uniform thickness. In the
CAD shop, a part must
have absolutely uniform
thickness for the automatic flat layout tools to work.
When association between the fabrication
process and CAD matters,
the best place to start in a
sheet metal design is with
the Base Flange. Happily,
perhaps, the Convert to
Sheet Metal tool allows
the CAD jockey to employ
any starting feature for
modeling design intent
or inspiration and end up
with a Base Flange.
Here is a DFM tip: When setting up the Base Flange, specify a thickness that
corresponds to standard gauge thickness. Typing in the decimal thickness is as
easy as entering a dimension value. Fortunately, the Base Flange can be linked to
a Gauge Table (see Figure 4). The Gauge Table creates a convenient drop-down
list so that only valid sheet metal thicknesses may be selected.
Here is another DFM tip: Use Gauge Tables in your 3-D sheet metal work flow. An
accurate Gauge Table helps with modeling speed and provides a degree of self-explanation to other CAD jockeys who review the model. The CAD Gauge Table
goof-proofs the selection of bend radii and K-factors.
For this to work, some CAD setup is required. Synchronize the Gauge Table
spreadsheet with the fab shop’s Bend Deduction Tables and tooling charts. As a
result of using the fab shop’s layout calculations, the flat layouts generated from
the design will be 100 percent ready for nesting and fabrication.
In the next episode, we gooseneck at brakes and present specific design
guides for bent sheet metal.
Gerald Davis uses CAD so;ware to design and develop products for his clients at www.
glddesigns.com. From 1984 to 2004 he owned and operated a job shop. Please send
your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sheet Metal feature in CAD allows the use of a
Gauge Table, a spreadsheet that lists material thickness and cross-references to allowable inside bend
radii and sets the K-factor for flat layout calculation.
Accurate Gauge Tables are important to DFM!
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