Sheet Metal Design

Written by Adam Blau
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Those engineering and design firms involved with sheet metal design have a special set of needs required of their computer-aided design (CAD) application. While sheet metal design software does share some characteristics with other design media (in measurement and sketch capabilities, for example), there are some unique aspects of sheet metal design that need to be addressed. It is important for the designer to ensure that the CAD application he or she uses can fulfill these specific needs.

Using Your CAD Program for Sheet Metal Design

When working with design software to create a sheet metal piece (such as a bracket), you likely want to be able to emulate various sheet metal design techniques. Perhaps you wish to create a flange or a dimple in your sheet metal object. It is also likely that you wish to incorporate corner rounds and punches in the design.

With enough work, you could probably get most CAD software to fulfill your sheet metal design needs. Some CAD 3D modeling software, though, has the capability for sheet metal design built directly into the interface. These programs will treat the design of a sheet metal object differently than the design of other pieces, allowing for an increased ease of workflow in designing these particular pieces.

By combining the features unique to sheet metal design with the more standard features of a traditional CAD program, the designer has an unbelievably powerful tool at his or her fingertips. In such cases, the sheet metal design objects can be immediately and easily integrated into larger projects. Sheet metal components can be batch-modified across entire projects, meaning that if a change is made to one sheet metal component, that component will be swapped into all existing projects that use it.

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