Comics from almost the beginning have had a love of superheroes who can stretch and contort their bodies into unbelievable shapes and lengths. Look no further to Reed Richards – aka Mr Fantastic (Marvel), the Elongated Man (DC), Plastic Man (originally Quality Comics), and most recently Elastigirl in the Incredibles movie. We as designers and engineers love to take pieces of metal and stretch and contort them into unbelievable shapes and lengths.

Plastic Man vs. Mister Fantastic

Plastic Man vs. Mister Fantastic

When you want to take an existing sheet of metal and bend it without adding any material look no further than the Fold feature. Using a sketched line and an existing Face you can fold the face into different shapes

Inventor Folds

The feature is quite simple, with really only one “gotcha“. Make sure when you sketch the bend line that it touches the existing model on both ends. Folds do not behave like Ribs and extend the line.

Once you’ve initiated the feature and selected the sketched bend line you adjust the direction of the Fold and the side of the existing model effected using the flip controls. Use the Fold Angle to set the bend angle and the Bend Radius to override the radius set by the sheet metal styles (if required).

Use Fold Location to set what the sketched bend line represents, the start of the bend, the end of the bend, or the centerline of the bend

Fold Location

The advantage to using Folds over Flanges is no material is added by adding Folds. The resultant model’s flat pattern will be identical to the original un-folded model.

Feature Image Stretched by Nicholas A. Tonelli