The new 3D Interconnect functionality introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2017 is useful when working with a variety of native non-SOLIDWORKS files, including parts that are ultimately sheet metal in nature.

A Note On Methodology

There are a few ways to add sheet metal information to a part referencing an external file; the trick when using 3D Interconnect is to add bends specifically using the Convert To Sheet Metal feature. Yes, the Add Bends feature will work initially, BUT if a new version of the part comes along that changes more than the part thickness, the update will not work.

Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, I present the method I've discovered to work with sheet metal parts using SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect. If you try it, I'd love to hear how this method worked out for you.