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How to create a Structural Member in SolidWorks?

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 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.

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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.

Go to Weldment > Trim/Extent in Command Manager.

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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.