How Do You Use the Forming Tool in SolidWorks?

The Forming Tool in SolidWorks is a powerful feature that allows users to create complex shapes and features on sheet metal parts. This tool is particularly useful when designing parts that require specialized bends or cutouts. In this tutorial, we will explore how to use the Forming Tool in SolidWorks to enhance your sheet metal designs.

Step 1: Creating a Forming Tool
To begin using the Forming Tool, you must first create a custom forming tool. This can be done by sketching the desired shape on a new sketch plane. Once you have created your sketch, you can extrude or revolve it to create a three-dimensional shape.

Pro tip: It’s best to keep your forming tool design simple and symmetrical for ease of use.

Step 2: Saving the Forming Tool
After creating your custom forming tool, you need to save it in the SolidWorks library for future use. To do this, go to the “File” menu and select “Save As.” Choose the appropriate folder in the Design Library and save your forming tool as a .sldprt file.

Step 3: Applying the Forming Tool
With your custom forming tool saved, you can now apply it to sheet metal parts in your design. Start by selecting the sheet metal part that you want to add features to. Then, go to the “Sheet Metal” tab in the Command Manager and click on “Base Flange/Tab.”

Pro tip: Ensure that your sheet metal part has been properly defined with proper bend allowances and thickness before applying any additional features.

Step 4: Selecting the Forming Tool
In the Base Flange/Tab dialog box, click on “Forming Tools” from the left-hand menu. This will display a list of available forming tools from your library. Select the desired forming tool from the list.

Step 5: Defining the Forming Tool Parameters
Once you have selected your forming tool, you can define additional parameters such as depth, offset, and orientation. These parameters will determine how the forming tool interacts with the sheet metal part. Experiment with different values to achieve the desired result.

Step 6: Applying the Forming Tool
After defining the parameters, click on “OK” to apply the forming tool to your sheet metal part. The forming tool will create a cutout or bend in the sheet metal, based on its design and parameters.

Pro tip: You can easily modify or remove the forming tool by selecting it in the feature tree and using SolidWorks’ editing tools.


The Forming Tool in SolidWorks is a valuable feature that allows users to add complex shapes and features to sheet metal parts. By following these steps, you can create your own custom forming tools and apply them to enhance your designs. Remember to experiment with different parameters and designs to achieve optimal results for your specific project.

Additional Resources

  • SolidWorks Help Documentation: https://help.htm
  • “Sheet Metal Bible” by Matt Lombard – A comprehensive guide to working with sheet metal in SolidWorks.

I hope this tutorial has provided you with a clear understanding of how to use the Forming Tool in SolidWorks. Incorporating this powerful feature into your sheet metal designs will allow you to create intricate shapes and features with ease.

Remember to save your custom forming tools for future use and explore the various parameters to achieve the desired results. Happy designing!