ExactFlat Fundamentals (Headrest)

ExactFlat Fundamentals

Ensure you have a connection to the ExactFlat demo database.  A copy of these database is installed with the software.  If  that database has been moved or deleted, a copy with all of the necessary material, seam, notch and other data is available here:

Automotive Headrest
The Automotive Headrest tutorial guides you through flattening, pattern design and nesting of this part.  Click on the headrest to download the .zip file below.  Inside you will find the headrest tutorial documents.

1. Headrest-Create Pieces

  • Unzip and save the tutorial files, then open Headrest Tutorial.sldprt.
  • Click Create Pieces  on the ExactFlat toolbar.  The Create Pieces property manager appears:
  • Select all of the green faces visible on the headrest part.
  • Click Create Piece.  All of the selected faces turn transparent and the piece ExactFlat1 appears in the piece list.
  • Rotate the model in order that the red faces are visible.  Select all of the red faces.
  • Click Create Piece. ExactFlat2 appears in the piece list.
  • Repeat these steps for the purple and black faces.  There are now 4 pieces in the piece list.
  • Click OK .
  •  A warning may  appear if all faces have been converted into pieces.  Click cancel in order to add leftover faces to pieces.
  • Faces are now knitted into surface bodies.  Change View Mode to shaded with edges on.  Note that internal face boundaries are a different color than the open surface edges.  Newly created pieces will take the default SolidWorks appearance.


2. Headrest- Convert to Flat Patterns

  • In this example, we will need material data from the ExactFlat demo database.  Click Database  on the ExactFlat toolbar.  When the connection dialogue appears, select Demo from the database pulldown.


  • Click connect.  ExactFlat will now use the data present in the demo database.
  • Click  Convert to Flat Patterns   on the ExactFlat toolbar.  This process may take a few minutes.  This step will create flat patterns and  we will be prompted to assign materials.  If you had not connected to the database already,  you will be prompted to connect now.
  • After the initial flattening mesh has been created.  ExactFlat pieces require material data in order to flatten and nest properly.  The material assignment dialogue will automatically appear:
  • Select the piece ExactFlat1.  Then hold Shift and select ExactFlat4.  The entire range of pieces should be selected.
  • Expand the Automotive Category Filter by clicking the + next to the category name.  Select Seat Laminate-60″ from below the category filter.    This material will then be assigned to all 4 pieces.
  • Click OK .   Draft  flat patterns and a marker have now been created.    These will be optimized in subsequent steps.

3. Headrest-Optimize Flat Patterns

  • Open the Flattener .
  • The Flattener  interface  will appear.  This window can be placed on another monitor or resized.
  • Click Optimize. The optimization algorithm will run on all of the pieces in the piece list. The pattern status will show a % value until the optimization is done. The optimization algorithms will continue to run if the flattener window is  closed.  Watch the video below for information on the optimize algorithm.
  • Click OK after all pieces show optimization is complete. The flattener window will now close and edge references are rebuilt.  The model view now shows the headrest.

4. Headrest-View Pattern and Rebuild

  • Click View Pattern   on the ExactFlat toolbar.   The view is now normal to the front plane.    The model pieces are hidden and the pattern pieces are displayed.   A grid is displayed with unit references.
  • Click Rebuild on the ExactFlat toolbar.    Pattern pieces will be redrawn using the optimized analysis mesh from the previous step.

5. Headrest-Create Pattern Layout

  • Click  Move   on the ExactFlat toolbar.  The move dialogue appears with the location option selected.
  • The move command contains several tools to move and align pattern pieces in 2D.   The find option can be used to find adjacent and  “walk” the pieces into a pattern layout.   The final layout should look like this.

6. Headrest- Add Seam Features and Notches

  • Window select the top edges of the top piece.
  • Click Seam   on the ExactFlat toolbar.   The Edge Property Manager appears.  The preselected edges from the previous step appear in the primary selection box.  The neighboring edges from the neighboring piece appear in the pair selection box.  Red and green start/stop icons indicated the sewing direction of the seam feature.
  • Click OK  to create the Seam feature.
  • Add a Seam to the top edge of the long center piece.  Repeat the steps above.  This time use a Join w/ Deck 10mm seam.
  • Select the top edges and sides of the lowermost piece.

7. Headrest- Export

  • Click View Markers   on the ExactFlat toolbar.  The marker making environment appears at the bottom of the SolidWorks window.