Posting this as a group question at Henry Hubich's suggestion
First- I am not an engineer, very new to CAD/CAM and am self taught to this point. I'm 59, so at times I'm having trouble wrapping my (feeble) mind around some of these concepts. I built our plasma table and self learned from videos how to draw in 2D with DraftSight. This all started in Sept 2015. We build metal counter tops from 14ga cold rolled sheet, impervicote.com We just purchased a template system (PhotoTop) that is built primarily for granite but I am using it for our product. It creates a 2D .dxf file as my base for drawing the sheet it is incredibly accurate compared to the old way we did things. I'm running into issues with bend allowances, radius, proper amount to add/subtract on bend corners etc. My idea is to create a 3D drawing then use the 2D .dxf as a 'boundary' to make the top come out right, then use 'unbend' to flatten it for the plasma table. I would need bend line for the CNC brake that we bend with. Part of the issues I have is when we template an existing counter and it isn't straight and plumb to the world it causes issues. I'm thinking that our first and last bends (flanges) would be slightly crooked to bring the top 'square'.
I stumbled through a profile draw of a basic counter to show you but I can't figure out how to attach it here. My direct e-mail is email@example.com
if you'd like to see it.
My questions- Is my thinking on the right track? Is this something that TC can do? Will it take a 3D item and conform it to a boundary? Regardless of squareness of the boundary.
Our tops are 1 piece up to 25 feet so as I'm sure you understand a 1/2 degree off in a 'square' corner can be a bunch at 20 feet or so.... I've looked at SolidWorks and I think it would do what I'm asking but it would break our mom & pop size budget. I have a 30 day trial od TC Platinum downloaded but it'll take me longer than 30 days to assess what it would or wouldn't do because of my lack of experience.
If it is something that TC will do then next question is where do I get videos for training that is sheet metal related? I have stumbled around with TC and there is a lot of learning to do and I'm most concerned about our situation at present so I don't need to design the Eiffel Tower braces if you understand what I mean
Thanks for your time & have a great day Fred