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Autodesk Inventor - Flatten a Multi Body Sheet Metal Coil

Autodesk-Inventor-1Do you find flattening complex sheet metal shapes in Autodesk Inventor frustrating?

We have received similar questions from a number of our customers recently asking about flattening complex shapes and one call we were able to solve involved creating the item in the following image using the Autodesk Inventor 2016 multi-body sheet metal toolset.

The task involved creating a chute or slide that had a 2m elevation change and a direction change of 90°.

What follows below is a short post describing how we identified the problem and one possible solution to it.

Demonstration of Possible output

Below is a short video demonstrating the output and shows off a simple form created using Autodesk Inventor iLogic demonstrating just how nicely the parametric model behaves:

Getting stuck in to Autodesk Inventor Sheet Metal

Initially I puzzled over how I would approach this and had a couple of goes with the sheet metal tools before settling upon the lofted flange as my weapon of choice.

When tackling another problem a couple of weeks ago, my colleague Paul Munford suggested I break the problem down into simpler segments so this lead me to a sketch that looked like the following:


Following on from the initial sketch, I then created a 3D sketch:


By combining the 3D Sketch and elements of the initial 2D sketch I then made a swept surface upon which I based the remainder of the geometry:


As the profile of the resultant spiral is continuous it means I only needed to create one "segment" which can then be patterned parametrically along the Helical Coil path.

Because this single segment is using the lofted flange as its main feature, the surface has been split into triangular segments with Inventor having created a press brake crease across the face:


And here zoomed-in so the lofted flange shape is clearer:


Now because everything about this part is based upon a known parameter (the CAD-geeks eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted I had a driven dimension in my first image ;-), I can then use Inventors' rectangular pattern tool to drive this solid along my path:


The ultimate output of this now multi-body part is an assembly and because I made use of the multi-body sheet metal feature available within Inventor 2016, I can now do this with relative ease:


Because I made use of the Make Components tool within Inventor, the patterned body becomes its own part file but remains linked to the parent part file:


All of the member parts of said assembly are now able to be flat patterned:


To find out more on Autodesk Inventor or Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions then contact your local Graitec office today.

Furthermore, follow us on Twitter for news on manufacturing, Autodesk, the future of making things and much more - @cad4mfg.

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