10 Replies Latest reply on Aug 22, 2015 7:40 PM by Brian Titus

    Flattening a surface with holes

    Ben Fisher

      So I am trying to flatten a flat face of a hull plate from a boat.

      So I have a hole in the curved face and I use the new 2015 flatten face feature , so because there is a hole it wont let me flatten because it is trying to apply corner radii to the hole.


      So this is why I got 2015, I truly hope there is a solution

        • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
          Ron Chappell


          The flatten surface function cannot handle faces with holes, you could delete the hole if it is just a surface or split the face into two through the hole so you end up with two faces without a hole then flatten both individually.

          • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
            Dennis Bacon

            I feel your pain Ben. I have heard thru the grapevine (nda) that things will change in regards to you issue. I have some workarounds but it is much to detailed to post. Plus I'm pretty tired (really late for me). Can you post your file so we can see if there is a solution? I personally do not have Premium so I don't have access to the flatten feature but there are plenty of people on the forum that have that ability and I have seen them do some amazing things. Holes, cutouts, whatever. Alin Varguta has done this.

            • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
              Richard Earley



              You will be able to do this in 2016 within the surface flatten command, they have made a few enhancements





              • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
                Fraser Kiddle

                Hi Ben,


                I've been hired to make models and drawings of an aluminum hull boat using solidworks. This is no small feat. We are on the second iteration of waterjet cutting flat patterns created with Solidworks. The last cut was a huge disappointment because the hull did not line up to the sides after it was formed. I'm trying to figure out a way to use the surface flatten feature to get a reliable flat pattern. This costs several thousand dollars every iteration and my client's patience is wearing thin.


                What is your experience? Have you had any success with it? I know you can't do it with holes, but that will be release in SW2016.

                  • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
                    John Stoltzfus

                    Fraser - that's a tough situation you're in - If I were in your situation, I would consider making a segmented hull for you flat patterns only, to assist in getting accurate flat patterns .  For trials I would use the swept flange feature, maybe from top to the bottom of the hull or length wise. 


                    Once you have all the segments developed you could flatten them and align them in the flat state, the draw your Outside cutting edges..


                    Tough call..

                      • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
                        Fraser Kiddle

                        @John Stoltzfus ,

                        Thanks for the understanding. I wasn't aware of the swept flange feature, but that really won't work to create the geometry I need. The hull of this boat is far from a "linear" sweep. I created the geometry using lofted surface in surface modeling, thickened it to the sheet metal thickness, and then used the new surface flatten feature to get the flat pattern I needed. But like I said the flat pattern was inaccurate for the bends and forming we make to the aluminum.


                        Perhaps building segmented lofted surfaces would make it work?

                    • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
                      Dennis Bacon

                      Fraser,,, I was making parts like this in the early sixties. Yes it took some time since at that time all we had were slide rules to help us with computing. A bunch of trig and simple geometry.. Since this is aluminium and is fairly thin (.8mm) when this part is formed up it should fit perfectly. Are these parts hydro-formed or is someone attempting to roll (or hammer) them? If they are rolled or hammered they should definitely be made over sized then cut.


                      I don't have the flatten capability with 2015 Professional but I sure wish I had so I could verify what is going on. I have a feeling that it is giving you a correct flat if you are using it correctly.


                      In order to check your flats I would suggest you do a face curves on the surface and measure the length and distance between. I did a "Mid-Surface" 50% of the material thickness on your part and came up with what you see in the pic below. You can add as many curves as you like. I wish I had something like this in the sixties so I could plot points. I do hate to see people spend money with trial and error. This is just an example of measuring one arc but you get the message. Layout a grid of points. Takes time but nothing like it used to be back in the day.

                      If you can tell us how these parts are formed it would be a big help.

                      • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
                        Dennis Bacon

                        Hello Ben,, If you are still following this post. I had posted something earlier but then realized I had given you some bogus information. SW sheet metal does splines with the lofted bends feature. I imagine I was thinking 3d sketches (which it doesn't do). Anyway I came up with something that is ridiculously simple and easy. This has restored my faith in SolidWorks. I have attached a part file so you can compare your original with my latest attempt. The only difference (very slight) you will see is in the slots. When I did a normal cut on these they came out just a tad screwy. As I have said before I don't have Premium so I couldn't try the "Flatten Surface" on it. But as you can see a sheet metal lofted bend works very nicely.


                        • Re: Flattening a surface with holes
                          Brian Titus

                          Never had good success with SolidWorks flattening

                          My suggestion would be to use something like BLANKWORKS or LOGOPRESS
                          They both do an impressive job at flattening "formed" sheet metal parts.