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Sheet metal design software

See how the Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection streamlines sheet metal fabrication and design and allows you to design, test, document and fabricate in a single integrated tool.

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What is sheet metal design?

Sheet metal design is the process of designing and engineering sheet metal into equipment, parts, assemblies and products. The Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection provides the necessary software to automate sheet metal design, nest your components and create tool paths for CNC.

Streamlining your sheet metal design workflow

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Streamlining your sheet metal design workflow

Streamline your entire sheet metal design-through-fabrication workflow with one software package. The Product Design & Manufacturing Collection allows you to connect 2D and 3D workflows so you can create, modify and document sheet metal designs and get a flat pattern into production.

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Managing sheet metal rules for improved productivity

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Managing sheet metal rules for improved productivity

Inventor software, included in the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection, makes managing sheet metal rules easier for improved productivity. A variety of sheet metal fold, bend, punch and corner rules are included and with only a few clicks you can create and name new rules.

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Managing your sheet metal design process with remote collaboration

Now you can make it easier for teams to collaborate and share data securely. Learn collaboration best practices for using Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Vault, both part of the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection.

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Managing your sheet metal design process with remote collaboration

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Productivity tips for sheet metal parts and drawings

With the visualisation efficiencies built into the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection, sheet metal designers can easily design in 3D, then unfold into 2D for production.

  • Create patterns with unequal spacing

    Create patterns with unequal spacing

    The Collection software includes tools that allow you to simply create a pattern of a feature with unequal spacing and edit any value so the pattern will adapt accordingly.

  • Reorient an imported model

    Reorient an imported model

    With the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection, you can work with imported models and easily reorient them into your part file.

  • Create additional layers on a flat pattern

    Create additional layers on a flat pattern

    When exporting a flat pattern, the software allows you to create additional layers by default rather than editing the DWG/DXF later.

  • Automatically generate bend tables for manufacturing

    Automatically generate bend tables for manufacturing

    Tools inside of the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection allow you to quickly document the sheet metal bending process for fabrication.

Sheet metal design tools

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  • Flanges

    A flange is a common sheet metal feature, which consists of a bend connected to stationary face, along a straight edge.

  • Bend calculations

    Bend calculations ensure the correct length is calculated when a sheet metal design is manufactured flat, then bent into its finished state based on a K-Factor.

  • Gauge tables

    Gauge tables define the thickness of sheet metal. There are several gauge tables depending on the material of the sheet metal, which specify the thickness for both inches and millimetres.

Product Design & Manufacturing Collection

The Product Design & Manufacturing Collection drives efficiency into the entire sheet metal design process. Work with design, documentation and product simulation tools. Collaborate freely across teams. Increase design accuracy and streamline your entire workflow.

Learn more about the Product design & manufacturing collection

What are the manufacturing methods for sheet metal designs?

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  • Water jet

    Pressurised water mixed with abrasives can cut through stainless steel, Inconel, titanium, aluminium, tool steel, ceramics, granite and armour plate, with a clean edge finish.

  • Laser

    A gas laser, such as a CO2, is transmitted through a beam, guided by mirrors and directed at the material at an extremely high level of precision.

  • Plasma

    The plasma process uses electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from a torch to the material being cut. Developed for metals that could not be flame cut, such as stainless steel, aluminium and copper.

Relevant software in the collection for sheet metal design

Why use Fusion 360 for sheet metal design?

Fusion 360 is a next-generation, cloud-connected CAD, CAM and CAE software that can take you from concept to production.

  • Connected design to manufacturing

    Design, test, document and fabricate in a single integrated tool.

  • Cloud

    Access your data anywhere on any device to stay connected throughout the product development process.

  • Ease of use

    Use the single flange tool to make just about anything, including base flanges, edge flanges, miter flanges and contour flanges.

Fusion 360 sheet metal challenge

After market bumpers designed with Fusion 360

Fusion 360 users from around the world competed in designing the best sheet metal bumper for a truck. Designs were bent, folded and cut into the most unique sheet metal bumpers out in the market.

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Nesting sheet metal

To reduce scrap and increase efficiency, work pieces need to be "nested" onto the stock. Use the nesting utility in Inventor to optimise yield from flat raw material.

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Sheet metal design tutorials

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  • Sheet metal with Fusion 360

    Learn the features and workflows needed for brake press sheet metal design in this Autodesk University online class.

  • Sheet metal learning resources

    Learn the foundational concepts of sheet metal design and manufacturing in Fusion 360 through these learning courses.

  • Cardboard box design with sheet metal

    Learn how to create parametric cardboard packaging using sheet metal tools.

Sheet metal manufacturing workflow

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  • Learn how Autodesk Inventor software makes sheet metal design simpler and easier. Follow the tutorial to make a simple sheet metal part, use the flange feature, create a flat pattern and more.

  • Follow along to see how to complete a sheet metal manufacturing workflow, from design importing and application of material data, to performing an optimal nesting process and finishing with a CNC programme to be used for manufacturing.

  • Review this professional tutorial for best-practice tips for using Inventor software for sheet metal design.

Sheet metal design frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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The Product Design & Manufacturing Collection software includes direct editing and advanced surface modelling features designed to dramatically reduce the time typically necessary for high-volume design production. Validate 3D digital models as you design without needing a prototype. Stress-test and optimise in one integrated design environment. Plus, built-in sheet-metal specific commands streamline work on both folded and unfolded models.

Inventor simplifies calculating bend allowance and offers the flexibility to see bending results specific to the data you have. While the default K-Factor of 0.44 is automatically built into the software, you can access the integrated editor in Inventor to create and edit bend tables.

Fusion 360, included in the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection, streamlines the deformation-based sheet metal forming process. The software simplifies simulating sheet metal forming with easy setup of loading conditions, contact conditions, fixes and displacement boundary conditions and non-linear material properties.

Files from other CAD systems can be imported for use in Inventor (part of the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection) and exported to other CAD system formats.

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