Written by Mark Downey, Application Engineer
Another new feature in SolidWorks 2019 is the Weldments Structure System.
The structure system feature is an advanced weldments environment that lets you create and modify structural members of different profiles in one feature. The workflow makes it easier to create complex structure systems with flexible corner management and trimming.
The structure system comprises primary and secondary structural members. You build primary members on a grid you create using 2D and 3D sketch segments, points, edges, reference planes, and surfaces. Secondary members each run between two primary members. You define secondary members by selecting a support plane and two primary members, or by clicking two primary members.
When you finish defining the structural members, the software opens the Corner Management PropertyManager so you can fine-tune the corner treatments. Corners update automatically when you make changes to the structure system or member profiles.
These tools make up the structure system feature:
Entering Structure System Mode
Structure System mode is the design environment where you create an advanced welded structure system.
For the following example we will be using the sample file that comes with SolidWorks 2019 located in the following path.
system_dir:\Users\Public\Public Documents\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2019\samples\whatsnew\parts\structure_system.sldprt
To enter Structure System mode:
Click Insert > Structure System > Structure System or by using the icon on the Structure System tab in the CommandManager.
The Structure System mode icon appears in the Confirmation Corner of the graphics area.
Primary members are created using one of the following methods:
Specifying the Profile
Different profiles can be applied to members in a structure system.
To specify the profile:
Click Primary Member on the Structure System CommandManager
Click the Pin icon at the top of the PropertyManager to keep it visible while working through the steps.
Use the Profile tab in the PropertyManager to set the desired profile
Creating Primary Members based on Points and Length
To create primary members based on points and length:
Click on the Member tab and click Point Length Member for Primary Member Type.
In the graphics area, click each point at the corners of the Template sketch and enter 2700mm for the length then click the green check.
Creating Primary Members from Path Segments
To create primary members from path segments:
Click Path Segment Member for the Primary Member Type
In the graphics area, click on the line segments that make up the Overhang sketch then click the green check.
Creating Primary Members from Reference Planes
To create primary members from Reference Planes:
Click Ref Plane Member for the Primary Member Type
For the Reference Set, select the following planes in the flyout FeatureManager design tree. You can also display and select the planes in the graphics area by clicking View > Hide/Show > Planes.
For the Start and End Plane, select the Base and Third planes
For Plane Set 1, select the Right Plane. This plane is perpendicular and intersects with the Start and End planes.
For Plane Set 2, select the Front-1 and Back planes. The selections in Plane Set 2 intersect with the selections in Plane Set 1 and define the locations of the members.
That completes the definition of the primary members of the structural system
Secondary Members are created with one of two approaches.
Creating Secondary Members from Reference Planes
To create secondary members from reference planes use the Secondary Member function on the Structure System Command Manager
Use the Pin button to keep the PropertyManger open during construction.
Click Support Plane Member for the Secondary Member Type.
For Support Plane, select the Second plane in the flyout FeatureManager design tree.
Click Link and click in Member Pairs. Link creates ad chain of member pairs. The endpoint of one member pair is used as the beginning of the next member pair in the chain.
In the graphics area, select the first two member under the Overhang as shown. The PropertyManager lists this member pair as Member2, Member9
Select the remaining vertical members in the structure. Clicking on the first member to complete the last group will create a new member group.
Right-click the last member group started (Member2, <Select>) and delete it from the selections.
The members in the list may vary depending on the order that they are selected.
In the ProperyManager, click Support Plane and select the First plane to add another level of secondary members the click the green check to complete the operation.
Creating Secondary Members Between Points and Changing Profiles
To create secondary members between points and change profiles:
Click Between Points Member for Secondary Member Type and toggle off the chain selection.
Select the two primary members as shown below.
Depending on the order of selection, the secondary member may get oriented between the two ends as shown in the image above. Use the Reverse Direction toggle for Member 1 or Member 2 to change the reference end of the secondary member.
The ends of the secondary members can be offset using the values for Member 1 and Member 2.
Change the profile for the secondary member as shown below. The orientation of the member can be changed in the Profile Alignment field.
Unpin the Property Manager and click the green check to complete the secondary member operation.
Click the Structure System icon in the Confirmation Corner. This will open up the Corner Management PropertyManager.
When creating a structure system for the first time, the Corner Management PropertyManager opens automatically.
In the PropertyManager, corners are grouped according to the number of members that meet a point and joint type. Corners are also color-coded to make them easier to identify in the graphics area.
There are three corner types:
Trim options let you modify and adjust joints between multiple structural members or between structural members. For models with two corners and complex corners, you can assign a member as the trim tool. It can be used as a cutting tool to add or remove material from neighboring members.
Editing Simple Corners
Under Corner Treatment (Advance), there are two Trim types:
- Planar trim. Cuts the intersection member with a plane at first contact or full contact.
- There are two options under Planar trim:
- First contact trims the member when it first comes in contact with adjoining faces.
- Full contact is where the member is trimmed flush with adjoining faces.
- Body trim. Conforms the intersecting member to the shape of the adjacent faces by adding or removing material.
- There are two options under Planar trim:
To edit simple corners:
Click on the desired Corner Group (Simple1 or Simple2). Change the Trim type as needed for each corner. For this example we used Planar Trim with First Contact.
Editing Two member Corners
Under the Two member tab the Trim type options are:
- Miter Trim
- Planar Trim
- Body Trim
The corners that are identified as Two member corners are highlighted in the graphics area. The Trim type can be modified for each corner as needed.
Editing Complex Corners
The Complex corners tab identifies the intersections that require more definition. Select each Corner Group to define how the members should be trimmed.
Use the Corner Treatment (Advance) options to configure each corner as needed.
Once all corner treatments have been adjusted click on the green check to complete the operation.
Clicking on the green check will fully exit the Structure System operation.
Individual corner treatments can be modified after exiting the Structure System command by expanding the Corner Management1 feature in the FeatureManager and selecting the desired corner then use Edit Feature.
Clicking on the Corner Management1 feature in the FeatureManager and selecting Edit Feature will reopen the Corner Management PropertyManager.
Individual corners can be selected in the graphics area for modification.
And that is how to use the new Structural System feature in SolidWorks 2019.