Use Onshape? Well, there’s a reason why, today, your coffee is tasting especially good, why your underwear seems to fit a little better, and why you don’t have to pretend Onshape has sheet metal tools anymore… because now THEY DO. Onshape just announced sheet metal.

They’re out at the Pacific Design and Manufacturing Show where they’re previewing the new sheet metal capabilities currently finishing early visibility testing and landing with the next big update. Apparently, they’re a bit ambitious this year, with this coming right on the heels of another huge feature addition, in context assembly design, which allows you to create and edit parts in the context of other assembly parts, without contexts being broken or model geometry changing when moved.


The sheet metal video (gated), shows a complete rethinking of sheet metal design, and when you see how it works alongside in-context design, I think you’ll agree the approach is brilliant. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Create a sheet metal part by converting a solid, extruding a sketch or thicken a face.
  • Part Studios allow multiple sheet metal parts built together or ripped into multiple parts.
  • Simultaneous Folded, Flat and Table Views, all calculated in real-time.
  • Explicit feature control automatically adds reliefs/features even if traditional tools used.
  • Table view can be used to edit bend radius, order and angle.
  • Works with collaboration, secure sharing, version control, branching/merging, and full restore abilities.
Simultaneous Folded, Flat and Table Views that update in real-time.
Simultaneous Folded, Flat and Table Views that update in real-time.

When you make a change in one of the sheet metal views, the other two views update right along with it. If there’s a flange interference in the flat view, you see it right away–no setting up configurations or creating and switching to drawing views to see what works. And the table view allows you to go through and change bend order, radius or angle, instead of navigating through features to make simple changes.

Many of the other sheet metal options you’ll be familiar with, from setting edge clearance, relief type and k-factor to creating flanges, joints, and corners. Miters can be created automatically, rip style can be set with a simple selection and all along the way, you see the flat pattern update as you make it.

Outside of surfacing, I don’t think there’s a more anticipated feature for Onshape than sheet metal. In my last job, there wasn’t a day I didn’t have to get flat patterns out to the shop. Oh, the time that could have been saved. *sigh* Now, with Onshape’s FeatureScript, I’m curious to see if a nesting process or sheet metal features can be automated.

I think Scott Harris, Onshape’s VP of Product Definition and User Experience, captures the impact their approach to sheet metal is going to have:

“Part of the beauty here is that you can start down one path and if things aren’t right, you can just change it around without having to start over again. In fact, you can refactor your model by switching around rips and bends.”

“This is going to prevent a lot of headaches between designers and manufacturers, because almost all sheet metal work is done collaboratively. We created the system to allow designers to build in design intent and allow fabricators to adjust the model based on specific tooling, without violating the design intent.”

I’m sure we’ll be taking a deeper look at Onshape’s new Sheet Metal capabilities in the future. Until then, check it out and let us know if it’s all you hoped and dreamed.







Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.