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Folding sheet metal in spotlight



Hello Folks 


I am tiring to draw some metal boxes that I need to get made. 


Try to show a flat plan of the  sheet metal with details and then a folded 3d view of the job.


I thought there was a simple 3d fold tool in VW19 which would allow me to fold a item at a line.   


Thanks JW 





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Okay here we go 🙂


The best way to do this in my opinion is:


Creating the box:


1: create all the faces of the box in planar rectangles or polylines and create the wanted box.

2: use ctrl+alt+k (create surface from curves command) to convert them to 3d nurbs surfaces. You can only do this one-by-one.

3: use ctrl+alt+y  (create fillet command) to create the inner diameter of the nurbs surface by selecting two intersecting faces of the box. For this command you should align the normals to the inside of the box. This you do for each individual fold.

4: use shift+g to shell all the created nurbs surfaces to the outer side of the box, for example 3mm. Now you have you box in 3D.


Extracting surfaces:


5: If you want the middle line of the metal flat plan the you have to adjust the shell to 1.5mm in this case.

6: use shift+ L to extract all the surfaces and set the preference to 'create planar object'.

7: now you have to unfold curved surfaces with the command 'unfold surfaces' from the 3D power pack in the model menu in the top bar


Create flat plan:


8: select all the planar surfaces

9: set your view to top/plan

10: set in the OIP the 'Layer plane' of the selected planar objects to screen and then again to 3d > this put all the planar objects on the same plane and height

11: with all the planar objects selected set the X and Y in the OIP to 0 and 0 > this put all the objects to the centre of the drawing, sometimes they are far away

12: puzzle with al the faces till you get the right flat plan of the box

13: use the command 'add surfaces' from the modify command.

14: tada! you have a flat plan! 🎉🎉🎉


Its allot of steps to do sheet metal, but possible in Vectorworks. Versatile Vectorworks! 


I designed several tables with this proces, and with the principal 'no screw, no glue' in mind:












Edited by Bas Vellekoop
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