Tab and slot for sheet metal

Hello Forum!

I am a newbie trying to learn tab and slot for sheet metal. Any recommendations on videos to learn the basics? Including saving the project during design, bringing it back up to edit, and then assembling it together to make sure the tab and slots fit? Thank you for your help!

Welcome to The forum.

Do you have a particular CAD software that you’re currently using?

These have sheet metal workspaces



Fusion 360

Turbocad (with add on )

And I’m sure that that there’s a few other CAD programs that have dedicated sheet metal workspaces as well.

What kind of slot and tab sheet metal components are you talking about?
Fire pit style rocket stoves? Weld tables?

Something simple enough you may be able to do with design software but you’d have a tough time double checking your work as it relates to the third dimension.

I gravitate towards Fusion 360 myself. If you search " Fusion 360 sheet metal " in YouTube there is an endless amount of resources on how to start learning that sheet metal workspace.

If you have a specific object in mind I could point you to some more specific learning videos.

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welcome to the Forum…I can vouch for what @TinWhisperer puts down…he has become one of this forums most respected reliable resources for information…

I hope I copied and pasted what you wanted me to say @TinWhisperer …lol…


Yep, thank you @toolboy, almost verbatim of what we talked about.

I think for next time though if we tone back the praise 1 to 2% I think that’d be about perfect.

Little known fact:
70% of the time, I’m 100% right.


I suppose that’s better than 100% of the time you’re 70% right…

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Thanks for the welcome! Glad to see there is humor between the forum members! I am using the free version of Fusion 360. I have looked at You Tube videos on Fusion 360, but will add sheet metal in my search. I am not building a weld fixture table, but the tab and slots that are used to make it are what I am looking for to use in my project. I will be using 5/16"-1/4" plate.
Thank you!

There is a few Fusion 360 plugins that deal with slot and tab.





There’s probably a bunch of other plugins too.

I’m not sure if these will be helpful or not?

it really depends on the nature of your part.

there are only a few of us with humor…some have already had the surgery to remove their funny bone…

but overall you will find a great wealth of information here…weather you want it or not…

“70% of drivers surveyed say their driving skill is above average” straight from a psych textbook i had in undergrad 20 years ago… illustrating your point perfectly.

to the topic: (because this thread was on the first page of google results when i searched for “how to create tab and slot self fixturing fusion”) i am kind of surprised to find how little there is as far as video tutorial material on how to do this in fusion… maybe i’m just missing the easy way which is normal for me… but figured i’d refresh this thread since google seems to like it. will check out your suggestions here. seems like solidworks has a built in function to tab and slot so maybe i’ll design in fusion or wherever and then bring it to my “student” edition to try and tab/slot things… not sure.

as a side note its kind of sad imho that it seems like doing the 3 different general workflows i want to do (3d scan to cad/RE, patterning/design, then some kind of cam) requires using at least 3 (probably 5 or 6) different piece of expensive software.

also: editing this here to add SOLIDWORKS. if you can find a way get the student version and your computer can run it… probably worth the effort. i’ve started playing with it a lot more after fusion has been showing some of its weaker areas… and it is pretty good as a basic way to find relatively accurate planes off 3d scan meshes, i’m not using any expensive add-ons like geomagic or mesh2surface just the features that came with. 0.5 -.75mm deviation off a scan that is probably not any more accurate than 0.5mm does introduce some mm of inaccuracy i’m sure, but i’m not doing metrology grade work here anyway, and my error doing this kind of stuff by hand has to be at least 1/8th inch when i’m at my best… it also seems to be good for tab/slot things.

i was able to put a scan of half a transom of a 26’ powerboat (about ~4 square meters maybe?) into the program, decimate the mesh and find the basic relative geometry in under a few hours having never done any of this before that seems pretty good to me. you can see in the pictures below how bertram made the transom of the boat pretty complicated making it difficult to mount trim tabs in the proper location. i’m sure this same general idea can be applicable to other kinds of fabrication or parts people are doing here even as just a measurement tool. once i finally figured out how… all i had to do was paint each (mostly) flat surface area of the mesh i needed with the selection tool and let solidworks find a surface within the tolerance i gave it. so now i have the rough dimensions and angles i need to quickly make a model, fillet the edges and 3d print a mounting block for said trim tabs. i probably would have had to make a mold or do fiberglass work otherwise which is not really a great idea on a classic old boat.

you can kind of see the little bumps on the surface where the old tabs were… and where they need to be is on the same plane as the furthest back/right (largest) plane in the last picture… but without a proper mounting block would be sticking out into space for half the length

this is the starboard side so someone seeing this gets an idea of what i started with. (its got twin inboard/outboards)

i think at first glance it might not seem to relate back to langmuir plasma cnc… but the possibilities with this kind of workflow are way bigger than just scanning figurines or toys and rooms for interior design or something. and if you can fabricate what you want to build from cheap strong sheet steel or 3d print/mill/route it when thats not feasible… maybe i’m overly excited and just late to the party.

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