IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding the big picture
Using the Base Flange features
Tutorial: Using the Base Flange sheet metal method
Many releases ago, SolidWorks changed the way that the software dealt with sheet metal parts. In the old way, the model was created through normal modeling features, mainly centered around thin feature extrudes, but also including shell features. It did not matter how you got the geometry, as long as it had a consistent thickness and the edge faces were sheared perpendicular to the material. Once the geometry existed, an Insert Bends feature was applied that turned the part into sheet metal and enabled bends to be flattened. In this method, you had to be proficient with working in Rollback states, because most changes to the model had to be done this way. Certain types of features had to go in certain places in the feature tree, corresponding to either a flat or formed state of the model. Although it was possible to do this, SolidWorks was very particular about the details.
The new way uses a functional feature approach, which greatly simplified the feature order requirements, and at the same time added some powerful and easy-to-use feature types. This new way is what we now call the Base Flange method, and is the main tool for sheet metal creation that we use today.
The Insert Bends method is still viable, but it is typically relegated to being used with imported parts and special uses ...