll do anything developable and try to give you an approximation of shapes with mild compound curvature.
Believe AeroHydro's SW add-on (? or is it a separate "flatten" module?) can do compounds, too, though more expensive.
• posted
The only thing SW will flatten is sheet metal. The only way to get SW to flatten a ruled surface is to make a "lofted bend" sheet metal feature. If you make your ruled surface, convert the 2 non-straight sides to 3D sketches, then make lofted bends, that will flatten. This essentially uses the ruled surface just as a reference to get the edges, and uses them to create essentially the same geometry, but with some thickness, and as part of a sheet metal feature.
Otherwise the Rhino (free) or an eval copy of Geometryworks will do it for free.
Good luck,
Matt
• posted
It is possible to flatten any doubly curved surface in SolidWorks, but the method requires a great deal of very tedious work and is only an approximation in most cases.
• posted
Yup- I have Rhino . I was hoping that I would not have to use the program, as it it somewhat slow and I was hoping to do more work in Solidworks. It would be cool to use the ruled surface as a skeleton over which to generate geometry. Then flatten the ruled surfaces and use the ruled surfaces (bent and unbent) to create deform curves. This is probably unnecessary but would have been an interesting exploration. However you would think that Solidworks would be able to develop at least a thickened ruled surface.
I have pseudo-flattened a label pocket in the past using the Deform command. Is this the tedious work you were referring to?
• posted
Deform is not what I had in mind. The method is much more tedious than that. It is in fact what you would have to do if you were using a drawing board and involves breaking the surface up into triangles and then using projection methods to get a true approximation in the flat. It works, but is very tedious. I used it last for a warped sheet metal part to get a laser pattern. Once a year is enough.
• posted
Muchas gracias, senor. `;^)
• posted
Try using a lofted surface on the elliptic cross section. Then thicken the surface and flatten it. That might work.

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