Hello all. I have designed a tube roll cage in Solidworks using the Structural Member feature under weldments. It doesnt seem that there is a way to flatten or unbend these parts to draw a flat patter with bend lines and measurements like you can with sheet metal...? Has anyone found a good way to do this? I dont necessarily need the part flat, just the proper measurements to mark the tube and put it through the bender. Something like Bend Tech http://www.2020softwaresolutions.com/bt_pro.htm would do this well but why spend the money when I have access to Solidworks? It should be able to do this itself.
Here are a couple other options I have found. A XYZ to LRA converter. http://www.johnsael.com/2012/09/14/v1-2-now-available/ This will work but requires alot of time manually entering numbers and there is no 3D representation to guaruntee you entered the data in correctly. Not to mention my cage already has all the radius' on the corners. I would have to extend every line to the apex of the bend in order to get the proper cooridinates. Is there maybe a .STEP to LRA converter out there for free?
Another option is the JD2 free bending software. This will require just as much work as the XYZ to LRA converter to retrieve and enter cooridinates. BUT at least it shows a representation of the part.
Anyone have any ideas? Let me know. Would I be better off posting this question in another section?