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Posts: 7
Registered: ‎06-19-2012
Message 1 of 5 (409 Views)
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Sheet Metal Nesting

409 Views, 4 Replies
07-15-2013 09:39 AM

My company does a lot of work with sheet metal using a shear and turret punch. I'm working on nesting some of our smaller parts so that the turret punch can do multiple pieces at once out of the same sheet and then send the sheet to the shear to be cut down into individual pieces. I haven't been able to find a good way to create the punch drawings necesary for these nested parts.


Currently my workaround is to take the part I want to nest and use the sheet metal unfold feature on it to flatten it out. I then save the unfolded piece as a copy which I use exclusively for nesting. Then I make an assembly out of this flat copy, using the assembly pattern feature to create a nested assembly used for the drawing. The problem with this is that there are now two unlinked versions of the part: a flat one for the nested drawing and a formed one for the final 3D model.


Has anyone found a better way to do this? I'm surprised inventor doesn't have something for sheet metal nesting built in, but failing that is there any way to use the flat pattern representation of a sheet metal part in an assembly without breaking the link?

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Message 2 of 5 (394 Views)

Re: Sheet Metal Nesting

07-15-2013 10:43 AM in reply to: Nameless337
I do something similar using a similar work flow to you.
I use the derive command to make a live updating copy of the "folded version" and then apply an unfold feature to create an always flat model. The key here is to make sure that the "Thickness" parameter in the derived part matches the "Thickness" of the original model.
Mike (not Matt) Rattray

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Message 3 of 5 (370 Views)

Re: Sheet Metal Nesting

07-15-2013 02:12 PM in reply to: Nameless337

Not directly in Inventor, we use a 3rd party software called Radan for our profiling/nesting. Other software such as Striker, Sigmanest and MTC (now Thermadyne).


Radan handle both punching as well as profile cutting (not cheap). It does allow for common-line cutting and advanced nesting capabilities.

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Message 4 of 5 (358 Views)

Re: Sheet Metal Nesting

07-15-2013 02:59 PM in reply to: Nameless337

Hi Nameless337,


There is a user submitted idea in the IdeaStation for this functionality to be added to Inventor in the future. You might take a moment to give this a vote:


There is also another 3rd party add-in listed at the IdeaStation link.


I hope this helps.
Best of luck to you in all of your Inventor pursuits,

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Posts: 7
Registered: ‎06-19-2012
Message 5 of 5 (314 Views)

Re: Sheet Metal Nesting

07-16-2013 08:20 AM in reply to: mrattray

Thanks a lot. Using a derived part for the nesting will go a long way toward keeping everything linked. One more thing has come up though and I'm hoping you've found a workaround for it too. When I use the derived flat part to make a nested assembly I have to enter the component pattern spacing manually. Is there a way to reference a dimension in the component as the spacing for an assembly pattern so taht it will update automatically? 

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