Growing up I was into comic books, nothing out of the ordinary, but I loved getting the new issues of my favorite titles and reading and re-reading them. I had favorites, but one of my all time favorites was (is) Green Lantern. I had dozens of them. They were mostly of the Hal Jordan Green Lantern, but I had some from all of them…. Alan Scott (Golden Age – JSA), Hal Jordan (Silver Age – JLA), John Stewart, and most recently Kyle Rayner. The attraction? Hal Jordan was cool, he was a fighter jet pilot, and knew how to kick butt. Plus the concept of Green Lantern is inspiring, their only limit to their powers is the colour yellow and the limitation of their minds. Using their rings they can build “constructs” which are solid green objects that the Green Lantern controls telekinetically. These constructs can literally be anything.

In Blackest Night

In the Blackest Night by JD Hancock

When working in sheet metal it’s often advantageous to work with the side profile and “construct” the model by extruding the profile. With Contour Flanges, you sketch a thin profile and use this to generate the model. The Contour Flange is either extruded as the base feature or set to follow existing edges.

“In brightest day, in blackest night, No flat sheet escape my sight. Let those who worship non-bent metal’s might, Beware my power, Inventor’s Contour Flanges!!!”

Extruded Base Feature

The first step is a sketch, as the Contour Flange is a sketched feature. The key is to create an open loop, just the edges representing the shape you want to create.

Contour Flange Sketch

With the sketch created start the Contour Flange and pick the sketch. As the base feature in the model, Inventor will automatically offset the sketch to create the thickness. The amount of offset (aka the thickness) is set within the Sheet Metal styles. The Offset Direction toggle is used to set the direction of the offset, including in both directions to use the sketch as the centerline of the new model. Within the Bend Extents section set the desired extrusion length and set the extrusion direction, very similar to the extrude command. Like most Sheet Metal features you can override the style settings on the Unfold Options, Bend, and Corner tabs of the dialog

Contour Flange Extrusion

Inventor automatically applies bends to the intersections of the connected faces

Contour Flange Bends

Now that you have the base feature use flanges, folds, hems, etc to further develop the model

Secondary Swept Feature

The second application of the Contour Flange is to follow (sweep) along existing face edges. As with any sketched feature, the first step is to create a sketch. In this instance though sketch on the side face of the existing model, creating the desired profile.

Contour Flange Sketch 2

After starting the Contour Flange feature select the sketch and then the edges to apply the profile. The Sketched profile is swept along the selected edges, bend radius applied to the edges, and mitred corners automatically applied.

Contour Flange Select Edges

Use the onscreen glyphs to make adjustments to individual flanges

Contour Flange Glyph Overrides

The results

Contour Flange Swept Result

See it in action…

Feature Image: “… with my power ring.” via photopin (license)