Finding sheet metal parts


Finding sheet metal parts


Click Find sheet metal parts command to list sheet metal parts. Based on the settings, the command will find sheet metal parts and/or create missing flat patterns. An example is shown in the image:


The sheet metal parts can be searched using Structured or Parts only BOM.


Default columns



Check if you want to export the specific sheet metal parts. Click button [1] to select all, button [0] to deselect all sheet metal components and button [L] to select/deselect all library components.


Filtering tool (image)  enables you to select the components based on a specific text in one of their properties. See section Filtering tool for details.


You can also select the rows by manually clicking the check boxes or using SHIFT select. In this case you select the first component, press SHIFT and then select the second component. All the components that are between them are also selected in this case.


File name

Sheet metal component file name.


Has flat pattern

Checked if flat pattern exists. Not user selectable.


Flat pattern status

Flat pattern (FP) status:
Manual – flat pattern was already created manually

Auto, OK – flat pattern was successfully created automatically

Auto, error – automatic creation of flat pattern failed

Auto, not OK, check – flat pattern was created automatically but it’s possible that it’s invalid (based on geometry checks done after auto-unfolding)

Max. bend line length [mm]

Maximum bend line length. If it exceeds allowed max. bend line length the row will be colored yellow.


Model Preview

Thumbnail of model in final (bent) state.


Flat pattern preview

Flat pattern preview. The thumbnails of flat patterns have to be created before they can be displayed. There are 3 ways to create them:

-          Manually for selected row by right clicking on a row and selecting Flat Pattern Preview command


-          Automatically for all sheet metal components by clicking Flat Patterns Preview button


-          Automatically when automatically creating flat patterns

After previews are created you can zoom them by clicking + holding the left mouse button over flat pattern images:



The quantity of the component. It may vary depending on how the parts are searched – Parts Only or Structured BOM. It’s possible multiply the quantities using the multiplier:





Material of the component.


Mass [kg]

Mass of component in kg.

Flat pattern length [mm]

Length of the flat pattern in mm or inch (depend on unit selection in General Settings tab).


Flat pattern [mm]

Width of the flat pattern in mm or inch (depend on unit selection in General Settings tab).


Part number

Part Number iProperty


Stock number

Stock Number iProperty


Thickness [mm]

Sheet metal thickness in mm or inch (depend on unit selection in General Settings tab).



Description iProperty.



Item number from Structured or Parts Only BOM (depends on selected search mode). In case of structured BOM there could be multiple item numbers separated by comma, if the same component appears in different subassemblies.

DXF units

Length units of the sheet metal part.


Project iProperty.


Revision Number

Revision Number iProperty

Num. of bends

Number of bends on sheetmetal part


Filtering tool



This tool enabled selection of components based on a specific text in one of their properties. The default property used for filtering is File Name. Let’s see some examples:

Example 1:

We enter text “halte” in the filter box and click the image button:


The result is that all the components that have “halte” in their File name are selected:


You can now click the Select column header to group all the selected components at the end (1st click) or at the beginning of the list (2nd click):



Example 2:

We want to select all the components with text “S 235” in their material name. First step is to define we want to filter based on the Material property. This is done by clicking on the Material column header:


Then enter the text “S 235” in the filter box in click the image button. The result is that all components with “S 235” in their material name are selected:



Customizing list appearance – sort, order, size and select columns


You can click on the column headers to sort the components by the value in the selected column.

You can rearrange the columns by dragging and dropping:



You can resize the columns by dragging the column edges:



You can show and hide the columns by right clicking on column header:



The state of the list is automatically saved. You can click Reset to change the list to the default state. It resets order, size and visibility of columns.



Parts with model states


At the top of the list there is currently active assembly model state written. To avoid errors do not change the model state while AutoDXF window is opened.



Sheet metal parts that have model states defined are written with bold font:


These parts have some limitations regarding the manipulation of their flat patterns: it is not possible to rotate and flip their flat patterns using the commands in the right click menu.


Check bend line lengths


If you enable this option on the General Settingstab, sheet metal parts with any bend line longer than the specified maximum allowable value will be detected. This is useful when you want to quickly identify parts that are too large to be bent on a particular bending machine. The following picture shows all components with at least one bend line longer than 500 mm highlighted in yellow:



Manage custom iProperties


In addition to the base properties, you can include any number of custom iProperties. These appear as new columns in the list of sheet metal parts and are also available for export as part of DXF texts and for defining the DXF/DWG naming scheme. Click Manage Custom iProperties… to add or remove the custom iProperties:




Clicking the button opens the Custom iProperties dialog. The following image shows the dialog with 1 custom iProperty added:


Adding custom iProperties:

Click  image  button and enter the exact name of the custom iProperty you want to use.

Deleting custom iProperties:

Select the property and click  image button or press DELETE on the keyboard.


Click OK to close the dialog and add new properties to the list of sheet metal parts. To update the values for new custom iProperties you must run the Find sheet metal parts command.



New custom iProperties are also available for defining the DXF/DWG name structure and for use as texts in DXF files.


BOM type used for finding sheet metal parts


Sheet metal parts can be searched using Structured BOM or Parts Only BOM. If the option shown below is checked, Parts Only BOM is used, otherwise Structured BOM is used:



Only Parts Only BOM will be searched. In this case, sheet metal parts from inseparable subassemblies are not found. The total quantities are exactly as shown in Parts Only BOM.



All subassembly levels are searched. Use this approach if you also want to get sheet metal parts from assemblies with BOM structure Inseparable (such as weldments, etc.). In this case, the quantities of sheet metal parts are calculated by AutoDXF and may be different from what you see as the total quantity in the Parts Only BOM. Subassemblies with BOM status Reference are excluded from the search.


If you do not have sheet metal parts inside inseparable assemblies, it is recommended to use Parts Only BOM approach.


Automatic creation of flat patterns


Create flat patterns – if the program finds a sheet metal part without a flat pattern and this option is selected, the flat pattern will be created automatically. If the automatic creation of the flat pattern is successful, you’ll see the preview of the flat pattern and the Flat pattern status will be set to Auto, OK.


If the flat pattern creation fails, the Flat pattern status will be set to Auto, error.

In some rare cases, a flat pattern can be created but it is actually invalid. AutoDXF automatically performs some geometry checks on any automatically created flat pattern and tries to determine if it is valid. If it is not, the Flat pattern status will be set to Auto, not OK, check.


Generating flat pattern previews


AutoDXF allows you to see the shape and orientation of flat patterns in one place before exporting them to DXF/DWG. Unlike thumbnails of 3D part models, thumbnails of flat patterns are not stored in IPT files by default, so they must be generated before they are displayed.

There are 3 ways to generate the thumbnails of flat patterns:

-          Manually for selected row by right-clicking on a row and selecting the command Flat Pattern Preview from the menu


-          Automatically for all sheet metal components by clicking the Flat patterns preview button


-          Automatically when creating a flat pattern. A thumbnail preview is created for each automatically created flat pattern.



Automatic creation of flat pattern thumbnails can take some time for assemblies with many sheet metal parts. You can stop the process by pressing the F12 key.

After the thumbnails are created, they are displayed in the Flat pattern preview column:


You can zoom in on the flat pattern previews by left clicking + holding over the flat pattern images: