Why do we need a flattened surface?
We need some information on sheet metal parts during the manufacturing process; like bends, Which can only be obtained by flattening a part.
We will see now how can we do that…
Assume we have this Breaker bracket that we need to manufacture
At the bottom of the features manager tree, you can see a suppressed feature called Flat-Pattern
if I expand it; I can unsuppress the feature and get the flattened surface of the part. (Right-click then Unsuppress).
The result will be a flattened surface as below:
Alternatively; you can click the Flatten button from the Sheetmetal tab
We have options in the flatten Pattern feature.
We can access these options by right-clicking on the Flat-Pattern feature and choosing the edit feature
The first option allows you to fix the desired face which you want all faces to be bent around.
To change the fixed face simply click on the desired face
The second option is the Merge faces option.
This option merges all planner and coincident faces in the flattened state.
If the Merge faces box is checked, and we flattened the part; we will see that the sheet metal part is all one face and there are no edges where the bends meet.
If we unchecked the Merge faces box, we will see the below result where the faces of the bends are visible now.
Simplify bends option will make linear edges out of curves in the bend region.
Show slit option allow you to see the slit that Solidworks has created to allow a smaller corner reliever than the allowed bend relief.
When you check the Corner treatment box; Solidworks adds treatment to all the corners to create a clean flattened sheet metal part that is correct for manufacturing.