As the name implies, forming tools are used to create “forms” on sheet metal parts. In traditional engineering manufacturing, forming tools are otherwise referred to as “dies”. A die transfers its shape or pattern to the object to be developed.
Solidworks has created a library of standard forming tools like louvres, lances, ribs, etc. Solidworks also permit users to create custom forming tools. If you have a specific forming tool you regularly use, e.g. adding your company’s logo to a sheet metal enclosure, you can create a custom forming tool that can be used repeatedly.
We will be adding louvres to a sheet metal enclosure in this post. You can download this part here and follow along.
Step 1: Extract the downloaded files and open the assembly file in Solidworks. Forming tools only work with part files, so right-click on the part named “1. Box” and open the Part.
Step 2: Once the part file opens in a new window, click on the “Design Library” icon on the right-hand side of Solidworks’ interface, indicated by the red arrow in the image above. Under the Design library, locate and click on forming tools. Solidworks has a good number of forming tools we can use. For this example, however, we would be using louvres.
Step 3: Drag the louvre to the enclosure and adjust the configuration on the Type tab. Change the rotation angle to 270 degrees and flip the tool until it faces outward and downward.
Under the “Link” option, the form tool is hosted in the path on your desktop.
Step 4: To locate the louvre accurately, go to the Positions tab and dimension the point guiding the forming tool.
Step 5: You can add other features to the forming tool. A linear pattern was created to space the louvres along the side of the enclosure equally.
Step 6: Switch back to the assembly, and you see that the assembly has been automatically updated to show the louvres.