3 Replies Latest reply on May 9, 2012 4:23 PM by Jerry Steiger

    Desiging Flexible Heaters

    Thomas Hellm

      The company I work for makes/design flexible heaters. We are in the process of switching from 2D to 3D. My job is to come up with new design methods for our heaters in SW. The issue I'm having now is coming up with an efficient method  for designing the actually heater, especially heaters with hole(s) in them. Any tips or suggestions would be great!

       

       

       

      Thanks you

      T.H.

       

      (Google "flexible heater" for a picture).

        • Re: Desiging Flexible Heaters
          Jerry Steiger

          T.H.,

           

          Assuming that your heaters are, or can be approximated as. a constant thickness part, you can use sheet metal tools to show them in the flat and as folded.

           

          Since you parts are mostly 2D with a bit of added thickness, it seems like most of your 2D techniques will probably work well. One thing to look out for is that patterned features usually work better than patterns in the sketch. (Punch one hole and pattern the hole, rather than patterning a bunch of hole shapes in the sketch.)

           

          Jerry Steiger

            • Re: Desiging Flexible Heaters
              Thomas Hellm

              Jerry S.,

               

              I don't think I was very clear, sorry, the issue comes from making the back and forth maze pattern for the flexible heater with holes. I want to make generic model where I can add hole(s) and there be little to no editing afterwards. As of know we do use sheet metal tools and assume the heater is a constant thickness but doesn't help when we send it to be manufactured.

               

              Also the flexible heater designs are not done in SW as of yet, so I am trying to developed techniques to do this for manufacturing.

               

              Thanks

              T.H.

                • Re: Desiging Flexible Heaters
                  Jerry Steiger

                  T.H.,

                   

                  This could get a bit sticky. SolidWorks is not very good at handling complex sketches. It slows down and starts to have trouble with constraints and relations, deciding that a sketch goes from under defined to over defined when you add what should be a safe constraint.I don't know if your sketches would get into the troublesome area, but you should probably try some tests with a really complex heater design before you go too far.

                   

                  It might make your life easier if you could lay out just the centerline of your traces, then use the Offset Entities Tool with "Select chain" and "Bi-directional" chosen, capping the ends with either Lines or Arcs.

                   

                  I wonder if you might be better off designing the traces in a PCB layout tool, like Altium, and then exporting the design to SolidWorks. Complexity will bite you here as well, as a moderately complex PCB with all of the traces will bring SolidWorks to its knees.

                   

                  Jerry Steiger