OnShape Sheet Metal Models

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a new feature in OnShape: Sheet Metal Models.  It almost sucked me into a rabbit hole, but my objective was drawing a driver, not experimenting with cool new features.  So, I parked it until this evening, which I seem to be spending babysitting the Cricut as it makes Christmas crafts for The Girl.

With a little experimentation this feature could be a game changer for designing etched parts.  As you design the 3D part, the flattened version of the part can be simultaneously viewed.  Being a machine, it calculates things like the amount of metal that goes into the fold, based on the K-Factor of the material.  It also stops you from making some impossible shapes.

Sadly, the tool doesn’t know about etched fold lines, and so, a little more experimentation will be required to find the proper K-Factors.  However, it looks like it may be possible to export the pattern straight into a flat drawing program like InkScape to lay out the fret.  I envision a whole new world of origami modelling!

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