During week 6 I attended a Sheet Metal training course given by Phil, an Applications Engineer at Innova Systems. The course is based on the Sheet Metal manual, using a detailed presentation for each chapter, followed by practice examples under the guidance of Phil. I found this method of training extremely effective. So far I have mainly relied on going over the manuals myself – having the extra support certainly helped me to gain a faster understanding of the Sheet Metal part of the software.
A number of tips were highlighted, and good design intent was emphasised – contributing towards improved productivity. A handy trick I learnt was that the sheet parameters are best managed from the Sheet-Metal folder once the initial part is created. Once set in the first sheet metal part all the changes should be managed from this folder, otherwise you have to go into each feature and edit them individually, which can be time consuming and is more likely to lead to error.
I’m still finding it extremely useful shadowing the technical team, answering emails and phone calls, seeing the steps that they go through to arrive at a solution. A common question the Innova Systems technical team are asked is whether it is possible to copy a sketch. The answer is a resounding yes! To copy a sketch, select the closed sketch in the Feature Manager Design tree – to do this click Edit, Copy (or Ctrl+C), then, in the sketch click where the centre of the sketch should be pasted, click Edit, Paste (or Ctrl+V).
Obviously not all questions are related on the basic commands. A TeamViewer session is often used to gain an understanding of the issue. If SOLIDWORKS is behaving in a way that is unexpected, a number of steps are taken by the technical team to resolve the issue.
SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal exam
At the end of the week I took the Sheet Metal exam, consisting of fifteen questions over 90 minutes. The Sheet Metal certification covers various features including: a variety of flanges; closed corners; use of gauge tables; bend allowances; editing the K-Factor; creating a Hem; using the Jog feature; using a Forming tool; unfold and fold; convert a part to Sheet Metal; and flattening the final model.
Attending the Sheet Metal training course definitely helped my confidence in dealing with this exam-the tips and explanations that I had learnt meant I could work through each question in a logical way. I even had time left over at the end. I’ve also learnt to stop watching the clock, reducing my stress levels!
I am now half way through my placement and I have managed to gain all the prerequisites for the Expert certification. Next week I will be attempting to take the last specialised exam (Surfacing), I’ll be helping with customer support and re-organising some of the files on the company server.
Make sure to check back for week 7 of Chloe’s blog here
Chloe’s SOLIDWORKS Tip of the week:
When wanting to edit a sheet metal part (e.g. adding a cut in a flattened state), where the cut intersects two or more faces use the ‘Unfold’ and ‘Fold’ commands to replicate flattening the part. ‘Unfold’ flattens the part about a selected face, the cut is then added and the part is refolded. A feature is added to the feature manager design tree.