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Two Sheet Metal Wonders


sm1.pngSolid Edge ST7 has added a couple of real breakthrough features in sheet metal. The first one is called Blank Body. The name might need some explanation. This function takes a stamped part and flattens it. The flat shape is the blank. These are parts with geometry you can’t create on a brake press. Solid Edge achieves this with finite element method meshes.


You start with a thin walled part or a solid part where the faces represent the faces of a thin walled part. Solid Edge out puts a flat part with a nominal thickness.


Part of the interface for this feature enables you to set the accuracy on a range from 1 (coarse) to 10 (fine - size reflects the size of the mesh). The accuracy affects the shape and also the solve time. Simple parts like the one shown here will solve in less than 10 seconds on a reasonably recent computer.



Generally this has been the realm of pricy third party software, which is why it’s a bit of a break through to see Solid Edge do this directly. It’s not quite progressive die, which you might need to actually create your parts, but if you can make the part in one hit, this tool may help you simplify your process. If what you really need is a set of progressive dies, that will still be the realm of third party packages. Also it might be a good idea to recreate an existing project where you already know what the blank shape should be so that you can calibrate the precision of the Blank Body tool to your existing process.


The second ST7 Sheet Metal feature that I want to mention here is the Part To Sheet Metal function. This one starts with a solid body, and will thin wall it, rip the corners, add bends, and flatten it. The result is a sheet metal part that can be produced on a brake press. The part shown below is an example of a simple part where this process was used.



Part To Sheet Metal is only available in ordered mode.


Can you take a helix and flatten it to a ring?

Gears Esteemed Contributor

Larry, the Blank Body command will flatten a Helical sheet.  Not sure how accurate it might be, but it will do it.


I have a little formula that gets me close enough. It will be interesting to test it aginst that.

Community Manager

@lking  Flattening a helical swept line type feature already worked since ST2 (!). You don't need ST7 to flatten that.


Dan, I thought it had been added, but I never have figured out how to do it. Can you point me to some help on that?

Gears Phenom



Here is a video about flattening helix sm parts:


Yes, this has been working since SE ST2... Smiley Wink

I hope, this will help you!





Too bad I can only give one kudos for that. It deserves at least three, one for showing me how to make a helical surface, one for showing me how to thicken it, and one for transitioning it into sheet metal and flattening it. I consider myself pretty good at SE but there is a lot of useful stuff I've never used.


I also figured out that I have to open a part and follow along visually and the mysterious language is no longer a problem.

Gears Phenom

Hi Larry,


You have to say thanks to Solid Edge not to me... SE can do this! Smiley Happy Yes, the "mysterious" language is hungarian! Smiley Wink



Solution Partner Pioneer

Hi Matt


The *Unflat everything* in the new Solid Edge ST7 functions have been a key saver in a lot of non-bendable feature


May I ask you a question? Is it possible to introduce a future feature where sheet metal can miter itself automatically when two faces intersect together? It's known as *Automatic Miter* in other softwares.


Currently, bending that part will cause error in Solid Edge...

Gears Esteemed Contributor

Hi @Edward,


To achieve the mitre in your picture, the first way that comes to mind....make this using a contour flange, as this will do exactly as you want, as in "Automatic Mitre".

To edit tabs & flanges afterwards is slightly different work flow between ordered & synchronous.....but also achievable. Although editing afterwards is not an automatic op, as it is with contour flange.