Sheet Metal Flat Pattern - Faces to Exclude in SOLIDWORKS

You know that saying "You learn something new every day"?...I think it definitely holds true! I've been with Graphics Systems just over three years. In that time, I'd say I’ve gotten to know the SOLIDWORKS software pretty well. It's funny though, as much time as I’ve spent using the software there are times when I come across a feature that I never knew existed.  A couple months ago this happened to me while working on a sheet metal part for a customer of ours. I was playing around with their flat pattern and ended up for some reason editing the flat pattern feature itself. I've been inside this dialog I don't know how many times. For some reason though this time I noticed a little box at the very bottom called "Faces to Exclude".  Come to find out, this feature allows you to pick faces in the model that you don't want calculated as part of the flat pattern. This comes in very handy when you want to add gussets or other supporting geometry to your sheet metal parts. Before I stumbled upon this feature, I would always tell customers to create a separate configuration with those features and use another configuration for flattening the sheet metal part...Faces to Exclude however solves this problem quite nicely! Let's take a look and see how this is done...

Say I have this simple sheet metal part with a supporting gusset in it. When I go to try and flatten the part I would get an error because that gusset cannot be flattened.


Using the Faces to Exclude option however, I can simply select the faces that are part of that gusset and exclude them from the flat pattern


Now with those faces excluded, I can flatten the part no problem!


It's the simple things in life that bring the most enjoyment. 

By: Chris Olson, Applications Engineer at Graphics Systems  

For another SOLIDWORKS tip, check out Chris Olson's article on the Graphics's Systems S on  Modeling For SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

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