Is it possible to flatten a parabola in SolidWorks?

Dear collegues!
I'm trying to make a 3D model of a satellite dish (3 meters in diameter) and I'm thinking about manufacturing this project (an old hobby - radiastronomy). Is it possible to flatten one of the 12 parts that will make the dish?
I'm uploading the file here. I was able to create a surface and flatten it but the curves are splines (not suitable for laser cutting)... Insert Bends isn't working because there is no a refference flat surface.
Maybe I should change the design somehow and make a hole in the center? Or make the dish angled (and not an actual parabola).
If someone had done something like that, any help will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!

P.S. I'm almost sure that it will need some sort of a tooling for manufacturing but this is a different story to tell!

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3 Answers

I don't think it will work unless they've added that capability since sw2014. Your best bet is to do a layout sketch of the parabola first and use it as a reference to link a bunch of tangent 3-point arcs or a bunch of short line segments in to generate a 'flattenable' part. Use as many arcs/lines as necessary to get the resolution you need.

Even after this you'll end up with a faceted dish. If you're going for smooth contours, the sheet metal features aren't going to work, no sheet metal part with 3-d curvature will 'flatten'.

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Since SolidWorks 2015 software is able to "lay flat" spherical and complex surfaces. See the "surface" menu and "lay flat" and follow the instructions examples.

Answered with a tutorial:

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Thanks, folks! This was the thing I did, too (SW2016). Maybe I'll cut some of the parts from 0.5mm mesh to try if they'll do the job. :)

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