In this blog, I want to focus on a single command; that being the “Save As Flat” command. I receive many calls from customers who ask how to create DXF files of their flattened parts. They need them to send to their manufacturing software or machine controller. Some have become creative and make a draft of the flat pattern and save that as a DXF file, but there’s an easier and better way. The best way is to use the “Save As Flat” command, using the following steps:
Once you have your sheet metal model created, create your flat pattern.I’m assuming that you already know how to create a flat pattern, so I won’t go into detail here.
Technically you can use the “Save As Flat” command to flatten the part, but I always recommend using the Flat Pattern command, to do this, for 2 reasons. First, you can verify that the flat pattern is feasible, and second, you probably need it anyway for your draft document.
Once you’ve created a flat pattern of the model, select the “Save As Flat” command from the pull down Application menu.
Notice that the “Save As Flat” dialog appears.
Before saving the file, click on the Options button, at the bottom of the dialog. This will launch the “Save As Flat DXF Options” dialog.
This dialog allows you to control what is output to the DXF file and how it is output. For example; if your controller does not like the bend centerlines output, you can block this by unchecking them in the Export to DXF column.
Now the centerlines will not be output to the DXF file when you save it.
Notice that there are 3 tabs in the dialog.
You can control Layers, Bend Data, and Fonts. If you are unsure of the settings you need, check with the machine operator or machine manuals. These settings are here only for controlling what is output into the DXF file. Therefore they have to match what your machine needs in the DXF file. If you want to read more about the options dialog, you can click on the Help button, in the bottom right corner of the dialog.
Once you set the options, click OK to return to the “Save As Flat” dialog. Select the folder that you want to save the file in, give the file a name, and make sure the “Save as type:” option is set to AutoCAD (*.dxf), then hit Save.
You now have a DXF file, of your flat pattern, to use in your manufacturing software or send to your machine controller.
Note: Once you set the options, in the “Save As Flat” dialog, they remain set. However it’s a good idea to document the settings in case your computer fails or you move to a newer version of Solid Edge.
Feel free to experiment with the options settings. Remember these settings only effect what’s output to the DXF file. They have no effect on the Solid Edge file.