Can someone tell me of a Solidworks built-in capability to pattern a
surface from a given model so that a piece of flat material can be cut
accordingly and placed over an actual object, form-fitting? The
computiong trick I want to perform is to know where to cut out
material for folds that must occur in the finished product. A close
analogy is cutting fabric so that it could be joined at fold cut-outs
and simply slipped over an object, like upholstery. Is this too far
out for Solidworks' basic package?
I was able to do it on a rectangular part. Using surfaces. I would like to
try your part. If you could send it to me.
What I did was inserted the origional Part into an assembly and made a new
part that contained the surfaces with zero offset. Then I thickened to
.001" and ripped the apropriate edges and inserted bends.
That is exactly the kind of thing I am trying to do. My model is
basically pure curves, so I am sure there are many ways to use your
method on this problem, if the rip function will work with no exact
If everything is curves, more than likely, your surfaces are not
Gaussian surfaces are those which can be flattened without any
stretching or tearing. Such surfaces include cylinders and cones.
A non-gaussian surface is one which cannot be flattened without
stretching or tearing. Think of an orange peel.
Unless you are VERY careful about how you created your surfaces,
ensuring that ALL surfaces are either perfectly flat, a perfect
cylinder, or a perfect cone, flattening you surface cannot be
accomplished with SWX, or almost any other "mainstream" software.
To flatten a non-gaussian surface requires very detailed knowledge of
both the mechanical properties of your material AND how it is formed
from a flat. There are many programs used in the stamping industry to
calculate flats from non-gaussian surfaces. They use FEA and complex
analytical calculations to do this. I am not sure if similar packages
exist for fabric material sheets. There probably are somewhere if you
really need this functionality. It will be expensive, however.
I believe there are some "simple" programs which can flatten non-
gaussian surfaces (Rhino, perhaps???). But, AFAIK, they do not factor
in material properties or the forming process. I really have no idea
how they get it done (some sort of least energy method I would assume),
but I would be willing to bet that it is not very accurate in the "real
Note: SolidWorks does have a "Lofted Bend" feature in which non-gaussian
sheetmetal shapes can be created and unbent. SolidWorks also includes
tools to analyze deviations between the bent and flat state. However,
the practical use of this tool is limited in many situations. For
instance, the lofted bend must be the first feature in a part; you
cannot thicken existing surfaces to create a lofted bend; and some
others. Plus, like I said in the above paragraph, it does not factor
material properties or process in the flattening process. Thus
"highly" non-gausian lofted bends can be quite inaccurate. Of course,
the closer the surface is to a gaussian surface, the more accurate a
lofted bend can become.