592 Kudos

Sheet Metal and developement

Status: Accepted
by Explorer giacomoardesi on ‎09-24-2013 12:49 PM

would be much apreciated!

Status: Accepted

we are under way working on this.  As Kevin outlined in the Fusion 360 Roadmap, this is a longer lead project.

By: Advisor
| Posted ‎06-07-2013 03:16 PM

I would like to explore the possibility of developing flat patterns from 3D fusion shapes.  Things like origami folds, sheet metal or panel construction, clothing patterns, boat hull development, sail design, and a myriad of other design activities involve wrapping flat surfaces around 3D shapes to approximate a form. This could open up Fusion to some users who do not traditionally utilize CAD tools. l wonder if this is a possibility?



By: Community Manager
| Posted ‎06-10-2013 04:17 PM

Thanks for suggesting this Ron, we have been hearing this request from other users as well, and will take this under consideration. 

By: Community Manager
| Posted ‎06-18-2013 05:40 PM
Status changed to: Gathering Support
By: Collaborator
| Posted ‎06-20-2013 08:59 AM

Yeah, I used to use an add-in for Inventor that did this very thing. It had its purpose. It was a bit specialized, but came in handy. The developer no longer distributes this add-in for Inventor.


It would be nice funtionality to have back.

By: Advisor
| Posted ‎06-20-2013 04:32 PM

One of my thoughts is that Fusion is easy enough to learn that it might bring in a lot of non traditional CAD users, if they could see direct utility for something they want to do.  Lots of things are made with flat patterns that are built into 3D shapes. Clothing, of course, but also many other things created from fabric or sheet goods, from boats to tents and other fabric/ sheet structures, outdoor equipment, the possibilities are pretty well endless.  I know from boatbuilding that there are very sophisticated shapes being created by deforming flat panels over a very simple mold. 


This seems as if it would be a variant of the process for creating polygons, but would need:

1) the ability to at least partially define seam locations 

2) some kind of seam structure or allowance for instances where extra material would be needed

3) the ability to control the number of seams used to approximate the shape. 


It seems to me this would open up a lot of new design possibilities.



By: Community Manager
| Posted ‎06-21-2013 10:15 AM

Hi Ron, 


As Keqing mentioned we have heard this before and I'm interested in pursuing it.

Have you seen any other CAD software products that have good flattening features either in their software or via a partner?

We are currently looking for partners for Fusion 360 so if you (or anyone else who is reading this) are aware of some good technology out there I'd love to know about it.




PM - Fusion 360

By: Advisor
| Posted ‎06-21-2013 11:47 AM

I don't know much about this personally, but TouchCad appears to have a good reputation and reviews, and seem to cover most of the features I mentioned for both Windows and OSX:  http://www.touchcad.com/index_tc.html



By: Advocate rpagewood
| Posted ‎06-25-2013 06:35 PM

Rhino and Maxsurf have very good tools for developing flat shapes. Rhino even has tools for approximating flat patterns for non-developable surfaces

By: Observer mike
| Posted ‎07-02-2013 11:18 AM

I would love to see sheet metal tools added along with flattening. Currently we use Alibre to accomplish this as we work in all sheet metal/plate.

By: Advisor
| Posted ‎09-24-2013 02:45 PM

Agree- please add your comment and kudos to move this previously suggested idea up- along with flat pattern development generally. 



By: Explorer giacomoardesi
| Posted ‎09-25-2013 01:39 AM

I second this very much indeed!


Giacomo Ardesi


By: Community Manager
| Posted ‎09-27-2013 10:03 AM
Status changed to: Comments Requested
This feature is something we have been considering for a future release (date TBD). Any other comments/ideas from the forum community would be appreciated.
By: Contributor stanh1
| Posted ‎09-27-2013 10:57 AM

Colin, since you asked. Sheet metal development is inevitably a part of every project. There is always the need of a mounting bracket with slots or holes for self tapping screws or some such. I find that even when I try to design a project without sheet metal to save weight or cost or the hassle of dealing with sheet metal shops there is always some piece that finds it's way into the mix where it is just easier and cheaper to have a part laser cut and press braked to solve an issue. Advanced CNC based sheet metal shops are among the most efficent digital manufacturing operation in existence. I see that trend only increasing in the future. I currently use SolidWorks for sheet metal because it works well (that wasn't always the case) and every sheet metal operation uses it. That said I would love to have sheet metal capability inside Fusion. I would also like to put a vote in for something similar to the flatten and smash commands in Rhino. I have found these to be very useful in many situations.

By: Collaborator bmdesign
| Posted ‎09-27-2013 01:19 PM

A 'sheet' icon would fit nicely in the Join The Bars suggestion:


By: Explorer mfb99
| Posted ‎11-17-2013 11:23 AM

Even a simple "Bend Sheet" tool like the one in Inventor Lt would really help when it comes to sheet metal parts.



By: Advocate bverboort
| Posted ‎11-21-2013 08:07 PM

Please don't neglect flat development for deep draw and hydro-forming manufacturing methods. Should be a piece of cake right?

By: Advisor
| Posted ‎11-22-2013 11:24 AM

This is closely related to other ideas around the development of flat patterns.  While sheet metal work is very common and necessary, I'd hope when this is implemented consideration will go to other related areas that depend on creating 3D shapes from flat materials.  Fusion has the potential to attract a lot of use outside traditional CAD disciplines- fabric construction, for instance.  Designing that solar inflatable aircraft, or the next generation of foldable, transportable shelter. Being able to use Fusion's organic shape creation tools and convert the results into buildable flat patterns would be brilliant. 

By: Contributor perigonza
| Posted ‎11-28-2013 02:00 AM



I'm a current user of TouchCad and have quite some experience with it. It does its work, but is by no means ideal. Recently I have found a plugin for rhino and SD called ExactFlat (http://www.exactflat.com/) that seems to be the best I've seen so far. I highly recommend having a look to it. To me it'll be a dream to have the functionality of exactflat with the design power of Fusion.


I have a demo of the software mentioned this same afternoon, if I find anything interesting I'll let you know.


I believe there is a pretty big market for that sort of software, ranging from tents to tensile structures to kites, paragliders, fashion and shoe design, upholstery, sail design, composite patterning ... just to name a few of an endless list. I honestly believe you'll do well by implementing a good solution to that problem.


If my experience in designing 3d inflatable forms (mainly kites) can be of any help, here I am!



By: Contributor perigonza
| Posted ‎11-28-2013 02:34 AM

Oh and BTW, if you need ideas on what a user might expect from such a software and what to dream about (ie not yet feasible by any software right now) please do not hesitate to contact me :)



By: Advocate whunter
| Posted ‎12-07-2013 09:44 AM

Even a command that allows one to unfold/flatten/smash the midsurface of a part drawn as sheet metal (constant thickness part) will already help a lot.


This implies that a midsurface tool is required, which could just be an extension of thicken/offset. It will also be very useful as a preprocessing tool for FEA work.



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