Welcome to MCAD Central

Join our MCAD Central community forums, the largest resource for MCAD (Mechanical Computer-Aided Design) professionals, including files, forums, jobs, articles, calendar, and more.

Register Log in

Sheet Metal Tube Problem


New member

I'm fairly new to Solidworks, being self-taught through forums, tutorials and You Tube videos. I've managed some quite complex product designs, but I'm totally stumped on my present problem, and would dearly love some advice from those who are able to help.

The problem is one of sheet metal manipulation. I have a sheet metal blank that is 16mm wide x 54.48 mm long (to give 15mm I/D when rolled) x 1.8mm thick. On each end of this blank, I have one male and one female dovetail, such that when the blank (56mm long with male dovetail) is produced on a press-tool, the dovetails will interlock and hold the short tube in the closed condition. There are other features in the tube, which I can succesfully produce, and that make it neccessary to join the tube in this way.

The problem is the effective overlap that is created by the dovetail
features. Error messages indicate to me that the ends are not in the
same plane.

I have tried all ways of producing this form, from converting a solid to sheet metal, and adding/cutting the dovetails, to drawing it as sheet metal. All to no avail. It seems that all methods I can find relate to a sheet metal tube that is flattened. I want to draw it flat, and then bend it. Is this possible?

Please help.

Your frustratedly
Dave R


New member
Hi Jim

The product is rolled and interlock during a pressing operation, and to save time on manufacturing the tooling, the tooling company would like the product to be drawn as sheet metal.

The view below is of the completed item that I've managed to model using single parts and joining them together. Unfortunately, when I join them, the dovetail is also joined and as such, it doesn't have a 'flat form', just a tube form.

I suppose that I could leave a small gap where the dovetail male is in contact with the female and try again.

However, the original question is still unanswered, "can sheet metal be drawn flat and then bent"?

Thanks again for your help.

Dave Rawlings

View attachment 5910


New member
Good morning Dave,

You can do what you show above,

Do a sheet metal tube then un-fold add your cuts and extrude profiles, re-fold and your done.



PS; Where's my picture????
Edited by: jjffiigg


New member
Actually it is easer than most would think just model your flat piece centered on 0,0,0then using the Flex command bend your circle (length to ends divided by PI divide by 2 = radius.)
Try it then, you canmake two configurations one flat one rolled just by suppressing the Flex.

Note: be sure to offset your flex midpoint to the inside surface.


New member
Hi ConnectorGuy

Wonderful. Flex command tried and proved a success.

Thanks to all for the advice.

Yours happily

Dave Rawlings