Unfold: 3D import and unfolding of sheet metal parts

The key interface between sheet metal part design and manufacturing

Unfold offers a comprehensive, associative 3D/2D working environment to import CAD models, unfold 3D parts and export resulting flat models towards act/cut software modules for the programming of cutting and punching machines, or towards almaCAM Bend for the programming of press brakes.

Main advantages and benefits:

  • A very specific module particularly well adapted to the needs of sheet metal subcontractors and which does not require the CAD software to repair defective parts in order to be able to manufacture them.
  • Support of various neutral or native 3D import formats. 
  • Ability to transform any part created with a CAD software into a « foldable » part thanks to various functions: automatic recognition of surfaces and radii, notch  management, compliance with bend allowances, fold addition, selection of ridges to open the part, etc.
  • Complete associativity between 2D and 3D and full interaction with our programming software almaCAM Cut/Punch and almaCAM Bend.


Main functions:

Import of 2D/3D-models

  • Standard import of 3D models via STEP and IGES formats.
  • Import of 3D-native models in option (Catia® v4/v5, Inventor®, PTC Creo®/ProEngineer®, SAT/ACIS®, SOLIDWORKS®, Solid Edge®, Parasolid®).
  • Import of 2D geometries via DXF, IGES and DWG formats.
  • Recognition of elementary parts in an assembly.
  • 3D-dynamic visualization of the imported part.
  • Maximum part calculation in case of beveled part.
  • Connection of faces allowing to rebuild a model interactively from a sheet metal part geometry in which no edge has been defined, or to rebuild a model from an erroneous model.


Intervention on 3D model or unfolded part

  • Possibility of creating unfoldable sheet metal parts by adding folds between faces to a shell which has been imported via IGES or STEP format.
  • Possibility of modifying the 3D model or the unfolded part, with total associativity between 2D and 3D: modification of the bending thickness and radius, creation/suppression of bends, creation of holes crossing through several faces, etc.
  • Possibility of 2D modifications: external contour of the part, modification and addition of holes inside the faces, extension of bending lines, reduction of a bending zone, addition of notches, etc.
  • Possibility of automatically defining the face overlapping mode, in 2D or 3D.


Unfolding options

  • 3D dimensioning tools (position and distance).
  • Choice of the unfolding rule according to two types: table or neutral fibre.
  • Possibility of assigning a specific rule to each bend.
  • Integrated unfold tables (ISO standards) giving the fold elongation according to the folding thickness, angle and radius.
  • Possibility of creating a new table or modifying an existing table, with interpolation of values.
  • Choice of the reference face for unfolding.
  • Total or partial unfolding (bend by bend) according to the bend allowances defined within the parameters.
  • Dynamic 3D visualization of the unfolded part.


Further use of the flat pattern

  • Display of the part with bend annotations(value of positive or negative angles and internal radius).
  • DXF/IGES/STEP export of the flat pattern for further use by CAD/CAM software for bending, cutting or punching.
  • Export via CyCad® format (Cybelec).
  • Export via VBend® format (Delem).
  • Total integration to the Alma software almaCAM Cut/Punch (programming of cutting and punching machines) and almaCAM Bend (simulation of the bending process and off-line programming of press brakes).
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