One for the engineering types – sheetmetal prototypes from 3D CAD anyone?

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  • One for the engineering types – sheetmetal prototypes from 3D CAD anyone?
  • compositepro
    Member

    yes

    but it will cost the same wether you get one or 60 made if you get my drift

    marvincooper
    Member

    That’s fine as I’ll only need a handful of parts at most. It’ll be worth an extra cost on the prototypes to avoid the cost of doing the drawings.

    Who?

    marvincooper
    Member

    Does anyone know of a UK based company that can produce sheetmetal prototype parts without the need for a fully detailed drawing? I am fed up of spending hours creating drawings for a 1 off part, when to get an SLA I can just send a STEP file.

    Is there anyone that can create a sheetmetal folded part from a 3D file?

    doof_doof
    Member

    What software are you using? Most have sheetmetal modelling capability, which will unfold the part and give you the flat blank for laser cutting, etc.
    Some software can also convert thin walled models into sheet metal models.

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    There are a few companies that do this, but I haven’t used any.

    Solidquote

    compositepro
    Member

    Oh hold on a minute i read that as he already had the 3d flat pattern in a 3d cad package not that it needed converting, most 3d cad will do sheetmetal these days

    either way

    theres a company called allsops in huddersfield who have SolidWorks and also have radan to rip it

    Tadley engineering Hampshire they can

    marvincooper
    Member

    I’m using solidworks and I have the parts modelled as sheet metal so they flatten. The problem is I can’t find anyone to make them without a fully dimensioned drawing which will slow things down. Ideally I just want to send a 3d file like I would for an sla.

    I’ll try Tadley, thanks. They are local.-ish which helps.

    Cheers
    Allan

    doof_doof
    Member

    Any half decent place with a laser cutter/ water jet will be able to use a 1:1 dxf file of the blank.

    Just create an empty solidworks drawing and drop in the flattened view (make sure the scale is 1:1). Then just export the drawing as a dxf. No dimensions required.

    marvincooper
    Member

    I’m a bit nervous of relying on the bend allowance in solidworks though, would prefer the supplier to flatten the part. Am I being daft?

    compositepro
    Member

    I used to set up BRT’S each machine has its own way despite the rules of engineering,

    but then some sheetmetal companies would go whats a bend radius table we put this number in and it does this

    depends also how thick your part is microtooling for little teeny tiny parts bend allowance rules change somewhat…lol

    kevj
    Member

    The project I’m running atm requires a part as a sub-assembly exactly in this manner. We have sub-contracted this element of the works out to a company called Midtherm laser in Dudley.

    Excellent quality, fast turnaround and good news for you, they prefer .step files do they can flatten the developed plate to ensure the end part matches the model.

    They are laser cutting and cnc folding sheet gr. 2205 stainless for me in 1.5mm and 3mm thickness.

    Ask for Dean.

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    How complex is the part? I use Solidworks, and once the folded part is designed, doing the 2d drawing is only, typically, 30 min or so, but maybe my bits are simpler.

    marvincooper
    Member

    Thanks all. Kevj, Midtherm sound ideal so will try them.

    Richmars – the parts I have at the moment are pretty simple but I want to find someone for future use too. I am a really tight timescale with loads of moulded parts to design too so if I can save some time and hassle on the sheetmetal bits then it will help.

    STW to the rescue again 🙂

    I’ve just found out that CRDM also offer quick turnaround on sheetmetal from 3D CAD, although previous experience with them tells me it’s likely to be very expensive. We’ll see though.

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Subscriber

    Caged laser in Frome, they use Solidworks and will work direct from a Solidworks cad model
    Tell them Dom sent you.
    My default go to company for anything laser cut and sheet metal fabrications.

    rogg
    Member

    Hi Marv – you mentioned CRDM, are you in Bucks?
    If so maybe give Small Order Springs a go, they’re in Uxbridge.
    http://www.sosltd.co.uk

    jamiea
    Member

    I worked at at place where the BA = No. of bends * Thickness. It worked for them!

    Shirly most competent sheet metal subbies nowadays can review a CAD model and manipulate bend allowances for their machines?

    Cheers,
    Jamie

    johnellison
    Member

    I’m using solidworks and I have the parts modelled as sheet metal so they flatten. The problem is I can’t find anyone to make them without a fully dimensioned drawing which will slow things down.

    Sounds more like they can’t be arsed because it’s a one off.

    This is my bread and butter as a designer. As has already been said, all you need is a 1:1 DXF for a laser/waterjet profile. That said, you may also need to provide a detail drawing which show fold lines, overall sizes etc, or else how will the folder/fabricator know whether the finished article is correct?

    cheers_drive
    Member

    It shouldn’t take long to dimension up a drawing in SW.
    If you find someone to work directly off of the CAD I assume that you will be adding the tolerances and finishing notes to the model?

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Subscriber

    The Amada laser cutting and CNC Bending software “Sheetworks” integrates seamlessly with Solidworks (Its actually an Add in toolset)
    This is what Caged Laser use.
    It also means you actually get what you model, which is not always the case with hand calculated bend allowances etc.

