Ever since SolidWorks developed a new way of creating Sheet Metal Forming Tools in SolidWorks 2006 with their Form Tools Wizard I have not used it. I use the old school techniques for creating the forming tool. The number one reason I do not use the wizard is the Orientation Sketch in the form tool sldprt file can’t be edited and for my needs the Orientation Sketch created by the Wizard is inadequate for orienting the form tool.
I add quite a bit of construction geometry to my Orientation Sketch to help me with the placement of the lance tabs that I use for our carrier designs. There are 9 points that I can select to orient a lance tab in our carriers. I also add sketch geometry that outlines the size of the punch I am placing and the P0 (punch zero point/punch centerline).
It is important when placing our lance tabs to not have the punch bodies running into each other. If they do run into each other I have to stamp the lance tabs in two operations as opposed to one operation. Extra operations means more time and money is required to create the carrier. We try to avoid that whenever possible. Not being able to add this type of info into the Wizard Orientation Sketch is a huge detriment to the Form Tool Wizard.
Later when I design the tooling for this part, I also use the forming tool orientation sketch for locating the standard pockets we Wire EDM in the die, stripper and punch holder at the P0 (punch zero point) in the stamping tooling we create. I have the wire pockets created and saved as Design Library parts that I can drag into the tool models and anchor on the zero point of the form tool orientation sketch.
At the end of this post I will have a link to a zip file with the form tools and a coupon showing how I place the forming tools. The zip file will also contain a pdf of a typical lance punch we use, with the standard Wire EDM pockets that are in our tooling. From the pdf you should be able to discern my logic for creating the form tool.
In my carrier designs I create a Lance Tab Layout Sketch that I use to define the placement of the lance tab. After dropping in the forming tool, I use the orientation sketches in each form tool to locate (coincident, parallel, collinear, etc) to the lance tab layout sketch.
One key tip to keep in mind when using the old school method for creating form tools and orientation sketches is to not have any horizontal or vertical constraints within your orientation sketch. Be sure to delete any that are created and add the appropriate constraint to fully define the sketch. Horizontal and vertical constraints will restrict how you can orient the form tool in your model.
Here is a zip file which has SolidWorks 2009 files with a coupon demonstrating the techniques I use to place form tools. There is an old school form tool and a form tool created using the Form Tool Wizard. I also have a pdf of a typical lance punch we use.
Forming tools are a great feature in SolidWorks. Using the old school methods for form tool creation will offer you much more control when placing your form tools.