what are the most commonly used features in solidworks used to create a sheetmetal bumper. is it better to create a solid model and convert to sheetmetal or create sketches on planes or is there a easier way to achieve this? thx
I don't see one way being particularly easier or harder than another, it's more of a preference thing. Sort of depends on what the final geometry is to look like too.
If it's a sheet metal part that gets cut out in the flat and then formed/folded one step at a time to it's final shape I'd probably tend to start with a solid of the overall shape and volume, shell it, and convert to sheet metal features at that point to finish the details.
If it's a sheet metal part that gets formed by big tonnage smashing down on it in a forming tool and squishing it to it's final shape, more like a car bumper, then I'd probably never use the 'sheet metal' specific commands because these commands are geared towards designing parts like in the first scenario.
In other words there is no function that can unfold a shape that is distorted, one can not therefore draw this deformation