What is a Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout? How to make Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout for Sheet Metal Works or Fabrication Shapes

What is a Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout? How to make Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout for Sheet Metal Works or Fabrication Shapes

What is a Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout?

Flat Pattern is nothing but unfolded shape of any sheet metal shapes or fabrication shapes before forming processes such as Bending, Rolling, etc. We can also say that Flat pattern is a pre or raw flat surface before forming activity in sheet metal or fabrication Industry. In most of the fabrication Industries, the Flat Pattern is also called a Fabrication Layout.

Flat Pattern Making or Flat Surface Development process is very useful while working in the sheet metal Industry and Equipment fabrication Industry. In Sheet Metal or Fabrication Industry Flat Pattern making is useful for forming various shapes such as Conical Shapes, Box Shapes, Pipe Shapes, Transition Shapes such as Square to Round or Round to Square, or any complex shapes used for various applications in various Industry.

In Flat Pattern Marking we are calculating dimensions of shapes such as when we do compete forming process or fabrication process it will formed in to our required size Final shapes as per our manufacturing requirements.

Methods for Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout Generating

Flat Pattern Marking can be generated by using following methods.

  1. Geometrical Method or Marking Method.
  2. Numerical Method or Calculation Method.

These above two methods are the basis of generating flat pattern marking of any fabrication shapes or sheet metal shapes. we can generate flat pattern marking of any shapes by using any one of the above methods.

How to Generate Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout Marking of Fabrication Shapes or Sheet Metal Shapes.

Fabrication Layout or Flat Pattern marking can be generated by using various ways that we are going to lean ahead. Use of Fabrication Layout Generating Method depends upon various factors or applications of shapes or accuracy of shapes. As we are providing education is in the fabrication of process equipment so we see various ways of generating fabrication layout or flat pattern of various fabrication shapes on the aspect of the Fabrication Industry.

Now, we see various ways of generating fabrication layout or flat pattern these are listed below :

  1. Marking Method.
  2. Calculation Method.
  3. By using 2D Drafting Software.
  4. By using 3D CAD Software.
  5. By Using Flat Pattern Software.
  6. By Using Mobile Application.

We will now discussed all above ways of fabrication layout or flat pattern layout generating way on aspects of fabrication.

1. Marking Method or Geometrical Method

Marking Method is very old method of generating fabrication Layout or Flat Pattern method. In this Method, Fabrication Layout Markings are generated using geometrical concepts of surface development. In this method, geometrical dimensions of shapes are measured, and using some geometrical process or steps fabrication layout is generated. It is very widely used and popular method but it has various disadvantageous of this method and the major disadvantageous of this method is it required too much time and space for layout generating flat pattern fabrication layout. it also has one more big disadvantage is that lack of accuracy or we can not control accuracy because it depends upon manual works. So due to its time consumption and space requirements and lack of accuracy, now days this method is not preferred. But it this method is very important to learn because it is base of other method because now days this method is used by combination some modern software to reduce time and space requirement.

if you are working in the fabrication field this method is still used because most of the small fabricators can not afford modern tools or they do not have skilled manpower to use modern tools. This method is very helpful when you are working on a remote area where you don’t have any access to the software or modern tools of fabrication layout or flat pattern. As per our Point of view, it is very important to learn this method because it is still used in day to day fabrication activity of many industries. if you want to learn this method then you can join our 70 Days Video Course on Fabrication Layout were all commonly used shapes explained in a very simple way or if you don’t want to join this course you can also learn by yourself by reading our book “Master in Fabrication Layout Development”.

2. Calculation Method or Numerical Method

Calculation method or numerical method is also a widely used for generating fabrication layout or flat pattern layout. It is very popular method because you can used this method anywhere, required less time, no space requirement and accuracy is also better than marking method so most of the fabricator used this method while working in fabrication layouting. In this method you have to use some numerical calculation formulas to derive your flat pattern layout markings of required fabrication shapes or sheet metal shapes. You have to use different formulas for different shapes and you can calculate in very simple ways.

