FastSHAPES® Plate and Sheet Development Software unfolds a variety of 3D metal fabrication shapes and provides dimensioned output for cutting, folding & fit up. Handles true thick plate computations for the development of blowpipes/transitions for all the different segments in the heavy engineering market.

CAD Square to Round layout for sheet and plate

CAD Cone development pattern layout for sheetmetal and plate

Example of Plate Bifurcate calculation and layout created using CAD software

CAD program simplifies Conical Branch development

Creating a Cone using CAD metal layout software


FastSHAPES® is the generic name for a suite of Plate & Sheet metal development software programs designed for heavy fabrication where the main jointing technology is welding. The point of difference is that the software also caters for TRUE thick plate development requiring weld prep as well as sheetmetal patterns. The software differs from sheetmetal CAD software in that it outputs full manufacturing details for all metal thicknesses that will suit your fab shop and match the engineer's performance requirements. FastSHAPES® excels in the heavy plate forming market because it caters for material thickness, weld joint detail, rolling allowances, and seam locations. All critical considerations when it gets down to the actual fabrication.

Development is the graphical process of producing a flat pattern from drawing designs of a curved surface. 3D CAD systems such as Solidworks for Sheet Metal Bending produce patterns however they are 'non-compensated' - they are limited in their ability to cater to 'realworld' workshop conditions such as true material thickness, K factors, forming equipment, weld prep design, edge green, pre or post beveling, seam locations and the many other local variations which affect assembly. For example, a particular press brake may have specific tooling for material thickness which needs to be accomodated when setting bending radius and corners. Every fab shop has its own set of equipment and all have implications for how the pattern is cut.

With shapes covering most thick development needs, FastSHAPES® offers dramatic benefits to any heavy fabrication related business but most especially with large fabricated metal shapes requiring a lot of additional fabrication information (often multi-segmented), including complex equation based development such as gears and predictable multi-component developments. Application areas include bulk material handling - chutes, fluids, conveying, transitions and transformers as well as 'industrial strength' structures.

Shapes can be created in a fraction of the time manually lofted patterns would allow and importantly, they are fabricated 'right first time'. Highly accurate components offer a marked improvement in weld quality and consistency resulting in better fitup. The software is used extensively in estimating as it can rapidly produce the total material usage for a particular development and in fact rework a development to fit available plate stock by adding and/or shifting seams and locations to best utilize material. Many design draftsmen and engineers use the software to prototype designs knowing that they can be easily fabricated from plate. 2D and 3D DXF CAD outputs are also very useful to bring the designs and patterns back into CAD systems for documentation and verification.

FastSHAPES® highlights:

  • Develop 3D shapes and unwrap them into 2D shapes for 'realworld' flat patterns & layouts.
  • Save the patterns as .dxf or (Fast)CAM files for nesting and burning on a CNC burning table.
  • Ideal estimation and 'workshop' supplements to a 3D drafting design system such as Solidworks but each module works as a standalone program. CAD is not a requirement.
  • Automatic layout of parallel, true length, and radial line development for THICK PLATE (1/2″ or 12mm and over) - True surface calculations produce highly accurate 'compensated' patterns (not stretching as used in sheet metal).
  • Develop a range of curved surfaces & transitions: Cones, Square to Round, Y Branch, Penstocks, Segmented bend, Gored elbow, Reducing elbow, Square to round, Pipe branch, Conical branch, Oblique cone, Sprockets, Rack and pinion....All comply to international standards.
  • Provides meaningful data for the forming and joining of parts when appropriate (i.e. bend lines, bend angle, longitudinal seam offsets, 'green' edge allowance).
  • Caters for optimized seam locations.
  • Full printouts including coordinate listing in X,Y, for manual lofting of the patterns in the workshop or on site.
  • Provides complete data including Cut Distance, Marking Distance and Mass of Cut Components and Parts List.
  • Provides estimating and production control data.
  • Output to a plotter for exact scale plots for optical trace type machines.

The common feature of all the Shape modules is that very extensive and complex 2D patterns for profile cutting are created from a relatively simple parametric specification of a 2D or 3D assembly (i.e. a ‘Shape’). It has uncomplicated user-friendly screens however it does presume a working knowledge of fabrication techniques and basic development skills (typically a tradesman or semi-skilled tradesman in a plate fabrication shop).

CAD software for sheetmetal and plate transformations
FastSHAPES® programs can be purchased indvidually covering Common Blowpipe, Power Transmission and Heavy/Complex Transitions.

PDFFastSHAPES® Brochure 

Related info: Modules, | YouTube demos | Non-NC Edition, | Printed Layout Sample, | Data Input Screen, | Terminology, |User Story |Bifircation user story

$99 Each