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Creating 3D sheet-metal models - Workflow?
June 04, 2019, 09:22:51 AM
I want to create a fairly complex/irregular model of 3mm thick sheet metal, with bends, and then 'flatten' it ready for laser-cutting.

My starting point is 2D polylines (in 3d space) for each facet.

What is the best workflow to first turn these into a single sheet with thickness that I can then successfully flatten?

I can give the 2d polylines thickness, and/or I can create 'Surface from Profile' which results in an ACIS solid of zero thickness, which I can then Boolean3D add to others the same, and possibly Shell (sometimes works?). But I still don't have radiused edges that I can then flatten.

I think I must be missing something? Seems straightforward enough.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 09:24:23 AM by IanC »

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Currently installed v17.2 Pro (with VBA) and 2018 Pro Platinum on Windows 10.   Started with TC v2 !

June 04, 2019, 10:16:52 AM
Although no means the only feasible procedure, yours is reasonable. After 3D-Adding the thickened facets, use the Fillet Edges tool on the edges. On the inside, use a Radius equal to the desired bend radius; on the outside, increase that value by the thickness of the material.

Henry H

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June 04, 2019, 12:14:33 PM
Thanks Henry. I've managed what I needed using your suggestion - Fillet3D was the key to my problem.

My 2D polylines are in fact the inside face of my finished structure. I'd prefer to give them thickness in an 'outwards' direction, which of course creates a V-joint gap along the edges (good for welding!), rather than 'inwards' resulting in the two solids occupying the same space.

Is it possible to achieve what I need with these V-joints, or must I move all my 2D polylines to the external surface, and give them thickness (or extrude) in an inward direction before 3D-adding to give a solid I can 3D-fillet?

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Currently installed v17.2 Pro (with VBA) and 2018 Pro Platinum on Windows 10.   Started with TC v2 !

June 04, 2019, 12:45:14 PM
Thanks Henry. I've managed what I needed using your suggestion - Fillet3D was the key to my problem.

My 2D polylines are in fact the inside face of my finished structure. I'd prefer to give them thickness in an 'outwards' direction, which of course creates a V-joint gap along the edges (good for welding!), rather than 'inwards' resulting in the two solids occupying the same space.

Is it possible to achieve what I need with these V-joints, or must I move all my 2D polylines to the external surface, and give them thickness (or extrude) in an inward direction before 3D-adding to give a solid I can 3D-fillet?

You can extrude in either direction. Start the extrusion by dragging so you can see which way it's going and then enter the Thickness in the Inspector Bar--either positive or negative, whichever produces the correct direction.

Henry H

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June 04, 2019, 01:02:53 PM
Apologies, I didn't explain very clearly

It's not the extrusion direction I wish to change. But as the inside face of my sheet is my critical/reference plane, I would like to extrude outwards. I know how to do that. It's the filleting of what's has become an open V-joint on the outside face that I'm not sure is achievable?

If that's unclear, I'll post some screenshots and/or a file?

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Currently installed v17.2 Pro (with VBA) and 2018 Pro Platinum on Windows 10.   Started with TC v2 !

June 04, 2019, 01:54:50 PM
Apologies, I didn't explain very clearly

It's not the extrusion direction I wish to change. But as the inside face of my sheet is my critical/reference plane, I would like to extrude outwards. I know how to do that. It's the filleting of what's has become an open V-joint on the outside face that I'm not sure is achievable?

If that's unclear, I'll post some screenshots and/or a file?

It's clear now, Ian. Before 3D-Adding the extrusions, use Quick Pull (or Facet Edit or Facet Offset) to make the edge of one of the addends flush with the face of the other. (If the joint isn't 90 degrees, you may have to edit both pieces, extending the edge a little beyond the other face and then slicing off the excess.)

Henry H

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June 04, 2019, 02:51:25 PM
OK Henry, I've got it now! Thanks for your swift and helpful responses.

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Currently installed v17.2 Pro (with VBA) and 2018 Pro Platinum on Windows 10.   Started with TC v2 !

June 04, 2019, 03:25:36 PM
OK Henry, I've got it now! Thanks for your swift and helpful responses.

Henry H

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June 04, 2019, 03:34:49 PM
One other question, based on your suggestion (although Quick Pull does it fine):

I'm using the Default UI menu, and I cannot find Facet Edit and Facet Offset, despite searching in Commands (customising the toolbar). Any idea where they are?

I don't have Modify/Modify 3D Objects in my menu (which I don't think I've altered), as Help shows. And Facet Edit and Facet Offset aren't in my standard 3D Modify toolbar either.

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Currently installed v17.2 Pro (with VBA) and 2018 Pro Platinum on Windows 10.   Started with TC v2 !

June 04, 2019, 05:33:42 PM
One other question, based on your suggestion (although Quick Pull does it fine):

I'm using the Default UI menu, and I cannot find Facet Edit and Facet Offset, despite searching in Commands (customising the toolbar). Any idea where they are?

I don't have Modify/Modify 3D Objects in my menu (which I don't think I've altered), as Help shows. And Facet Edit and Facet Offset aren't in my standard 3D Modify toolbar either.

In my 2018 installation, they can be found in Tools>Customize>Commands>All Commands. Once found, drag the icon onto the toolbar of your choice. See the attached screenshot.

Henry H

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June 05, 2019, 02:28:51 AM
They are in mine too. Sorry, don't know how I missed 'em!

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Currently installed v17.2 Pro (with VBA) and 2018 Pro Platinum on Windows 10.   Started with TC v2 !