ZW3D 2016 Know-how:How to Unfold Complex Sheet Metal Parts in ZW3D 2016?

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ZW3D 2016 Know-how:How to Unfold Complex Sheet Metal Parts in ZW3D 2016?


When designing or importing a complex sheet metal part in ZW3D, getting the unfold result is a key process. It will be much better to provide the forming analysis result, such as Thickness & Thickness strain etc., which can help designers to check the model and get the reasonable part. In ZW3D 2016, you can easily deal with the complex sheet metal parts with the upgraded FTI module


This article will focus on how to use the newly-added commands to unfold the sheet metal step by step. Here follows an example (Figure 1).



Figure 1: Typical sheet metal part


Step1: Mark bend faces

Firstly, copy the original sheet metal part to a new position. Then make bend faces since this model is an external sheet metal part. Assign one stationary face and define bend faces. Click “Collect all bends” to quickly get all bend faces. (Figure 2):



Figure 2: Make bend faces


Step2: Linear unfold

Copy the last sheet metal part and use “linear unfold” command to unfold the sheet metal partly. Select the bend faces and the stationary face, which are highlighted in Figure 3, and change angle to 0 degrees.



Figure 3: Processes of linear unfold


Click OK, then you can see the result, as shown in Figure 4. The collected bends had been unfolded.



Figure 4: Result of linear unfold


Then use the “linear unfold” to unfold another bend face, as Figure 5 shows.



Figure 5: Another linear unfold


Step3: Create support faces for advanced unfold

Copy the last sheet metal part, then apply “support faces” feature. To generate the support faces, we suggest to select the fixed edges at first, then select the bend faces (Figure 6). Then set a reasonable scale value to ensure the support face area is large enough.



Figure 6: Support faces


Step4: Advanced unfold

Select support faces firstly, then blank them. Continue to select the fixed edges, and layout faces, as shown in Figure 7.



Figure 7: Processes of advanced unfold


Next, specify the punch direction, click ok to finish. The result shows in Figure 8.



Figure 8: Result of advanced unfold


And then, use the same method to unfold other flanges. (Figure 9)



Figure 9: Another advanced unfold 


Step 5: Super unfold

With “Super unfold” tool, designers can quickly unfold the whole part completely. Copy the last sheet metal part and then click “Super unfold”, just pick the faces on one side of the part. Here is a tip, press “Shift” button on the keyboard and click any face of the part, then all the chain faces are selected together.

With the super unfold operation, we can get the final unfold sheet very easily from the complex sheet metal (Figure 10).


Figure 10: Super unfold


So far, this external sheet metal have been unfolded step by step according to the manufacturing process, and the final result is shown in Figure 11.


Figure 11: The whole processes 


After performing the super unfold, we can find the options “Report” and “Forming analysis” become active. (Figure 12)


Figure 12: Activate “Report” and “Forming analysis”


Then, we can use “Forming analysis” command to analyze this sheet metal part.

Three different forming analysis models are provided: Thickness, Thickness strain & Safe zone. If we can save this analysis result by clicking the button “save result to file”. (Figure 13)


Figure 13: Forming analysis


Also, we can report the parameter of the sheet metal by executing the “Report” and save it as a document like following image. (Figure 14)



Figure 14: Report the parameter


Via this case, designers can learn to easily unfold a complex sheet metal part, whether it’s native or external, step by step, and quickly analysis it in ZW3D 2016. The enhanced FTI module provides flexible forming analysis and report function as well. More different work can be done!



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