by John McCann, May 13, 2015

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Having returned from a trip to Arizona, I felt it was time to walk a bit more deeply into one of Inventor 2016’s new features.

And I’m going to choose the automatic thickness detection in sheet metal.

In short, when converting a model to sheet metal, Inventor 2016 automatically detects the material thickness, versus the “measure and copy” method of previous Inventor versions.

The process starts out with a part in the Inventor part modeling environment. In my test, I used a base solid, as you might see in an imported file. It’s currently a “standard” Inventor part, and hasn’t been turned into a sheet metal component.

Starting with a model that needs to be converted to sheet metal
First, it’s converted to sheet metal with the Convert to Sheet Metal icon.

Now, convert to sheet metal.
After selecting this icon, Inventor is going to ask you to select a base face. This face represents the face that Inventor is going to unfold around. This is what will help Inventor find the sheet metal thickness for you.

Select the base face for unfolding

Once you select the base face, Inventor will open the Sheet Metal Defaults dialog box, and display the thickness as measured in the Thickness field.

The Sheet Metal Defaults screen confirming the sheet metal thickness
Beyond that, there’s not much left to do but carry on! The sheet metal thickness is measured, and now you can begin using your sheet metal tools!

Time to start modeling!

Give it a try! It’s worked pretty well for me so far. I’ve downloaded two models from GrabCAD, and both worked just fine!

And if you see this post in video form, here it is below!

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