Introduction to Sheet Metal Design in ZW3D

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Introduction to Sheet Metal Design in ZW3D

ZW3D is a well-known CAD/CAM solution for designing products for the consumer goods, mold design, and CNC-machine markets. But in addition to these, ZW3D is also used by the sheet metal design industry.

Sheet metal parts are used in many industries, such asautomotive, electronics, home appliances, and kitchenware. Besides the design functionsthat are obviously needed, the most important aspect of sheet metal design is its ability to unfold designs. This allows the designer to get the expansion graph and make the layout design.

ZW3D has a separate toolkit for sheet metal design, as shown by the Sheet Metal tab on the ribbon. (See figure 1.)




Figure 1: Sheet metal functions in ZW3D


Let me introduce to you how well ZW3D handles sheet metal design.


Lofted Flange Design

ZW3D creates lofted flanges directly. As the designer, you need only draw the top and bottom profiles, and then use the Lofted Flange function to create the flange. (See figure 2.)



Figure 2: Lofted flange creation


Louver Design

Louversareused widely for ventilation. ZW3D’s Louver function makes it easy to create these bent cut-outs, saving you much time. (See figure 3.) Additionally, you can use the Pattern function to array the louvers.



Figure 3: Louver creation


Dimple Design

Stiffeners and punching areamong the basic requirements for sheet metal design, and soZW3D supports the Dimple function to punch different kinds of patterns, either boss-shaped or through-holes. (See figure 4.)



Figure 4: Dimple creation


Unfolding Function

As I noted earlier, there is nothing more important to sheet metal design than being able to unfold designs – except the design itself, of course! Once unfolded, you can calculate the area of the sheet metal, design the mold, determine the layout, and so on.With ZW3D, you can generate 2D sheets to add the dimensions and other information to the drawings. (See figure 5.)



Figure 5: Unfolding sheetmetal, creating drawings, and adding dimensions



Sometimes, the products are designed by other software packages. ZW3D has powerful import functionsfor handling files from Catia, Pro/E, Solidworks, NX, Inventor, and more. After you import the file, you can use ZW3D to mark the bends and then unfold the products. Naturally, you can edit the imported model to your needs.



Figure 6: Markingbend locations on imported models


With this introduction to ZW3D’s sheet metal abilities, I hope that you now have a better idea of how to use the software for your ownsheet metaldesign work. If you faceany problems, feel free to contact for help.


About ZW3D

ZW3D is all-in-one, affordable CAD/CAM which enables concept to finished product design in an integrated, collaborative environment. The proprietary Overdrive kernel delivers 3D part and assembly modeling, 2D production drawings, reverse engineering, motion simulation, mold design and integrated CNC machining, simplifying the design process from concept to completion. Experience ZW3D 2012, where the only limit is your imagination. Please go to to download a free 30-day trial today.


Short Description

Understanding the ability of ZW3D to loft flanges, cut louvers, add dimple, unfolding designs, and mark bends for sheet metal design.



ZW3D,3D CAD, sheet metal design, lofted flanges, louvers, dimples, unfolding, marking bends


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Author’s Name:

Steven Sun