Using Forming Tools with Sheet Metal

Forming tools are parts that act as dies that bend, stretch, or otherwise form sheet metal to create form features such as louvers, lances, flanges, and ribs.

SOLIDWORKS includes some example forming tool parts to get you started. They are stored in: C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS version\design library\forming tools. You can add this folder to the Design Library by setting it up in File Locations.

You can insert forming tools only from the Design Library and you can apply them only to sheet metal parts. The part on which you insert the forming tool is called the target part. You can create your own forming tools using many of the same steps you use to create any SOLIDWORKS part.

There are two methods for using forming tools. Each has a different workflow:

  • .SLDFTP files. Create an .SLDFTP file and store it in any folder. The forming tool functionality is based on the file extension. These files use newer technology to make the files.
  • .SLDPRT files. Create an .SLDPRT file and store it in a folder that is marked as Forming Tools Folder in the Design Library. These files use legacy technology to make the files.
Before you apply forming tools to sheet metal parts, in the Design Library you must right-click the folder that contains the forming tools and select Forming Tools Folder to designate its contents as forming tools. This applies to forming tools that are part files (*.SLDPRT), not Form Tool (*.SLDFTP) files.