4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 17, 2014 3:45 PM by Jerry Steiger

    How to make flexible material?

    Matt S.

      I have a part that is made out of a very thin piece of copper foil.  I modeled it simply as an extruded rectangle.  Since the material is so thing you can bend it very easily and fold it back and forth on itself.  In my assembly I want to be able to bend this material upwards.  If it just goes straight out it will hit the mount in front of it while in reality it will very very easily curve up if a force is applied.  Is there a way I can do this?

        • Re: How to make flexible material?
          Chris Michalski

          Easiest way is going to be to make the part defined in the assembly so the definition would update based on other parts.

          One way: create the cross-section on one end, then define the opposite end in the assembly and dimension/relate it to the mating parts.  Then if you loft between the two profiles SW will recreate the part when your assemly changes.

          Alternate: do a sweep and have the guide curve defined in the assembly.


          There are several ways depending on what is most realistic for your conditions.

          • Re: How to make flexible material?
            John Burrill

            SolidWorks doesn't really do physics-based deformation, so while it's easy in the real world to deflect a thin sheet or bend a wire those aren't easy things to accomplish in CAD.

            Having said that, I would look into the following features:





            Additionally, if you're adventurous, you can make your part using sheet metal features and then add in-context flanges, bends and jogs to make it match your assembly environment.

            You can try doing a physics based deformation using Simulation Professional and then have SolidWorks display the deformed part.

            You can make a dummy part showing the deformed condition and exclude it from the bill of materials in your assembly

            • Re: How to make flexible material?
              Mike Tarifa


              Matt i would suggest you to subdivide your part,like many small rectangles,mate their edges; and later link the first and last one to the parts you want,then when those parts move,you will have a sort of flexible result

              • Re: How to make flexible material?
                Jerry Steiger



                If you want to follow Chris's advice, I would suggest using Sweep rather than Loft. Loft is more likely to give you funny results. Bettery yet, you can extrude the part from the side with the S or L shape that you expect.


                If you want to follow John's advice and try sheet metal, I would probably make your base flange in the S or L shape so that you don't have to add any bends or flanges or jogs. This is the way that I would probably go, as it is easy to use the flat pattern for the drawing of the part.


                Jerry S.