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Well, the VX Sheet Metal module is for rect-linear fabrications, it is not for more exotic shapes. However, if the job is a one-off, it is probable that you can verifiy the part and define a representative developement. Certain industries that require thin sheet materials to have double curvature use a trangulation technique to develope. Time consuming but it works. Depending on the shape and the quality of the model, you might be able to "untwist" by applying morphing.
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I've done stringers for a boat succesfully using VX - they run perpendicular to the hull shape and are essentially a loft between two twisted splines. Once you've created your surface, you need to use the "unfold on to plane" command (under the freeform tab). This gives you a true planar shape for surfaces that are truly developable. It's worth investigating the "Smooth via FEM refit" command for surfaces that have complex curvature (i.e curvature across the body of the surface as well as along it (we've used it for flattening elements of boat hulls).
I would carry out several checks on the geometry after flattening it - compare the developed spline lengths to the original folded shape - we've had problems with other software in the past either shrinking or stretching shapes. We had no problems with the components we created when they were fitted to the boat - they were 4m long, 70mm wide cut in 6mm thick aluminium using CNC plasma.
This method seems to work OK for things like sections of spirals (eg creating archimedean screw pump bodies etc).
Hope it helps
Message 5 of 5
A word of warning in that, the VX unfold, FEM fit and Morph commands are of course only concerned with pure geometry, there is no knowledge-based compensation for material stretch, warp or thinning. So, for most items, an allowance will need to be added to the development.
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