    Put simply, I have used no end of places for laser cutting and fabrication over the years, and quality, repeatability, accuracy etc is quite variable.
    Caged just get it right, on time, every time and they are a great bunch of guys with some seriously clever ways of working, as quite a few Frame designers on here know only too well….. 😀

    compositepro
    Member

    Caged just get it right, on time, every time and they are a great bunch of guys with some seriously clever ways of working, as quite a few Frame designers on here know only too well…..

    ask them to cut an oval tube…to be honest they either couldn’t be arsed or ran out of reasons they couldn’t get a fix on what we wanted …sorry dont have the same experience as you there dom

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Subscriber

    compositepro – Member

    ask them to cut an oval tube…to be honest they either couldn’t be arsed or ran out of reasons they couldn’t get a fix on what we wanted …sorry dont have the same experience as you there dom

    Ovals are very tricky especially if you want a profiled end, even worse if it is an angled tube joint.

    To be fair to them (If its the particular issue I think I discussed with them)they really did try everything within the capabilities of the software and then some to get it to work, and they were going way beyond the functionality that Amada had built in to the software, sometimes it works, sometimes as you say, you can run out of time.

    PM me as I`d be interested to know a bit more about it 😉

    Premier Icon ir_bandito
    Subscriber

    Sounds like you need a decent draughty to do the drawing for you…

    what sort of shape is it, just out of curiosity. Can you post up a pic of the formed part?

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    Caged Laser?
    This one:
    link

    Do they have an up to date website?

    compositepro
    Member

    thats them think they use facebook more

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caged-Laser-Engineering/147414068707402

    dont get me wrong might have sounded harsh they do some good stuff like titanium whats its names for ariel and the like i wonder if they cut them in a vacuum

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Subscriber

    Yes Rich that’s the one, I think there is a website update on the way but I wouldn’t hold your breath !!

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Subscriber

    Not cut in a Vacuum but welded in the biggest Argon chamber in Europe 😯

    kevj
    Member

    ir_bandito – Member

    Sounds like you need a decent draughty to do the drawing for you…

    what sort of shape is it, just out of curiosity. Can you post up a pic of the formed part?

    I think that this is the OP point though? Why transfer something from within the digital environment, via a human, back into a digital environment only to print to paper?

    Don’t get me wrong, you are right in that’s a simple solution, but I see so many thing being double handled where the right software (And the right user in the first place) eliminates so much repetitiveness.

    thepodge
    Member

    I do a lot of sheet metal detailing. It takes 5 minutes tops to do one sheet, can’t really see how you’ve not got the time for that

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    When I do sheet metal, I’d rather the person making worked out the bends based on their machine and experience. Yes, it should work from the 3d model, but 10 mins doing a drawing leaves nothing to be interrupted.

    Premier Icon ir_bandito
    Subscriber

    Why transfer something from within the digital environment, via a human, back into a digital environment only to print to paper?

    Because the blokes on the shop floor sometimes like to have a marked up drawing in front of them for checking.
    I know a lot of places are getting more hi-tech now and will have display screens everywhere for a paperless environment, especially the ones who’ll accept a 3D CAD file. But even then, how do you know which dims to check against a CAD model? Unless you’re also doing a 3D laser-scan to check the final shape.

    Premier Icon Speeder
    Subscriber

    cr500dom – Member
    Caged laser in Frome, they use Solidworks and will work direct from a Solidworks cad model
    Tell them Dom sent you.
    My default go to company for anything laser cut and sheet metal fabrications.

    +1

    Last time I spoke to them, it was mentioned to not bother with trying to work out bend radii etc as they’d do that themselves as they know what they’re doing and most of the time they have to remodel anything they get sent.

    kevj
    Member

    Because the blokes on the shop floor sometimes like to have a marked up drawing in front of them for checking.
    I know a lot of places are getting more hi-tech now and will have display screens everywhere for a paperless environment, especially the ones who’ll accept a 3D CAD file. But even then, how do you know which dims to check against a CAD model?

    I am still in the dark ages myself as I prefer a paper drawing and scale rule to interrogate a drawing. But I also see the delays caused in moving information in and out of machines as we have not yet fully moved away from paper and have yet to trust data transfer en-block.

    Unless you’re also doing a 3D laser-scan to check the final shape.

    Or one of these 8)

    My last place had one and all modelling was transferred from the CAD system via a CNC file convertor, into the CNC bending machine (With display screen which provided dims). Finished products could then beck scanned by the Faro arm, the data from which uploaded back into the CAD in .STP format for checking. We could literally model a pipe and have it bent in fifteen minutes (In ideal conditions etc!).

    The bending machine (Cold formed hydraulic pipe upto 110x12mm) had an integral spreadsheet for each pipe dia and wall thickness which contained a correction factor so if the machine did not bend the pipe to the exact angle for that particular bend radii, this was over-written and corrected for the next time.

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