Home » Creating Custom Structural Members in SolidWorks: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating Custom Structural Members in SolidWorks: A Step-by-Step Guide

SolidWorks is a powerful 3D CAD software that can be used to create a wide range of parts and assemblies. One important feature of SolidWorks is its ability to create structural members, which are commonly used in the design of buildings, bridges, and other structures. With SolidWorks, you can quickly and easily create custom structural members to meet your design needs.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a structural member in SolidWorks. We will cover the steps necessary to select the type of profile you want to use, specify the dimensions, choose the location and orientation, and make further edits to the structural member as needed. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced SolidWorks user, this article will help you learn how to create custom structural members that meet your design requirements. Let’s get started!

Structural members are a key component in the design and construction of buildings, bridges, and other structures. While the article focuses on creating custom structural members in SolidWorks, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the different types of structural members that are commonly used in engineering and construction.

One of the most common types of structural members is the beam, which is a horizontal member that is designed to resist bending and carry loads across a span. Beams can be made of a wide range of materials, including steel, concrete, and wood, and can be shaped in a variety of ways, such as I-beams, C-beams, and box beams.

Another type of structural member is the column, which is a vertical member that is designed to support loads from above. Columns are commonly used in buildings and other structures to support floors and roofs, and can be made of materials such as steel, concrete, and masonry.

Trusses are another type of structural member that are commonly used in construction. Trusses are designed to resist bending and carry loads over a span, and are typically made of steel or wood. They are often used in roofs, bridges, and other applications where a strong, lightweight structure is required.

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Finally, frames are a type of structural member that are commonly used in the design of buildings and other structures. Frames are made up of interconnected beams and columns, and are designed to resist lateral forces such as wind and earthquake loads. Frames can be made of a wide range of materials, and can be shaped in a variety of ways to meet specific design requirements.

By understanding the different types of structural members and their applications, designers can make informed decisions about which type of member is best suited for a particular application. SolidWorks provides a powerful tool for designing and customizing these members to meet specific needs.

Structural members are any load-supporting members of a facility including, but not limited to, beams, load-supporting walls, headers, joists, posts, rafters, or any non-load supporting members including, but not limited to, ceilings and non-load-supporting walls. In Solidworks, you can create these structural members with different channel profiles. You can add your channel profiles to use Weldment Library. While designing the weldment structure you can use these profiles and create your, structural members.

To create the Structural member we need to first create the wireframe of the design. Now on this wireframe, we use the weldment feature to give the shape and joints to the structure. At any stage, if we want to make changes to the structure we can do so by going to the wireframe and then altering the dimensions. We can also make changes to the weldment profile.

Designing Wireframe

Designing Wireframe can be simple or complex it depends on the design. Go to Sketch > Under sketch option select 3D sketch, Then select line and start drawing the 3D sketch of the Model. You can also draw the 3D sketch from the Weldment features tab as it has that option as well. You can create 3d sketches in the section as well and give Dimension at every section. Giving dimensions and constraints to the sketch is very important in CAD designing. After completing the sketching part your Wireframe is ready or the next step that is to apply the weldment profile.

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Using Weldment Feature

In the weldment features tab, you will all the necessary command features which will help in designing and optimizing the shape of the weldment structure.

Options like Structural Member, Trim/Extend, Extruded Boss/Base, End cap, Gusset, Weld Bead, Chamfer, Hole Wizard, Extruded Cut, and create references.

Creating Structure Member

Go to Weldments > Structural Member. In the property manager, we have to select the weldment profile which will apply to the wireframe. Under selections, Select Standard: then Type, Size. These are folders that have certain standard weldment profiles.


In Groups, You have to select the sketch lines to which this structure member will be applied. You have to select the lines in sequence to how the Structure member is going to be attached or built. You cannot select the lines which are not in contact with the previously selected line. To do so you have to add a new group and then select the line to apply the structural member.

To change the Structural member profile simply exit from the Structure member and start again with different selections.

Keep in mind to apply the corner treatment which are End Miter, End Butt1, and End Butt2. These corner treatment plays an important role while manufacturing the members.

Using the Trim and Extent feature

What the trim and Extent features do is trims the ends of the structural member according to the need and shape. It is similar to the Corner treatment, But in this corner, treatment is applied between two different members. You can see some of the options in the pictures below.

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Go to Weldment > Trim/Extent in Command Manager.


Using the End cap feature

Go to Weldment > End Cap, Select the open members and select the needed parameters for the End Cap.

This feature is also mostly used while creating structural members or weldment parts. What this feature does is it closes the open members by creating the cap at selected open ends. You can change the thickness, position, and offset of the Cap.

Creating Gusset

Gussets are supporting members or parts of the structure. For creating gusset Go to Weldment > Gusset. Select the two faces/surfaces on which you have to create the gusset and give the location, dimension, and thickness of the gusset.


Here is a summary of the steps to create a structural member in SolidWorks:

  1. Open a new or existing part or assembly file in SolidWorks.
  2. Make sure the “Weldments” toolbar is visible.
  3. Select the “Structural Member” tool from the “Weldments” toolbar.
  4. In the “PropertyManager” panel that appears, select the type of profile you want to use for your structural member.
  5. Specify the dimensions of the profile, such as the height, width, and thickness.
  6. Choose the location and orientation of the structural member by selecting reference planes or edges on your part or assembly.
  7. Click “OK” to create the structural member.
  8. Optionally, further edit the properties of the structural member, such as its length, cut angles, and end treatments, using the “PropertyManager” panel or by using the features on the “Weldments” toolbar.

These steps provide a basic overview of how to create a structural member in SolidWorks, but the process can be customized and further refined to meet specific design needs.