In regards to your CAD questions, my take would be "maybe, but why
bother?" I do a fair bit of CAD/CAM work, and there are things that
it's good for, and things that it isn't. You're focusing on areas
where non-specialist programs won't have good answers, or easy
1.) A way to create a 2d fold template for 3d semi complex
Probably the easiest of your questions. Yes, you could finagle a CAD
program that has some sort of sheet bending facility to deal with
this. Or you could cut up a manila folder, and try test folds with
that. There are specialist addons for Rhino (and probably
SurfCAM/MasterCAM) that will handle layout for pressformed sheet
work. So the capability'sout there. Probably a few thousand dollars,
and a steep learning curve, but it is possible.
For jewelry scale work, I'd look hard at scissors and heavy paper.
2.) A way to create a 2d template or layout for a item I want to
forge or raise into a 3d structure or hollow form.
Probably not. Yes, there are specialist components (for big bucks)
that will handle plastic deformation of dieforms, for industrial
scale pressforming, which would be the closest approximation to
raising and forging, but unless you can forge as accurately as a
die, the predictions won't ever quite match out.
Learn what you can do, and how far you can push your metal. Doing
layout with a computer and then forging by hand isn't going to get
you anywhere useful. Knowing your material intimately will. Maybe a
better way of saying it is that by the time you get good enough to
make the computer draw your forgings, you won't need to fuss with
the computer in the first place. There are plenty of books that show
the basics of how to figure out blank size for raising projects, and
forging isn't too complicated. Use your brain, don't rely on some
random programmer's un-informed notions of how metal moves. Know for
3.) A easy way to calculate the stock length needed for a curved
rod in a design so far most of my focus has been on solidworks 2013
because that program is the most readily available to me. if
anyone has any ideas of programs or methods to easily achieve these
3 goal let me know? I would be surprised if solidworks is unable to
do these thing but i am a nubile and i am yet to be able to achieve
Basic high-school geometry. Figure out your curves, and then figure
the circumferences, and add them all up. Royal PITA, but possible.
Failing that, take wire of a known length, bend it into a scale
model of your form, measure the remainder, and calculate from there.
That'll get you close enough, generally. If you're still making the
forms by hand, there's no point fussing with getting it to 5 place
accuracy in the blanking stage. All you really care about is making
sure you have enough to get it done, without too much more left
over. Yes, after several hours work, the computer will tell you that
the blank is a wire of 'x' diameter, Y.00537" long. But your hand
processes won't ever work exactly that way, so why waste the time
fussing with it?
There are things for which CAD is the right answer, and things for
which it isn't. This seems to be one of the latter.