It is a very useful method and a time-saving method for fabrication layout. Its accuracy is very good but its accuracy mainly depends upon the user due to manual calculations. Nowadays this method is used with some modification by using computerized or numerical tools so that manual calculations should get avoided and get accurate results such as by using Microsoft Excel or any mathematical calculation tool for calculations. This method required no skilled manpower but should capable f doing mathematical calculations. if you want to learn this numerical calculation method then you can join our 70 Days Video Course on Fabrication Layout were all commonly used shapes explained in a very simple way with practical example solution or if you don’t want to join this course you can also learn by yourself by reading our book “Master in Fabrication Layout Development”

3. By using 2D Drafting Software

Fabrication Layout or Flat Pattern layout can also be generated by using 2D drafting software such as AutoCad or any similar drafting software. In this method, You have to developed fabrication layout or flat pattern layout by drafting 2D drawing of required fabrication shapes but for generating flat pattern you have to use marking method because this method is similar to marking method but the only difference is that you are doing this marking by drawing on 2D drawing software. This method is a modification method of marking method this method is used to avoid space requirement and reduce the time of marking and get higher accuracy than the normal marking method. It is modified method of the Marking Method. In most of the fabrication Industry, this method is very commonly used and AutoCad is very common 2D Drafting software is used in this method. The major disadvantage of this method is that it required skilled manpower and if you have to make some changes to shapes you have to repeat the same process again and it consumes time and cost. so for nowadays, other methods are used in day to day fabrication activity to faster results and accuracy.

4. By using 3D CAD Software

Fabrication Layout or Flat pattern layout is also generated by using 3D CAD Software. it is a very accurate, time-saving, and faster method. you can generate fabrication layout marking of any complex shapes by using this method. Normally SolidWorks or any other similar CAD software that having unfold or flat pattern generating options available in software can be used in this method. In this method, you have to make a 3D model of your required shape and just apply to unfold command or flat pattern option to generate a flat pattern or fabrication layout marking of these shapes and that can be used in fabrication works. This method is the most accurate, easy, and faster method for the flat pattern. This method has also some disadvantages such as it required very skilled manpower to use this software and it also required cost for buying these Softwares and skilled manpower so it is a very costly method so it is economical for those having already this software and manpower for some other works.

5. By using Flat Pattern Software

In today modern world lots of specializes software are available for some specific application similarly for generating Flat Pattern or Fabrication Layout some Flat Pattern generating software is also available in market such as Plate and Sheet Professional and any other similar software that specially made for flat pattern generation. You can use this software for you fabrication works and this software are very customized and can be available as per user requirements. This method is very simple to used and time saving method. it also has very accurate results so you can go for this method for your day to day fabrication or flat pattern activity. This software has only one disadvantages is that it required higher cost for buying this software.

6. By Using Mobile Application

It is a very modern and very popular method of generating flat pattern or fabrication layout because it is very handy and convenient to use. It has eliminated all disadvantages of all above methods discussed, so this method is become very popular nowadays. It generate very accurate results. It is very faster and does not consumes time of user it required only time required for inputting the values and it generate results in within seconds. It does not involves any cost of using this tool because this available at almost free of cost. It increase you efficiency and productivity by saving your time and material cost. It is very hand and portable you can use this tool to any where at any time. In this method you have to just download App in you mobile device and you can use it you have to select your required shape gives the input of this shapes and just click on calculate button then it will give you your results and using this results you can use this in your day to day fabrication activity.

Now you are thinking that how you will get will this tool at free of cost. By analyzing this problems of fabricator Let’sFab Educational Services has developed this tool for you at free of cost. if you want to download this tool in your device just click here or visit our website our apps page and download the Fabrication Flat Pattern Tool and use this in your fabrication works.

This is all about the fabrication layout. I hope you will get enough ideas about what is fabrication layout, what are the methods of fabrication layout, and ways of generating a flat pattern.


Imran Pinjara

Author of Book " Master in Fabrication Layout Development " Published worldwide. Founder and CEO of Let'sFab Educational Services. More than 8 Years of Professional Experience in Field of Pressure Vessel, Heat Ex changer, Storage Tanks, Piping and other Process Equipment Fabrication Industry. He had worked in many Fabrication Industry from small workshop to MNC Company. He had Completed PGDM in Process Piping Design and Engineering as per ASME B31.3 and Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering.